It’s good to know the numbers (1, 2, 3…), but it’s also just as important to know the words that describe mathematical ideas..
It’s good to know the numbers (1, 2, 3…), but it’s also just as important to know the words that describe mathematical ideas. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly speak to your child about sizes (his big truck, his little ball), quantities (a full glass, an empty bowl), order (you first, me second), notions of space (on, under, over, top, bottom, above, below, in the middle, etc.), and shapes (circle, square, rectangle, etc.). Pepper your chitchat with these words while you’re colouring, playing, putting away the dishes or involved in any number of other activities.
“Educational” toys? Not necessary!
“All mathematical skills can be acquired with less sophisticated material than specifically designed “educational” toys. For example, your child can learn to recognize objects of the same size, shape or colour using boxes, pots and pans, yogurt containers, wooden blocks and so on,” says Francine Ferland in her book Et si on jouait ? Le jeu durant l’enfance et pour toute la vie. (And what if we played? Games during childhood and throughout life.)
A few ideas…
“Since my daughters were born, I’ve integrated math very simply into our daily lives, just by describing my actions: I’m buttoning up 1 button, 2 buttons, 3 buttons, etc., or even, we’re climbing 1 stair, 2 stairs, etc. My eldest, aged 2 and a half, loves playing along!”
- Johanne Couture, Laval, mother of 2-and-a-half-year-old Olivia and 7-month-old Ariane
“With Olivier, who loves asking questions, we play riddles. I place different shaped objects on the table and give him 3 clues. For example, I ask him to find an object with 3 sides of the same size, and he has to tell me which shape it is. We also play ‘I’m looking for…’ when I’m busy with something. I ask him to go and find toys that are shaped like a rectangle, that are round, that include 2 parts. Sometimes, I can even introduce the concepts of time and space: ‘Go into the pantry and get the third box to the right, or the box above or below…’”
- Caroline Madore, Saint-Pascal de Kamouraska, mother of 4-year-old Olivier and 7-month-old Rosalie