Introducing Early Mathematical Concepts to Kids

Introducing early maths, children numeracy skills

It’s difficult to imagine a toddler or baby making sense of maths. But while complex equations may be off the table, it may surprise you to learn that children begin to use maths in their everyday routines very early on. 

Typically, they are unaware of this and it does not equate to an understanding of mathematical concepts or a capacity to consciously apply them yet. However, this is a sign that they are beginning to understand the basics of numbers, quantities, shapes and patterns. 

Incredibly beneficial to the formation of a solid mathematical foundation and strong number sense, actively introducing these basic maths concepts early on can support your child to thrive throughout their academic life. 

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the benefits of early numeracy skills for children. Including which concepts to focus on, how to introduce these and why this supports not only academic success but also improved cognitive development generally. 

Teaching children numeracy skills: 5 Basic Mathematical Concepts To Introduce

Teaching children early numeracy skills does not need to be a difficult or frustrating exercise, for parents or kids! 

Much of what we will look at below can be easily incorporated into everyday activities or through fun games and playtime. Keeping this introduction practical and playful will make it easier to do while also keeping kids engaged for better retention of learning. 

Numbers & Counting

Counting objects out loud and relating these to objects such as blocks, marbles, jellybeans or similar helps children understand the relationship between numbers as a word and in practice. 

Adding and taking away these items and encouraging your child to determine whether there are more or less than before can also help develop this understanding. 

Teaching children numeracy skills can be done using what you have at your disposal and even using basic actions. For example, counting fingers and toes, how many steps it takes to get from here to there or how many pieces of apple they get at snack time is a great place to start. 

You can also incorporate simple games to practice basic mathematical skills in engaging ways!

Shapes & Spatial Relationships 

Shapes and spatial relationships underpin several more advanced mathematical concepts such as geometry that your children will discover during their schooling. 

Being able to think about differently shaped objects, visualise them from different perspectives and how they interrelate fosters better mental flexibility and enhanced problem-solving.

Early on this is about introducing an understanding of shape, size, position, directions and movement.  This can be done through activities such as:

  • Cutting out shapes and then folding them or combining them to make new ones
  • Sorting blocks by shape and size and counting how many in each group
  • Building cubby houses using differently shaped objects like cushions and boxes and seeing how they fit together
  • Park play, encouraging your child to climb over, under and around objects and talking out loud about these movements as they do them
  • Spotting differently shaped items from the car or while on a walk

Consistently using words that describe the spatial features of objects with your child is another effective but simple way to support this. You quite likely do this already without realising it. 

Some examples of this include positional words like ‘beside’, ‘in front of’, ‘next to’ and ‘above’, movement words like ‘around’, ‘through’, ‘across’ and ‘towards’ and distance words like ‘near’, ‘far’, and ‘close to’.

Measurements & Comparison 

Teach children numeracy skills, by creating opportunities for them to compare the sizes, lengths, weights and volumes of items. This is essential for understanding measurement concepts. 

This may involve taking a ruler and measuring things at home or using non-standard measurement tools like crayons or Lego pieces to measure items. For example, working out how many Lego bricks long one thing is compared to another or ordering crayons from shortest to tallest. 

Cooking and baking with your little one is also a fantastic time to introduce this concept. Measuring ingredients using scales, cups and spoons further reinforces measurement concepts while also giving opportunities to introduce fractions and proportions. 

Demonstrating this concept through different measures is ideal as it helps children learn the connection between different measurements and that the same type of measurement can be represented in different ways i.e. cups vs grams. 

Patterns & Reasoning 

Once your child has begun to grasp basic shapes and quantities you can also start to introduce patterns. 

Show them repetitions of objects, colours, shapes, textures or even sounds. Encourage them to identify a pattern and talk out their reasoning for how they have done this.

You may also like to incorporate hands-on play, asking your child to arrange blocks, crayons, counters or a mix of these into a pattern. 

Alternatively, you can begin a pattern and ask them to continue it for you, challenge them by asking them to tell you the rule of the pattern based on what you started. 

Classifying & Sorting

One of the later introductions to focus on, sorting and classifying is necessary for understanding how to analyse, interpret and draw conclusions about numbers, shapes, size and volume. 

For example, once your child grasps the concepts of shapes or size, they can begin to group things based on these specific traits or attributes. 

In younger children, using a pair of tongs to sort coloured objects into an empty muffin tin can be a lot of fun, also supporting fine motor development. 

If catering to older or more advanced kids, you may like to have them sort and classify a group of different objects that have less obvious attributes to set them apart. 

For instance, a bowl of differently shaped and sized objects like buttons or shells will encourage more flexible thinking and reasoning over how to perform this task. 

5 basic mathematical concepts to introduce

The Benefit Of Developing Early Maths Skills 

Supporting children to become familiar with or understand basic mathematical concepts early on gives them the best possible foundation for navigating both schooling and everyday life. 

Some of these benefits include: 

Greater Academic Success 

Several studies in this area indicate that children with strong early maths skills are more likely to excel in school than their peers who do not share these skills. 

The more children are exposed to maths-oriented activities and concepts in early childhood, the easier it is for them to make sense of more complex mathematics later on. 

Additionally, early associations with maths as a fun and enjoyable thing instead of something to feel intimidated by or avoid. Thereby encouraging children to develop a lifelong love for learning across a wider range of academic areas.

More Advanced Problem-Solving Skills

Involving so much more than just counting and adding or subtracting, introducing early maths skills to children equips them with the ability to identify patterns and relationships too. 

This plays a vital role in how they develop problem-solving skills, teaching them to look beyond the obvious and be adaptable in their approach. Supporting them not only in childhood but in navigating more complex problems later in life too. 

Improved Memory And Concentration

Early maths exposure supports better skills in both these areas, aiding in their continued development and reinforcing good habits. 

When children count, they are memorising the order of numbers. Through sorting and classifying they are concentrating on and memorising specific attributes. 

Well Developed Critical Thinking Abilities 

It can be easy to see maths as a strict set of rules and procedures to memorise and adhere to. However, within that framework, there is room for flexibility in that there can be more than one way to work out an answer to an equation. 

Maths teaches children to break down complex problems into smaller steps and encourages them to think critically about how to find a solution. A skill that is incredibly valuable throughout their lifetimes. 

Enhanced Independence & Confidence 

Introducing maths concepts to your child early is not just about supporting an easier and more enjoyable learning journey. 

It instills within them the confidence to navigate everyday life successfully and with greater independence both now and into adulthood. 

Through developing maths skills early on, your child is best placed to make better judgements and decisions as they grow and possess a stronger belief in their own abilities.

Developing maths skills early

Support Your Child To Achieve Success In School & Beyond With Shichida

Implementing engaging activities and interactive games is essential for fostering children’s numeracy skills from an early age. At Shichida Australia, we believe it is never too early to start developing your child’s early math skills. 

Focused on providing children with a fun, engaging and safe educational environment, we support children between the ages of 6 months to 9 years to discover a lifelong love of learning. The enrollment cut-off age is 4 and a half years old. Students enrolled before this cut-off age continue on our learning program, mastering advanced mental mathematical concepts in fun ways.

The Shichida Method

Our range of programs are based on the Shichida Method, an innovative approach to early childhood learning that capitalises on a child’s capacity to learn, absorb and retain knowledge taught during their early years. 

Embracing an approach that has been refined by over 65 years of research, we’re passionate about supporting parents to maximise their children’s natural learning abilities for greater success throughout their lifetimes. 

Teaching children numeracy skills requires patience – parents and educators play a crucial role in this process, through hands-on learning experiences and meaningful interactions.

To learn more about our curriculum and methods for introducing early mathematical concepts to children or to book a trial class, call 1800 386 647 today.

Book a Trial Class

Join us for an engaging and interactive trial class, and see why so many people choose the Shichida method of education for their children.

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