A raft of early childhood education research suggests that school readiness may be a predictive indicator for a child’s academic success in school. For preschoolers, school readiness covers a wide range of skills, from understanding that certain behaviors have consequences to the ability to solve a simple problem with peers. Luckily, there are many ways to support children’s language skills, number sense, social skills, self regulation, and executive functioning through play-based learning.
Play-based learning is an engaging and fun way for parents to bond with their children while supporting their preschoolers’ intellectual development, curiosity, and kindergarten readiness! Foundational math skills, such as learning about patterns, counting, and numbers, easily lend themselves to quick and impactful activities for parents and children.
Below are four of our favorite fun and engaging ways to teach numeracy to preschoolers:
- Cooking can be a wonderfully rich educational experience for young children! Counting the number of ingredients added to a dish, ordering the measuring cups or spoons required by the recipe by size or type, or recognizing patterns in the types of ingredients added to the dish are all great ways to support and augment your child’s early numeracy skills! Additionally, reading the recipe with your child before the cooking begins strengthens children’s pre-reading and writing skills, as well as their ability to recognize integers and fractions.
2. Arts & Crafts
- Arts and crafts help children develop and improve their fine motor skills while exploring their creativity through a multimodal and sensory experience. Incorporating numeracy into arts and crafts with your child is also a great way to develop their observational and coordination skills. Ask your child to identify how many colors they’ve used in their painting. Can they add up the number of primary color crayons in front of them? Are they able to invent a game for you and explain the rules? Additional arts and crafts activities can be found here!
- Singing with your child is not only an incredibly engaging experience, it may also have mnemonic benefits and help children become more competent speakers by increasing their phonemic awareness. Singing has been associated with numeracy benefits as well. The neurocortical region of the brain, associated with reading music and lyrics, is responsible for our ability to decode symbols, and children’s ability to differentiate and identify symbols has been positively linked to numeracy development and acquisition of numeracy skills in early childhood!
- The numerous benefits of reading, particularly with young children, has been well documented in normative literature. Parent-child reading is tremendously important for early vocabulary development and may also inspire a lifetime love of learning.
Reading a book about counting with your young child is a great place to start developing their numeracy competencies. Go on a shape hunt with your child as you read through a picture book! Challenge your child to find patterns, numbers, letters, or ordering in the books you read together. Make sure to select a book that is developmentally appropriate and of interest to your child!