Your child is not only designed to learn languages. It also has an innate mathematical sense that needs to be developed to foster a love for mathematics. But do you know how to do it?
The biggest mistake many parents make when it comes to mathematics is underestimating what children already know about mathematical concepts. They are born with a basic understanding of mathematics without formal instruction. They can compare quantities and grasp addition and subtraction from a very young age.
Math Talk in Everyday Life:
One of the most effective things you can do is engage in math talk. Use number words and discuss mathematics as often as possible in daily life. Research shows that such conversations are beneficial for a child’s mathematical understanding. There are plenty of opportunities, for instance, when you’re cooking or shopping. There’s also a lot of math talk when children are conducting experiments and exploring.
Play with Number Lines:
Math talk naturally occurs in many games. If these games include a form of number line where you move pieces, like Chutes and Ladders or Ludo, they are especially useful. Children need help in establishing a mental number line, and physical number lines can assist with that. Therefore, measuring tapes and rulers are also helpful tools.
Finger Counting as an Important Tool:
In all cultures, children use their fingers when learning to count, and fingers are crucial. They serve as a physical illustration of the mental number line. In fact, the brain cells that control fingers are connected to the area of the brain we use when thinking about numbers. Therefore, I believe it’s not a good strategy to forbid children from using their fingers when doing calculations. It’s a sign that they need the extra support. Taking their fingers away from them can do more harm than good.
Building Toys and Spatial Understanding:
All sorts of building toys, such as puzzles, building blocks, or similar activities, have significant value. They strengthen spatial understanding, which interacts with the brain’s understanding of quantities. Moreover, an understanding of space itself can be critical for understanding number lines and geometry.
Inspiring Example: Arran Fernandes:
Arran Fernandes is the greatest mathematical talent in England in several hundred years. He passed his high school math exam when he was five and started university at the age of 15. I interviewed his mother, who is Norwegian, about how he became so skilled. She believes it is primarily due to the environment he grew up in, not genetics. His parents played mathematical games with Arran from a very young age. He also had building toys and read books about mathematics.
Today, Arran is a professor of mathematics and thinks the following about his field:
- Some will say that mathematics is about finding patterns. Others will say it’s about using logical reasoning to determine what is right and what is wrong. I would say it’s both. You can start by following intuition and discovering a pattern. Then you use logic to prove the connection you’ve discovered.
- Such skills can be transferred to other parts of life. For example, if you can see patterns in people’s behavior that help you understand others, or if you can use logical arguments to persuade people. I like to say that mathematics combines beauty and science in a unique way. Intuition and logic can work together perfectly.
Make the children experts!
As parents, we want to do everything we can to enhance our children’s learning. In this year’s advent calendar from the Scientist factory, children get to experiment and have fun while laying a strong foundation for future learning!
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For over 20 years, we have inspired over 500,000 children to explore the exciting world of science. The Scientist’s Calendar is a different kind of advent calendar filled with play and knowledge instead of candy and sugar. The calendar contains 24 pre-wrapped packages with magical gadgets, astonishing objects, and engaging experiments for curious children between the ages of six and twelve.