Maths is everywhere. With a little consciousness, you can instill Maths sense in your child in ordinary daily setting. Instilling Maths sense is more important than just trying to teach the skills. For instance, parents love to have their little tots recite “1, 2, 3, ….10! ” “Wow! You are so clever!” the proud parents would say. Actually, it takes very little IQ to rote learn 1 to 10. There is a place for rote counting, please don’t get me wrong. But you know what is more ‘clever’? When the child knows that 1, 2, 3…..is not just a bunch of meaningless words but they mean something.
How do you teach counting then? You can do it anywhere!
Example : While waiting at a restaurant for your meal to arrive, count the sugar packets. My kids, when they were little, love to play with the little packets. Instead of frantically trying to prevent your kids from destroying the packets and scolding them, count the packets with them. Point at each packet, move them one by one and count, 1, 2, 3…as the same time. If your child is a little older, ask : how many packets do you see? That way, your child learns that 1, 2, 3…has meaning; they are quantities.
Another example : This was what I did when my kids asked me for cookies when they were little.
Me : How many do you want?
Kid : TWO! (They always start with TWO because they have two hands and they definitely wanted both hands filled.)
I would give them only 1 at first.
Me : How many do you have now?
Kid : One.
I hand over another one, saying : I am going to give you one more. Now, how many do you have?
Kid : TWO!
They may not be conscious of it but what they were learning was that if they had one cookie, and I gave them one more, they would get two. They learned the concept of more and less.
In the picture above, I was doing leaf patterning with my #3 (3 years old at that time) when we were at the playground. He was playing with twigs and leaves so I started arranging the leaves in a pattern and asked him if he knew what came next. He soon caught the idea and started forming patterns for me to continue. By the way, patterning is part of the SG Maths syllabus. Recognising pattern is an essential skill.
See, ordinary daily settings. All it takes is for you to be a bit more conscious of the opportunities you can use to instill maths sense in your child. To me, it is infinitely more fun than sitting down, flashing a bunch of dots every 5 seconds.