Is Math important?
In this blog we will discuss why doing more than just counting to ten with your early learner is crucial to developing:
- Problem Solving Skills- involves skills to find the best solutions to problems.
- Analytical Skills- to collect and analyze data, problem solve and make decisions.
- Spatial Reasoning- assessing objects in order to visual think how they would look while rotated
Some fun activities you can do with your child to develop analytical skills are:
- Allowing them to measure ingredients for recipes
- Identifying different shapes in the park
- Sorting colors in a bag of blocks or toys
- Matching numbers of cars that pass by your home
- Playing hopscotch while saying the numbers allowed or how long you can jump rope
- Counting their collections of favorite items-example rocks or cars
- Counting the houses on your blocks
- How many cracks there are in the sidewalk walking to a friends house
Math is used constantly in our everyday lives, including your little ones, before they even know what math really is. Your child uses math through developing spatial reasoning to predict how many blocks they can stack before their towers tumble, how long they can savor their piece of candy before it melts away, or by helping you measure a cup of flour while being your curious sous chef in the kitchen. Math is something we rely on a lot, and is almost always naturally intertwined with the most precious memories you and your child create together.
But just counting teaching your child to count to ten is not enough. In her academic essay, “Math Matters, Even for Little Kids,” Stanford Professor Dr. Deborah Stipek stresses the importance of encouraging children to be active while learning. Counting from 1-10 is often a mindless task for children, rattling off a sequence of numbers because they have been taught that by doing so, they will receive praise. As illustrated by University of Chicago professor Susan Levine, if you ask for three Goldfish, they will dump a handful into your palm. The better option would be to teach them how to count one at a time. Combining life experiences and activities with numbers is crucial to early development and creating an understanding of the world around them. Overall, math is important because it allows your child to develop problem solving skills, analytical skills, and spatial awareness.
Problem Solving Skills
Math teaches us how to identify problems and look for solutions. The same part of the brain that helps us solve math problems are involved in focusing on tasks and making decisions. Basic problem solving can be illustrated when one thinks of the simple problem of two people encountering one slice of cake. Even young children can come to the conclusion that by cutting two equal pieces, or by cutting the cake in half, this is a fair solution. Not only does this allow a child to use math without realizing it, but this math also helps a child to develop important principles, such as fairness and selflessness!
Try giving your child their favorite snack. You give out two piles, one being bigger than the other. Give your child the choice of either pile. Most children will pick the bigger pile. They recognize there is a difference in the amount. When you encounter a simple problem, involve your little one and ask what they think you should do.
Furthermore, children develop analytical skills by using math without even realizing it. Children are capable of collecting and organizing information from the moment they are aware of the world around them. This is easily illustrated through music. Fractions are used in music to indicate the length of notes, therefore, music is math at the most basic level. Music allows a child to recognize patterns, which is how your child memorizes their favorite simple, yet wildly catchy, songs. This pattern recognition uses the same logical thinking that allows your child to predict how long the child in front of them will reach the other end of the monkey bars, or how much time passes before you most likely will say it is okay for them to stop brushing their teeth. So, get up and dance around to toddler tunes with your little one!
Spatial awareness is also an intangible skill and language that we as human beings all speak. Since math is a universal language, the equation 2+2=4 does not change just because a person speaks a different language or lives in a different country. This sense of universality is also true with most body language, and measuring objects! If these skills are similar across the board for most of the world, then surely it is important that your little one learns them. For example, creating an obstacle course in your home or backyard will teach your little one how to control their body to reach a goal, or in other words, develop spatial awareness to connect with the world around them. You can also do activities which require measuring, such as discovering how tall they can build a tower with blocks before it tumbles to the ground!
So, yes, math is crucial to your child’s intellectual development! We rely on it more than we realize, whether it be through problem solving, analytical skills, or developing spatial awareness. More importantly, using math in everyday situations allows your child to gather information to make decisions that allow them to become human beings with positive principles! You can be a supportive parent by the words and attitudes you show your children toward math, or disguise math-based activities as fun moments together when going for a walk around the neighborhood, shopping for groceries, or driving your car from Point A to Point B. No matter the activity with your child, it likely all equates back to math.
Have fun, and remember that even challenging math problems, can help your child have a better understanding of math. You have the power to help your little one become the bright star they are meant to be.
Over 60 fun and colorful printable preschool math worksheets. Great for practicing early learning math skills.
This workbook contains more than 60 pages of fun-filled activities that will expose your little one to the fun world of numbers, starting with the numbers 0 to 10. A variety of activities are included to help their brains develop the concept of numbers, addition, and subtraction. There are also worksheets for numbers 1-20 for advanced learners.