How you teach math today has a big impact on how children approach solving math problems in the future. These techniques show some new ways to build confidence when approaching math with your preschoolers:
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Transform teaching math into storytelling, make-believe and a day of play.
While math can be fun for some children, it can be a very different experience for others. Children develop math anxiety in elementary years when they don’t master early math skills. This is why how you teach math today will have a big impact on how children approach solving math problems in the future. When you set up a math learning experience with young children, make it a game where they can have success even if they still have trouble with the math concepts.
Engage preschoolers with the “Pulling Teeth” game by Mother Goose Time. First begin by simply exploring with tongs and blocks. As children enjoy pretending to be a dentist pulling out teeth with the tongs, they have success with the hand-eye coordination aspect of this activity. While the children play, tell a story about a time you lost teeth and count the number of teeth lost with block teeth. Then make a game of rolling a die and pulling out the same amount of teeth. Even if the child can’t yet count independently, she can participate by holding the tongs and removing the blocks.
This strength-based approach to teaching math uses a skill that a child has mastered (the motor skill of using the tongs) and pairs it with something difficult, such as counting the blocks.
Make it even more fun:
Remember, stories help put context to the abstract nature of numbers. This is why we prefer storytelling when doing math. Preschoolers love stories. If you are spending the day exploring teeth and dentists, for example, tell a story about going to the dentist while playing a math game. For example, count teeth or use beads and pretend to pull them out.
Make math meaningful by planning activities that encourage the children to move and to participate in a story. This will build a foundation of confidence and excitement for doing math in later years.