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Teaching Math At Home! – Making It Fun

For starters, number recognition of 1 to 10 will be good. Usually the playgroup classes will indicate learning the quantity from 1 to 10 and recognition of numbers 1 to 10 in their Maths curriculum for the whole year.  Provided the centre has a curriculum to begin with!  Hahahaaa! Well, not reali funny, but such occurences ARE a reality. I’ve been to a few who couldn’t show me their centre’s curriculum. When i asked to view their worksheets of what their children have done to date, she showed me a measly few copied from local assessment books and transferred to like their very own “legit” worksheets. Such audacity! I wouldn’t mind if they used the whole actual book which will look much more professional instead of badly photocopied pieces put in cheap folders.

Ok, sowiee… strayed a bit… Niwae, these are a few activities for the younger ones. As their concentration is very short, hands-on activities are best. Good if they can run around too. Not for fun, but for learning sake. 

Learning Quantity/Numerals 1 to 10

Using say a thematic approach : Example > Fruits

Say we’re learning the numbers 1, 2 & 3. And say we just covered letter “o” for learning alphabets, we can reinforce. You may start by telling your child that, “Today, we’re learning numbers 1, 2 & 3. Do you remember we learnt “o” for orange yesterday? We’re going to use the same oranges to count. Would you like that?” (Hopefully child says yes!)

Btw, i usually encourage speaking in exagerrated tone to young kiddies. Animated expressions and change of character voices most welcome!

“I have here 3 cute baskets and we shall put the oranges into the baskets according to the number on them, which is 1, 2 and 3… Now if we can do it nicely, mummy has a surprise for you later. Shall we place one orange in basket number 1? ( Continue until 3 )  Reward with praise accordingly.

Observe that when a small child starts to carry more oranges to the basket, with their small hands… It starts to get heavy and more challenging to carry them. If you wish, you can explain to the child that as numbers get bigger, the things you count becomes

Other materials you can use:

  • Chopsticks and empty tissue boxes (Chopsticks are good for tactile learning experience too. Esp if you teach up to 10. As the number increases, the quantity increases. As it increases in quantity the child feels its getting full in her grip)
  • Fishing game with those rod and plastic fishies with numbered bowls or containers
  • Coloured plastic chips (mahjong chips) and small containers (Activity can be like, saving coloured plastic chips in piggy banks)

As an extension…

The following can be done.

“Well done and now for the surprise.. I have here 3 cups. We’re going to make orange juice for daddy ok. Lets use that 1 orange first. Can you get me the orange from basket number 1? ( Ask child to get it on his/her own ) Parents observe and provide assistance if required. I’m gg to cut the orange in half now. Let’s juice it out.”

(Ya guys know the container with the cone shaped on top for squeezing fruit to make juice, i dunno the exact name but that is what we usually use in class cos not sharp and its made of plastic – if anyone knows the term for that thing, please do share! )

Now, we’ve juiced out this much from one orange. Let’s label the cup with number one. Wanna help me write number one on this star sticker? Continue until 3.

You may wish to discuss further with your child…

“Why is it that this one orange gives us this much juice and the three oranges gives us this much?”

This activity can be done with 2 yrs/2.5 yrs old children. Most of them can understand concept of more and less or the most and the least. Mathematical terms are good to be included when teaching early maths as it will come in handy as the child progresses. It doesn’t have to be a term that they have to specifically learn by hard but terms that parents slot into their conversations or when teaching.

You may then reinforce with written activity :

  • Cut out orange shapes. Prepare worksheets with the number at the bottom page. Ask children to stick the cut-outs to the corresponding numbers.
  • Tracing dotted lines for the numbers.
  • Art activity ( Multi-colour Orange Fruit Printing )

Other extensions :

  • Number stories like Eric Carle’s Hungry Caterpillar
  • Computer games like those number games from Blues Clues
  • Play matching number games with flashcards which you can DIY
  • Make number cookies. 
    • Buy plain ready made cookies of any shape. Pipe some icing sugar in the numeral forms and ask child to decorate the cookie with M&M chocolates! Great for learning and great for
      eating! )

Like i always say… Must make learning FUN ok!




See: Forum Thread


Do you teach ?

Hi, do you teach pre-school kids ?  Please email me at Cheers!


Don’t worry… I know it only because I spent too much of my life standing in front of sales aunties demoing the latest and snaziest all-in-1 blender cum fruit juicer with dozens of extra appendages and what-not, while waiting for my wife to finish paying her weekly homage to the vegetables and raw food sections of supermarkets.

Manual Juicer

Heyya chief, Thanks a gazillion! It totally didn’t ring a bell that "manual juicer" word! Yikes! Paiseh hor.. The very clear image reali reali helps. Well, i just hope what i share will inspire others to learn and play with their children or students. There are endless activities to teach our early learners. I’ m still learning everyday. Learn from my kiddies too, in fact!

Yet another great read...

… from our ever-effusive buds!  To help out a bit, your "container with the cone shaped on top for squeezing fruit to make juice" is also known as a "manual juicer", as opposed to a, um, "powered juicer".

For the more visually inclined, here you go:


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