Written by Laura Sines, Twizzle Tops Ipswich
Maths. Many adults will read that word with a drone as they have flashbacks of rotten experiences throughout their school days which means they aren't exactly thrilled at the prospect of teaching these essential skills to their little ones.
BUT! Maths is one of the easiest topics to make fun and engaging from a really young age. It's not just counting, oh no! Shapes, patterns, size, weights, sequencing and estimating all make up part of maths and all of these things can be found all around us. At Twizzle Tops Day nursery we are proud to give our little ones an exciting start in their maths development and below we share how you can do this at home too!
One of the children's favourite activities here at Twizzle Tops is to tip and pour. It could be with oats, rice, dried pasta or good old fashioned water. Using a washing up bowl, pots, containers or at home, even the bath, grab some smaller containers, cups or spoons and let them play to their hearts content. Whilst playing, encourage them to count the scoops, talk about if their container is full or empty, and as they get older, make it trickier by asking them to estimate how many scoops it will take to fill the container up. Make this simple activity even more fun by adding other elements such as flowers, small toys or food colouring to create themes and seasonal twists!
Why not try going on a number walk? Head outside and as you stretch your legs, work those brain cells too and see if you can spot numbers in the environment. Look out for car registrations, house numbers, price tickets in shops, and bus stops. Numbers are everywhere and going on a treasure hunt will get them excited to spot them. Soon you will be seeing them everywhere too. To shake it up another day, you could also try this with shapes; you'll be surprised how many triangular things you can spot!
Number rhymes and songs are a great way to get them to count and learn number words in a fun way. Not only does this support children in naming numbers and learning the patterns of numbers it also boosts their early communication skills. Put classics songs such as Once I Caught a Fish Alive, and Five Speckled Frogs, include teddies or finger puppets to gain even more interest.
Another favourite activity in the nursery, which can easily be replicated at home, is matching cars to parking spaces. This exciting activity encourages them to recognise and match numbers and develops hand-eye coordination as they park the car in its parking spot. Simply write a number on the top of the car using a sticker or a marker pen, and then draw some numbered parking spots on paper, and watch them have fun whilst they park their cars.
Cooking at home is a great way to incorporate maths and it doesn't need to be anything fancy, simple rice crispy cakes lend themselves perfectly to developing their little maths brains. From counting out squares of chocolate to looking at numbers on measuring jugs or even spotting patterns in the cake cases. With the anticipation of eating their yummy cakes at the end, this makes for a super engaging activity to try.
Incorporating counting into your daily routine is quick and easy. Why not try counting the stairs as they go to bed, or discussing the number and shape of the sandwiches they have at lunchtime. It could be estimating how many steps it might take to get to the end of the garden, then checking if their guess was right. Another fun way is to see how fast they can get dressed on a timer, what number was it? Could they get faster next time?
The important thing is to make maths fun. It's all around us if we look out for it, along with lots of exciting play opportunities which are a far cry from those often boring lessons you may remember from school. So go and enjoy some maths games and give your little one a good fun head start on their future learning and development.
This article was written by Laura Sines, Twizzle Tops Ipswich.