Children are never too young to begin learning math concepts. Sorting and counting can begin even before children enter preschool, and will help develop the use of hands and fingers in the process. But children are exposed to math concepts like addition and subtraction early in life as well, and practicing with math-based activities help them develop the vocabulary and critical thinking skills to use those skills as well.
- Sorting and Sets
Sorting colors and shapes is a common activity in Montessori preschool. Children are learning to identify shapes and colors, and sorting activities can take on many shapes. Authentic Montessori activities like the Pink Tower provide a self-correcting sorting lesson that small kids will use over and over.
- Counting and Fine Motor Skills
Developing strong motor skills is a paramount goal in preschool. Children need to be able to grip, grasp, and manipulate small objects in preparation for the activities they will be doing as they get older. Using small objects such as farm animals or toy cars in conjunction with counting and moving objects works on multiple developmental aspects in one activity. Because it is easier to count concrete objects, using favorite items is a natural, enjoyable learning path.
- Building With Blocks
Building blocks have math at their core. They can be used for sorting games, counting games, and building— which is addition and subtraction at an unspoken level. And if you are using Lego-style pegged blocks, the connection to math becomes even stronger as children learn to sort and build with blocks based on the number of pegs they have. Pegged building blocks are excellent tools for STEM lessons because they are so versatile and precise.
- Uno Math Games
The number cards of an Uno deck make a colorful set of flashcards that can be used to learn color recognition, counting to 9, addition and subtraction, along with simple multiplication and division. You can also work on critical thinking skills by playing games like War, where children have to decide whether each new card is higher or lower than the one before.
Math is connected to almost everything we do, and the sooner children begin to learn math concepts early, the better they will be able to learn new achievements. From coins to toy zoo animals, exposing children to the numbers we use and why they work at an early age is a huge headstart on future learning.