All human beings have an innate capacity to learn math because we are born with some math skills hardwired into our brains.1 The preconceived notion that only some people are naturally good at math is an age-old myth that needs to be broken.
Of course, intelligence quotient, or IQ, varies from person to person. But steering a child away from pursuing higher studies that involve math just by looking at their test scores may not be the right way to go about it. Before we make these decisions that define their future, we need to guide our children at a young age to help them develop early math skills.
Table of Contents
Different Levels of Understanding of Math
The level of understanding of math can be broadly divided into three categories related to specific areas based on the age of a person:
- For someone new to the subject, math can look like a bunch of abstract numbers and symbols.
- An amateur might think of math as a language or a tool that can be used to make our lives easier.
- For someone who is proficient in the subject, math can be seen as an extension of our senses that helps us understand the universe.
To help children advance to higher levels of understanding math, we need to help them develop specific sets of math skills at the right time. Some children seem to be “naturally good at math” at a point in their lives when they receive proper guidance on building math skills.
Basic Math Skills
Some of the basic math skills include:
- Understanding shapes
- Spatial reasoning
- Understanding patterns
Why is it Important to Develop These Math Skills at a Young Age?
Children have some level of understanding of math even before joining kindergarten. They have a basic idea of counting, addition, subtraction, and pattern recognition. They need constant guidance to accelerate this understanding of the activities they perform with blocks and other toys. Improving math skills is essential because many subjects in higher grades directly or indirectly correlate with math.
So, a set of math skills that aren’t developed in a way that will help children in kindergarten could affect their understanding of other subjects as well. Let’s talk about some math skills that we need to help our children develop at a younger age.
How to Develop Math Skills
Math skills can be developed in various ways. But the most effective methods include incorporating math into day-to-day activities.
Getting Comfortable With Numbers
Parents can use tangible objects to make their children count forward and backward. This helps children get comfortable with numbers, establish a relationship between them, and build number sense.
Use real objects to help children link them with numbers and words. For example, if your child has five friends, hand out five chocolates and ask your child with whom they would share those chocolates. Establishing this relationship with real objects will help children in counting and performing operations with numbers.
Use Different Strategies to Build Math Skills
Adhering to a single strategy while teaching can narrow down children’s perspectives. By making use of different teaching strategies, children get to know that math has a wide range of applications.
Show How You Use Simple Math in Your Daily Routine
Let children know how you find math useful in your daily activities like cooking, buying groceries, and paying bills at restaurants. This will encourage children to think about other real-life applications of math as well.
Familiarize Children With Different Shapes
Use household objects or their own toys to introduce the concept of shapes. Ask children about the shapes that you see when you go out with them. This will help them find the relationship between similar shapes.
Introduce the Concept of Measurements
Use clocks and calendars to help children measure time. Use their little fingers to measure length. Standard units of measurement can be introduced at a later stage.
Building Spatial Relationship
Help children understand the relationship between themselves and other real-world objects. This will help them decide what is taller or shorter, bigger or smaller, and much more. Spatial awareness is important for learning geometry later on in school.
Playing Board Games
Playing board games like Chutes and Ladders® (Snakes and Ladders) and Parcheesi® helps children pick up the pace with counting, addition, and subtraction. Initially, let them win some games because the goal is to get them acquainted with basic operations on numbers. Later on, start using new strategies to defeat them once in a while so that they get to familiarize themselves with these strategies and build a competitive spirit.
Playing With Math Riddles
To make learning math a fun experience, play with math riddles. Riddles help children think deeply about a concept. It also helps children recollect basic concepts in math.
Teaching math to children might seem difficult at first, but with enough patience and understanding, teaching them what we know can be a fun and easy process. The best part about this is seeing their happy faces when they learn something new. Browse BYJU’s FutureSchool blog for more information on how to ease the pressure on parents to mold their little ones into future professionals.
- You can count on this: Math ability is inborn, new research suggests — ScienceDaily. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808152428.htm
- Harris, B., & Petersen, D. (n.d.). Developing Math Skills in Early Childhood. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED594025.pdf
- How to Build Early Maths Skills With Simple Activities – Empowered Parents. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from https://empoweredparents.co/early-maths/
- Help Your Child Develop Early Math Skills • ZERO TO THREE. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/299-help-your-child-develop-early-math-skills