How To Promote Mathematics At An Early Age Through Play

Young children are naturally inquisitive during their first 5 years and according to several researches, it is the right time to introduce mathematics to young children. Establishing a sound framework of mathematics in these early years enables young children to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills because at this time their brain is increasingly growing. This helps in improving their understanding of mathematics in their formal schooling years and guides them through success. However, several parents find teaching mathematics in early years to be a challenging task especially those who possess math phobias. Nevertheless, the importance of introducing mathematics in such early years is crucial and beneficial.

child counting fingers

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Play is a natural way through which children learn about their surroundings. Through playing, children are able to explore, recreate, investigate and understand their world. Play offers young children practical knowledge to which they can relate and comprehend easily. Allowing children to experience high quality playtime heavily depends on their parents. Parents and teachers can provide tools and materials that can help them learn and explore further. They can open doors to new activities and learning, which enhances the child’s development skills and makes them more aware of their surroundings. Therefore, adults can actively help young children to nurture and grow their mental capacity by at the same time they should limit interference and dictation as this ceases the play session.

Parents can incorporate mathematics through play to make it less intimidating for them and more enjoyable for their young ones. Rather than teaching math in isolation, it is best to integrate it through play by using items that children are familiar with and already interested in. To engage children in problem solving, reasoning and allow understanding of numbers to emerge naturally, it is essential to include purposeful play, which is done through mathematics. Young children are able to better familiarise themselves with mathematics through hands-on experience therefore, it is ideal to include math in the child’s everyday learning which will also help him/her indulge themselves in numerical problems.


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Math is present everywhere in the home. Parents can include children in daily activities that involve mathematics. For instance, children will learn about money when going shopping with parents, they will be able to count the stairs as they go up for bed and eventually start to understand the concept of time throughout the day as they dress and eat. There are several mathematical experiences a child can have simply through his/her daily life; it simply depends on the adults in their life on how they introduce these experiences to them. Introducing young children to mathematical games such as sand and water, dough, imaginative play, sorting jigsaw puzzles or tidying up toys can all serve as ways for the child to better understand mathematics.

It is truly fascinating to watch children grow but the actual fascination is to see them develop their skills through such innovative and effective ways, which later on in life will help them strengthen their foundation of success.

Written by Carly Garrett

Image Credits: Nele Reial & yabberdab