Early childhood is an amazing period wherein children learn at tremendous rate, thanks to their super network of neurons. This is also the time when the foundation of learning should be laid. By foundation, I mean the basis and the accompanying logic. We all know how important basic numeracy skills are. We are also aware how some children and adults fall prey to it and end up detesting it. But, if taught with simplistically, it is one of the easiest concepts. For it is all around us – trees, clouds, animals and even humans are all examples some sort of mathematical principles. Today, I am going to discuss how we can lay the basics of numeracy with a simple activity.
Before introducing numbers to a child, it is important that the child understands the concept of more/less and many/few. These concepts are the foundations of our number system and without them numbers are nothing but a notation. So, start with helping your child identify and distinguish more from less. Simple conversations like ‘I see many butterflies today’ or ‘Would you like to have more milk’ is one example.
Endless conversations can be had everyday to inculcate this. Once your child has understood and started identifying more from less, you can engage in the following graphing activity.
You will need:
- Pebbles of different colors
- A4 sheets
Make columns of the A4 sheet. The columns should have one plus the number of colors of pebbles. We had 5 different colors of pebbles, so we made 6 columns. Next make 10 rows and number them on the first column.
Invite your child to sort the pebbles according to the color. You can use pom-poms, balls whatever your child desires. Once sorting (another important mathematical skill) is done, ask her to graph them by placing them on the sheet. Once, your child is done with that explain her how what numbers are. It is easier for her to see and relate rather than learning just how to count. Ask him which color pebbles are more and then read out that corresponding number on the graph for him.
This rather simply activity builds a strong relationship between numbers and quantity which is the fundamental of mathematics. They understand that numbers are just a notation to represent a certain quantity and why one number is greater or smaller than the others.
Hope you and your little one will have lots of fun graphing and sorting.