Having fun with sequences

Having fun with sequences
Arranging things in a given order is a mathematical skill children enjoy exercising. They can practise putting things in order of size by placing containers in a row from biggest to smallest, for example.

Arranging things in a given order is a mathematical skill children enjoy exercising. They can practise putting things in order of size by placing containers in a row from biggest to smallest, for example. They can also try creating sequences by playing a simple game: each of you has to take turns clapping your hands to create a short sequence with different beats (e.g.: 2 quick claps followed by 2 slow claps), and then the other person has to repeat the sequence.

A few ideas…

“When my 20-month-old niece comes over, we have fun making necklaces with buttons of every colour. I help her create and repeat colour sequences (e.g.: pink, blue, green; pink, blue, green, etc.)!”
- Martine Desautels, Boisbriand, aunt of 20-month-old Émy.

“A simple card game like Happy Families or Go Fish is great for acquiring several skills. The child must collect cards until she gets a series that makes up a family. She realizes that when she’s missing a card, she needs to ask another player for a card from the same family, and also that she needs a series of 4 to make a family, and so on.”
- Isabelle Moreau, Montreal

Math skills, by age
Here are guidelines for what your child may be able to do with a bit of help.
1 and a half to 2 years old
  • She can learn some number words and notice that these words come up often in conversations and that she hears and sees them in a lot of places.
2 to 3 years old
  • She knows that when we take 1 candy away from 2 candies (2 – 1), there is 1 left, and that if 1 candy is added to 2 (1 + 2), there should be 3 in all.
  • She tries to count using number words, even if they are often not in the right order.
  • She can learn to recite the number words from 1 to 10.
  • She can represent 1 and 2 with her fingers.
  • She can divide 8 toys between 2 children using the strategy “1 for me and 1 for you.”
  • She understands the concept of the “first” and “last” person in a line.
3 to 5 years old
  • When counting objects, she knows that the last number word she says answers the question: “How many are there?”
  • At about 3 and a half years old, she can provide the correct answers to addition and subtraction problems with small quantities (e.g.: 1 + 2 and 3 – 2) while manipulating concrete objects.