10 Tips to help your child with math
Tips for pre-school to year 3
- Counting can be fun and entertaining. Sing counting songs such as "One, Two Buckle My Shoe". Your local librarian can recommend fun counting books. Play Hopscotch – it's a counting game! There are lots of games where you count, such as Snakes and Ladders, Dominoes, Crazy Eights and Candyland®.
- Computers + math = fun. There are great computer games available for math – ask your librarian or check out your local computer store. Make sure they are "parent approved". There are also super websites that have fun math games, such as TVOKids, or do an Internet search for other sites.
- Start Easy and Work Up! Once they have got the hang of counting by 1s, introduce skip counting, such as counting by 2s and 5s.
- Use household items for counting practice. Practise adding and subtracting with objects found around your house like spoons or pots and pans. When they've become good at these skills, move on to simple multiplication.
- Tap into your child's curiosity. Go on a number hunt together and discover places where numbers are used such as a clock, TV, computer keyboard, calendar, telephones and licence plates.
- Use everyday activities. Your child's world is filled with everyday math problems that can be solved. For example, "There are four people in our family and we each need a knife and a fork to eat dinner. How many knives and forks do we need to set the table?"
- Kitchens can be math zones. Bake some muffins or cookies and ask your child to help you measure out the ingredients. It may be a bit messy but it's fun family time and there's nothing like a fresh cookie as a reward. Have math fridge magnets available so children can start making number patterns and doing simple math problems.
- Predict and compare. Start to measure and estimate things like how far it is from the driveway to the house or how long a trip will take and then measure and compare the actual time it takes.
- Talk about time. The concept of time can be hard to grasp. Talk to your kids about minutes and hours. Then get them to try counting days and weeks – for example how many "sleeps" until the weekend or a visit to a friend or relative.
- Identify geometric shapes and sizes. Play "I Spy". Instead of looking for words beginning with a letter, look for different colours or shapes and count the number you find in the room