Teaching counting and addition can often seem like a daunting task for some parents. Your child may not seem to pick up the patterns of numbers naturally and it can make for a bit of a tricky time to get your child interested in numbers and counting. Check out these five easy ways to help kick start your child in math!
Five Ways to Teach Addition and Counting
- Start in the Car: Start simple and have children count items while they are riding in the car. It can be road signs, letters, animals, red cars, etc. This is a perfect chance for children to have to count quickly and show mastery of the skill. Once counting is down, you can switch to basic addition. For example, you can ask your child how many stop lights they see at the intersection. Three stop lights on this pole and three on that pole make six lights.
- Let Them use Their Fingers: When you first start teaching counting in preschool, you often use little counters or manipulative to help children assign a number. Why not let them use counters that are attached to their body? Using their fingers help children see the basic addition problems and lets visual learners get a chance to see the concept in from of them. As children work more addition problems, they will naturally drop their fingers and switch to mental math.
- Use Word Problems First: This may seem counter intuitive, but introducing addition with basic word problems, such as "If you eat two bites of strawberries and three bites of cucumbers, how many total bites will you eat?", you will help children associate the idea of addition with the real word. This will help children switch from the abstract idea of math to a more concrete idea.
- Use a 10 Frame: I have found that 10 frames are an easy way for your child to see basic addition to 10. The basic frame, with five boxes on top and five boxes on bottom help children see how numbers add to ten and create the larger number. Use your child's favorite things, from stickers to toy cars to fill in the 10 frame and show basic addition. Once your child has mastered the 10 frame, you can add in two or three and work addition up to 30!
- Not Working? Mix It Up! Parents often start out with an idea to teach a concept and struggle to switch to a new way of teaching if it is not working. If your child is not understanding the concept, mix it up to something different. Change your wording, change the manipulative, take a break for a few days and come back. All of these tasks will take off the pressure and help make learning simple and easy for your child.
Math can be intimidating for both students and parents. Hopefully these simple ideas help your child grasp the basics of math and build a strong foundation for the rest of their academic career.