Children and Math/s (depending on where you’re from!) do not always go hand in hand. It does not need to be this way though. Introducing your child to mathematics at a young age will instil comfort in using them before they reach school and build confidence in their abilities.
So how do you do that?
Numbers come first! There are many steps that can be broken down in a child’s learning in regards to numbers and counting. However we don’t have to complicate things.
The first step is NUMBER IDENTIFICATION.
This means a child can recognize the numbers 0-9 and therefore 1-10. It is important to understand at this point that a 3 or 4 year old may very well recognize the number but may not fully understand what that number represents. That is ok, it is the natural order of things and that understanding of what these numbers represent will come later.
Rote Memorisation is how a child will begin to count. It means, for example, that they have memorised the order that the numbers 1-20 go in, from perhaps a song that has been sung over and over. They may not understand yet that 6 is 4 more than 2.
Introducing play when learning numbers is really essential for their development and enjoyment. The best of us struggle with grasping an abstract idea, so if you introduce play with your child when learning numbers, it will be fun and they will more likely want to join in. Hands on, fun activities are the best way for your children to learn.
‘Play is the work of the child’ – Maria Montessori
‘Play is the highest form of research’ – Albert Einstein
NUMBER SNAP is the perfect way to introduce play into learning numbers as well as introducing the concept of card games! For some of you, you may know this game as SLAP instead of SNAP. That’s ok, it’s the same game! It follows the same rules but with images of numbers instead of pictures of objects or animals. It is best played as a two person game. Traditionally you play with a deck of 52 cards, but we will be playing with a deck of 20 cards so you don’t use up all your printer ink printing them out! The more cards you print out though, the more SNAPS/SLAPS you are going to get.
- You can download and print the deck of cards. We suggest laminating them, if possible – they’ll last longer!
- Shuffle the cards.
- Sitting opposite each other, deal out cards, face down, into two piles. Each person gets one pile.
- Taking it in turns each person places one card face up, from the top of their own packs into a central pile.
- If two cards are placed on top of each other match, the first person that yells SNAP and slaps their hand down wins the central pile and places them under their own pile.
- The aim of the game is to win the most cards, so you continue to play until one person has the most cards.
- The more sets of cards you have (numbering 1-10) the more likely you are to get matches, so if you can print out a few sets.
Grace Selous Bull is an arts education author and freelance blogger. Her book, ‘Potty About Pots: arts and crafts for home and school’ is aimed at children from 5-12 years old and takes them through a journey of ceramics through time. Her blog, The Rainbow Tree, explores all aspects of arts and crafts, and is aimed at children of all ages. She is a full time Mummy of two girls, both of whom love being creative, and is married to her husband, Andrew, who does not. Follow her on twitter.
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