Numeracy is essential for anyone to master, but sadly it's a skill that's currently on the decline in Australia. Reports show that 25% of Australian 11-12-year-olds don't meet the required standard in mathematics, so the sooner you introduce it, the better. The truth is that you can start to introduce numeracy gently while they're still toddlers, which is what we look at in this article.
What Maths Skills Should A 2 year Old Have?
As childcare online courses show, toddlers between 1 and 2 years should have a rudimentary understanding of what numbers are, and they relate to the 'how many?' question. They should also be starting to recite numbers independently - even if they often miss out on numbers or get them in the wrong order. Associating numbers with shapes is something else you might notice happening.
So, How Do I Teach My Toddler Numeracy?
Believe it or not, children begin learning about numbers when they can see. Simply watching their parents and engaging in everyday play, they get a sense of what numbers are and what they're for. Let's now take a look at some examples of the process in action.
Counting Those Fingers & Toes!
Our first example requires no online training, as it relates to something all parents do. At bath and nappy-changing time, as they lay on their backs with their feet in the air, there's nothing better than playing with little toes, one by one. It's great for bonding, as well as numeracy.
Counting them slowly allows your toddler to recognise the shapes you're making with your mouth as each number is announced. It might seem simple, but this is early learning in action, as toddlers are little sponges that absorb information.
Reading Stories That Prominently Feature Numbers
The statistics show that most children love being read to, even in the 8-12 age group, and while you could assume that treading only helps to develop literacy, it's not quite that simple. For example, if you read books to your children that feature numbers heavily, like Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks & the 3 Bears, you're gently bringing numeracy into the equation.
As online learning on the subject teaches us, relating numbers to stories creates a neural pathway in their young minds, associating - in this case - the number 3 with a number of animals.
Sing Number-related Rhymes
Another great way to teach numeracy is through song. Learning happens faster when kids are relaxed and having fun, and a sing-son most certainly qualifies. Rhymes like Once I Caught a Fish Alive teach counting, whereas songs like Five Little Speckled Frogs help to develop subtraction skills.
It doesn't stop there either, as nursery rhymes like One Two Buckle My Shoe introduces the concept of counting in twos. These are just three songs, and you can already clearly see how they help young minds make sense of the confusing world of numbers.
Play Number Games!
Again, feeding into the power of making learning fun, we have number-related games that can help your toddler develop their numeracy skills. There are simply hundreds available online to choose from for free that can be enjoyed offline, and they all serve to turn learning numbers from a chore into a fun activity.
You'll find games that teach adding, subtraction, division, and multiplication, but obviously, parents need to gauge their child's skill level. It's a great resource that can be used again and again.
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