How to teach pre-school maths at home

Discussions on tuition centres/enrichment services that specialise in Mathematics.

How to teach pre-school maths at home

Postby berriestan » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:43 am

Hi mummies/ daddies,

Can anyone share how you teach maths concepts at home? Any creative or useful ideas or products? Eg.

1) basic concept of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
2) units, tens, hundreds, thousands etc
3) fractions
4) reading time with concepts like seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years etc?

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Teaching Maths @ Home! Make it fun!

Postby buds » Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:03 pm

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Heyya berriestan..

For starters, number recognition of 1 to 10 will be good.
Usually the playgroup classes will indicate learning the
quantity from 1 - 10 and recognition of numbers 1 - 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. :wink:

Learning Quantity/Numerals 1 to 10

1. 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. :idea:
( Buy plain ready made cookies of any shape.
Pipe some icing sugar in the numeral forms and ask child to decorate
the cookie, thus forming the numbers you want them to learn, with M&M
chocolates! Great for learning and great for
eating! )

Like i always say...
Must make learning FUN ok!


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Coming soon...

Postby buds » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:56 pm

Heyya berriestan,

Hope the starters suggestions wud be of use
to you. Next up, i'll go into the basic addition
and subtraction thingy.

Btw, are you stay-home-mum or working mum?
It makes a difference of how my suggestions can
help to assist these two different parent categories.

And is your older child already attending any classes?

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Postby mintcc » Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:20 pm

Hi buds, thanks for the very useful post on teaching young children math.

Wonder what age should be we starting to worry about addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions? I have played some "games" with my 3 + yr old to introduce my kid to the concepts. but not too sure if I should start worrying about whether he is getting it or not.

So far mostly in put during daily activities, like cutting his favorite fish ball in to pieces, I will go like mummy is cutting your fish ball in to half.... or when giving goats milk tablets, I will go like, how many have you eaten? wait for him to answer... if mummy give you one more that will be x number

berriestan, for reading day of week, date, month year, my mum manage to teach my nephew at 2 using the calendar. My boy got a cute calendar for Christmas and I have been starting to show him which day it is on the calendar most days. e.g. today is 10 Jan 2009, it's a Saturday! We are going swimming today!. I also give him stickers to place on the calendar for the day that is his birthday and my birthday, and his dad's birthday.

For counting 1- 10, we use to count the floors on the elevator as we get to them both when we are going up and down.

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Indirect Teaching

Postby buds » Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:40 am

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Heyya guys,

I know Christmas is sooooo over, but you can
actually use songs like Jingle Bells for indirect
approach to learning.

Though when its time to listen to instructions &
the continuous naggings from us, the children
don't really seem to be using much of their
auditory... when it comes to music, they LIKE.

Indirect learning is like how mincy adds the
mathematical terms in her daily conversations
with her child. Months of the year can also be
carried out without having to do official sitting
down kinda work..

We can be in the kitchen and singing aloud...
Say, we use the tune to Jingle Bells to sing the
Months of the year like this...

January, February, March, April and May........
June, July, August and Septemmmm...ber....
October, November aaaannd December....
We have just sung together,
The 12 months in a yeeeeaaaar!

Another similar strategy can be used to sing
the days of the week, adapting the tune to
O' My Darlin' Clementine..

There are 7 days,
There are 7 days,
There are 7 days,
In a week.......
Monday, Tuesday.......
Wednesday, Thursday.......
Friday, Saturday and Sunday.......

Note : Wednesday is pronounced as wenzdei.
Not Wed-nes-day or When-nurse-day..
Just wenz-dei.

Word of caution : Such strategies can evoke obsessive
reactions to songs. Children may have the songs stuck
in their heads and they may sing it over and over again
like under a "Months-of-the-year" spell! Do not say you
were not warned!

For older children, working parents can grab those lovely
felt posters available in Kiddy Palace. They have a few
themes like months of the year and days of the week kinds
selling at $30 plus. For stay-home-mums, be thrifty and go
print the words out with bright colours, laminate and add
those adhesive velcro strips for repeated play. Place them
in prominent and low place for children to fiddle with as and
when they please..

For extensions, you may get those cute colourful alphabet
magnets ( Bought mine from Toys R Us ) for fridge play.
My kiddies love these! It gives them opportunity to be in
the kitchen without disturbing us with the usual cooking &
washing chores. When younger, they use it to practise sch
spelling words and now when they're much older they like
to form silly sentences and stuff.

I can vividly remember when my younger one actually made
me laugh out loud with those fridge magnets! I heard some
commotion in the living room area, which sounds like a stern
telling off by the daddy. The younger of the two then came
into the kitchen looking mad. She asked, "Can i play here
mummy, i promise i won't disturb you.." So, naturally i said
of course, go ahead...

Upon finishing with the clearing of the kitchen, as i was about
to place the leftovers in the fridge i saw what had just been

Love mummy.
Notty daddy.

Well, i love you too dearie... :love:

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Make a calendar 2009

Postby buds » Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:22 am

Hey y'all..

If you wanna try out interactive reinforcements
on the calendar thingy, can check out...

Have fun!

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Postby berriestan » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:30 am

Hi buds,

Thank you for taking time to share! Appreciate it..

I'm a full-time working mum. My elder one is 3.5 years old and attending nursery. Am thinking what to teach her at home to prepare her for Primary Maths. Looking for fun and creative ways..

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Large Number Rods - Introduction of 1 to 10

Postby buds » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:50 pm

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In a Montessori classroom this is one simple material used
for introducing children to concept of 1 to 10. The material
is made from wood, alternately coloured with blue and red,
to determine each column as one unit... and as number goes
bigger, rods get longer.

The number cards are also in wood. Numbers printed in black ink.

For mummies trying to teach this concept with similar learning
material, you cud do it with vanguard paper or cardboard...
preferably papers which won't bend easily. If using normal
paper can laminate.. Likewise for the number cards.


Many teaching variations to teach early maths concepts
with this simple material.

>Intro quantity of 1 to 10.
( Counting from left to right & one unit at a time)

>Building stairs. From 1 to 10. - Least to most. Smallest to biggest.
>Learning to count in sequence from 1 to 10.
>Building stairs. From 10 to 1. Most to least. Biggest down to smallest.
>Learning to count backwards from 10 to 1.

>Matching quantity and written symbols, with number rods and cards.
Arranged at random.

>Visual aide for introduction to simple addition using two rods.
(For addition questions with the answers 10 and below)

If you have two sets of these, can work the number bonds with
your children. I'll go into that another time, ay..

Happy teaching!
Last edited by buds on Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Large Number Rods - Introduction of 1 to 10

Postby schellen » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:29 am

buds wrote:For mummies trying to teach this concept with similar learningmaterial, you cud do it with vanguard paper or cardboard...
preferably papers which won't bend easily. If using normal
paper can laminate.. Likewise for the number cards.

If you can't get cardboard, take a look at your children's toys. They usually come in cardboard boxes of some sort. Those are tough enough to withstand daily use. I did this and stuck pictures on top of the cardboard to make my own set of memory cards for my DD when she was younger.

If you wish to laminate, there is a cheaper option. Popular sells adhesive book covers; the kind that comes in rolls with backing paper. The paper has lines on them to guide you in cutting. I use them to protect photos, magazine pages, etc. I don't use them for important certificates, but for less important stuff, this is a much cheaper option.

Just remember that it takes a few tries to get the hang of it so don't give up if you can't get the air bubbles out the first few times. Also, once you stick it down, you can't remove it anymore cos it's like a big piece of very sticky scotch tape. Each roll is $2+. It's thick enough and doesn't flop about. It's clear enough so you can also read any text after "lamination". Since it's soft plastic, you can get away with rounding the corners but if you want to, just use scissors or those round corner cutters to do the job easily.

Tip: Make sure you leave enough excess around the edges of whatever you're "laminating" cos if you don't, the edges will open up.

P.S. think that due to the recent start of the school year, Popular seems to be currently out of this adhesive thing. The staff told me that their supplier has run out of stock so it may take a while before stocks are replenished.

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Postby buds » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:40 pm

I swear by the laminating sheets myself.. and i've also invested
in an AURORA Laminating Machine bought from Carrefour some
years back for only $60+. It has helped me with flashcards
lamination, keeping the children's certificates alive on top of
other things.

And can't agree more with schellen on the advantages of recycling!

PS : Hey schellen, must be you who bought so many of the laminating
sheets until i oso can't get it at Popular! Hehehee.. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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