Mathematics for Toddlers
Mathematics is all about understanding and using shape, space, measures and numbers to solve everyday problems like how much sticky tape to use to fasten a parcel or the number of red balloons that would need to be bought so that there were enough for all the children attending a party. Helping children to enjoy math’s is probably one of the most important things that adults can do so that children realise that mathematics is a way of finding things out and solving problems.
Mathematics is broken down into two aspects:
- Shape, Space and Measures
In this area children start to recite numbers in sequence, this may be when they are singing number rhymes or during play activities. Children also start to use numbers randomly in play. Children also start to develop an idea of number and quantities by recognising if things have been added or taken away from a group of objects or by being able to select a number of things from a group when asked. Toddlers are able to experiment with different marks that represent numbers and their idea of what numbers look like. Children are encouraged to use different languages of size such as more and a lot.
Shape, Space and Measure
In this aspect children start to notice simple shapes and patterns both in pictures and the environment around them, such as circles on the buses wheels or triangles on top of the houses. Children find their basic measuring skills through categorising objects according to their size, shape or colour and start to use the language of size. In this area children also start to understand the early concepts of time, such as past, present and future and that things might happen at certain times of day such as lunch and nap time.
At Toybox we ensure children learn these basic maths skills by talking about different patterns and shapes around them, drawing their attention to them and thinking about other patterns or shapes that are similar or where else they may have seen it before. Practitioners use descriptive words in everyday play to emphasise size and to encourage children to talk about big and little things. In order for children to learn about measurement they must have a basic knowledge of weight and mass, for example whether something is heavy and massive or light and tiny. Children are encouraged to sing number rhymes in order to help develop their understanding of numbers as well as taking part in counting activities such as snakes and ladders.
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