Mathematics is everywhere

Mathematics is everywhere. We teach it in so many ways. Here are just a few.

Talking about Maths:

It is important to use mathematical language with our children in meaningful ways. Developing mathematical language connections and understandings early will help build the foundations from which more complex processes can develop, primarily problem solving.

Maths language is used for many things. It includes noticing numbers, shapes, patterns, size, time, money and measurement. Incorporating maths into everyday experiences is easy and can be lots of fun. Below are some suggestions of ‘how’ to do this, you will be pleased to learn that you are probably already helping your child develop their mathematical language skills without even realising.

  • Use specific terms when asking helpful children to collect things for you, ‘the bigger book’,  ‘3 pencils and 1 piece of paper’, ‘the heavier pillow’, ‘the one litre milk carton from the fridge’.
  • When cooking make sure to chat about empty and full, half and whole, include references to measurement, such as teaspoons, cups, litres.
  • Think about describing your child’s movements, climbing ‘over’, sliding ‘between’, and crawling ‘under’. This helps your child to be immersed in and understand language related to spatial awareness.
  • Sorting and matching activities are great and help foster understanding of concepts such as ‘same’ and ‘different’. Recycling is an opportunity to sort items to place in the rubbish, paper, plastic, food waste, children are also often tasked with matching the socks by colour but also ‘length’ and ‘width’ when folding laundry.
  • Name and notice the similarities and differences between shapes. For example, shapes with curves, corners or edges.

Counting and number recognition:

Learning to say numbers can begin with a favourite song or rhyme and the repetition of the number names. Children will often say numbers before they can visually recognise and identify individual numbers. Count out loud often, forwards and backwards, connecting the words to the visual representation of the numbers whenever you can. The list is endless but to start make sure to count aloud and look for numbers when:

  • Turning pages of a book
  • Climbing stairs
  • Cutting fruit slices
  • Walking along the street, first houses, then house numbers on letterboxes, discuss ‘odds’ and ‘evens’
  • Shopping, count the number of items you put into the bag, notice the aisle number
  • Rolling a dice

Playing games:

Making maths fun and interactive by playing games will help your child apply mathematical concepts and processes in variety of ways.

  • Play ‘I Spy’ or other games to help your child compartmentalise, identify shapes, numbers and patterns, similarities and differences.
  • Complete mazes and make mazes, not just with pen and paper, but try using chalk outside on the footpath or driveway, or by using cushions and chairs around the house like a challenging obstacle course.
  • Jigsaw puzzles and shape sorting games help teach problem solving skills and spatial awareness.
  • Make paper planes together. This combines many mathematical concepts, including angles, shapes, halving and symmetry. Once complete, you can compare which plane flew the furthest and have fun measuring too.
  • Use building blocks to create a tower. Using the same number of blocks, ask your child to build another tower that’s different to the first tower.
  • Use coloured pegs, blocks, beads or cutlery to begin a pattern for your child to continue. Once confident, ask them to create a pattern of their own.
  • Try to incorporate some patterns in rhythm. Create a clapping pattern and ask your child to copy and then create their own pattern.
  • Encourage your child to draw, create and describe their own patterns, set family challenges
  • Estimate how many jumps, steps, hops, or how many seconds or minutes it will take to get to a designated end point, then see who had the best estimate

And always ask questions to encourage further investigation.