Preschool Math Skills Your Child Should Know by Age 5
Learning preschool math should be so much a part of regular home and school activities that the child may not even realize that he is learning math.
The key skills of counting and number recognition can be practiced and learned through everyday interactions with parents and siblings.
Counting is the cornerstone skill for all preschool math and a precursor to kindergarten math and elementary school arithmetic.
Children should practice counting objects: “I have six blocks.”
That’s concrete. From there a child should be able to move to the abstract and simply learn to count from 1-20.
Addition and Subtraction:
Again children should learn the concrete... "If you have four cars, and I drive up two more, how many are there now?" or “If you have three cookies and eat one, how many will you have left?”
...to the abstract: "What's four plus two?" or “What’s three minus one?”
In a good preschool math curriculum, children should start learning the math facts, which means they should be able to add and subtract one or two from the numbers up to ten. This follows from counting: you are just counting up or down one or two.
You want your child to become good at counting objects in preschool because counting 1-100 is one of the key Kindergarten Math Activities.
If your child is struggling with the abstraction of learning addition and subtraction, you may want to look at some of the preschool math manipulatives and techniques of Montessori Math, which I learned about first-hand when my own son and daughter attended an excellent Montessori preschool program.
You can learn more about the Montessori educational method in general by visiting The Montessori International web site, reading about Maria Montessori or reading one of her very engaging books. She was a brilliant social scientist and educator!
Remember! YOU, the parent, are ultimately responsible for your child's success in school. Help your child do preschool math activities and play math games at home as much as possible. The American Math Education system is fraught with problems, involved, knowledgable parents are the solution!
Children between ages 3-5 can easily develop strong concentration skills, an important prerequisite for success in their entire academic career. Here are some tips for improving concentration for preschoolers that you can do at home.
Fine Motor Skills:
An important component of the Preschool Math curriculum is starting to learn to write the numbers 1-20 by practicing preschool prewriting activities.
It takes a long time to learn to form the numbers correctly! A child should be well along in the process before starting school, though number reversals will often still be present.
There are many activities you can do at home to practice fine motor skills, like pick up sticks, pegboards, and lacing and sewing cards.
Do your children like playing with Thomas the Tank Engine trains? Learn how preschoolers improve fine motor and early math skills just by playing preschool math games (Thomas the Tank Engine toy trains are an activity that builds fine motor and planning skills just by building tracks and driving the trains!!!)
Looking for games? Education Games For Kids is packed full of the Best Educational Toys and Games for kids of all ages. You'll find games and activities to create curiosity, and a desire to learn.
For information about the fun gross motor activities for preschoolers, please visit Child-care-business.com.
My wife has used many of these fine motor activities in her Montessori and traditional preschool classrooms, and also at home with our children. By far, her two most favorite math/fine motor activities are tangrams and geo-boards.
Tangrams are fun manipulatives that teach the relationship of geometric shapes. Kids usually love experimenting to see what unique combinations of shapes they can make into a picture (magnetic tangrams are better for younger children while Kindergarten age and older children should be able to do them without the magnets).
Geo-boards are boards covered with raised knobs, on which kids stretch rubber bands into different shapes and patterns.
Over the years of teaching preschool, my wife has observed that both of these are activities kids can simply get lost in, children become absorbed in their concentration, trying finding new ways to make shapes, all the while, strengthening the small muscles in their fingers.
Are you a homeschooler or classroom teacher? You're sure to enjoy these
Preschool Lesson Plans and Activities. You'll find step-by-step procedures for preschool activities, including discussions on Child Development and Philosophy, Homeschool, Montessori and Sunday School Education.
Tracing is a wonderful way to learn correct number form. Many Preschool and Kindergarten math workbooks have tracing activities. You can also use tracing paper which can be purchased at any office supply store. Here are a few ideas for preschool tracing activities to do with your child.
Dot-to-dot and working through mazes are also good steps to fine motor strengthening and control.
Good old coloring books and crayons and learning to stay in the lines is an excellent prewriting activity. In general, arts-and-crafts activities involve fine motor development. For your child to be ready to write the numerals in first grade, there need to be hours and hours of (enjoyable) pre-writing activities, like coloring, happening in the home throughout the preschool years. And (dare I say it)... less just passive gawking at a TV screen!
For more early childhood education ideas, activities, lesson plans, arts/crafts, games, themes, songs, games and educational ideas, visit The Preschool Professor, a great guide for preschool parents and teachers.
All of these activities will take time and effort on the parents' part, but it is really worth it.
Back from Preschool Math to the Sensible Math Education home page
Show me more about preschool pre-writing activities
Show me how preschoolers can learn through workbooks.
Show me more about preschool tracing activities
Show me how playing with Thomas The Tank Engine Train sets builds math skills.
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