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    The importance and benefits of helping children learn mathematics in early childhood

    Ashwin Dewan Ashwin Dewan 5 Mins Read

    Ashwin Dewan Ashwin Dewan

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    Written by Ashwin Dewan and published on 18 August 2021.

    Learning math at an early age can lead to many benefits, both academically and mentally. Starting early is key and parents have a vital role to play in making the subject engaging for their children. Read on

    The importance and benefits of helping children learn mathematics in early childhood

    One of the most enjoyable things that parents can experience is seeing their children explore and learn new things with great enthusiasm. Many may not realize this simple fact, but parents are their child’s first teachers. Parents can guide children into learning the basics of reading, writing, and math from an early age.

    Giving children a solid foundation in early math literacy can prove critical to later academic success, not to forget the important part mathematics plays in many day-to-day activities.

    In short, math is part of a child’s everyday life! At home, simple tasks like counting fruits, dividing veggies during lunchtime, segregating toys, etc., involve math.

    According to an article titled 'What is the long-run impact of learning mathematics during preschool?' published in Society for Research in Child Development, in 2017, by Tylar W Watts et al., early mathematical skills are critical to developing long-run success in school.

    As parents, it is our duty to develop a positive mindset in children regarding math through activities such as cooking and setting the table. It is often seen that many school-going children have a deep-rooted fear of math. Rather than correct that at a later stage, the best solution is to start teaching math early.

    How to make math interesting for children

    There are different ways and activities to help children learn math. Math is all about measuring, building, sorting, noticing patterns, and even describing the environment (e.g., the number of trees on the road) and knowing the names of shapes (a round balloon, a rectangular candy). In short, there are many fun ways (including math apps) to incorporate math into everyday learning moments.

    Activities to introduce math to children

    Build something together: Building a house out of cardboard boxes or constructing a fort using pillows and bedsheets is a great way to teach math to children early. Whether big or small, any activity that involves counting, adding and subtracting helps. Building blocks are a great example of how parents can incorporate both numbers and spatial thinking into playtime.

    During this activity, parents can ask questions related to math. Talking about the subject is important and every bit of math talk helps. Some questions to ask include “How many blocks do you need to pile to reach as high as the study table?” or “Can you make a square out of this cardboard box?”

    Math competitions are a great way to boost your child’s confidence

    Letting children participate in math competitions is one great way to increase their knowledge and awareness about the subject.

    The Junior Maths Championship organized by Matific, a leading online platform for mathematics for K-6 graders, is the perfect example. This is India’s first gamified online Junior Maths Championship for K-6 students. A fun and exciting way to engage with math, the competition allows students to participate individually, as a class or as a school. Check out the details here. 

    The winning school will receive a cash prize worth INR 4,50,000, the runner-up will receive INR 2,50,000, and the second runner-up will get INR 75,000.

    For the top three scoring students, there are exciting prizes in store:

    First place: INR 25,000 and a gold medal
    Second place: INR 10,000 and a silver medal
    Third place: INR 5,000 and a bronze medal

    The 2-day competition will be held on August 11 and 12 this year. So hurry and register now!

    Add math to cooking: Involving children in the cooking process is not only fun but will help brush up their math skills. Try to let children help in measuring ingredients for a simple recipe.

    During the activity, parents can ask questions like “How many apple slices are required to make a smoothie?” or “If someone asks for three pieces of cheese, how many cheese slices do you need to serve?”

    The number game: Make use of the calendar and teach children to count down the days to their birthdays. Help children see and understand the connection between a number like 6, the word six, and six days on the calendar.

    Digital resources: These can be a great medium to enhance learning in children. Today, digital resources such as websites, software/apps, databases – all available in electronic format play a vital role in the learning process. Parents can always introduce their children to an online learning tool that will make math fun and engaging.

    Explore more fun math activities here.

    The fraction trauma: What is it?

    According to the white paper titled 'It Is Never Too Early to Start: First Encounter with Fractions,' fractions are widely considered a major stumbling block in children’s mathematical education. The first encounter with fractions and their operations is when many children start viewing mathematics as an alien discipline, remote from their daily life routine.

    According to Prof Raz Kupferman and Shimon Schocken, co-founders of Matific and members of the Matific Academic Board, when it comes to the subject of fractions, parents should try and envision a new way of teaching fractions that include:

    1. Introducing fractions earlier
    2. Talking about fractions
    3. Relating fractions to real life

    Matific – the world’s leading digital Math platform for students in kindergarten up to grade 6. The platform offers a very engaging, gamified, and personalized learning path that aims to build strong foundational numeracy skills at an early age.

    Check out their platform here.

    So, as parents, what are you waiting for? Begin early and encourage your little one to see the numbers all around them. And most importantly, let them have fun with math.

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