Activities to improve number senseMath Tutor
Previously, we wrote about dyscalculia and what the symptoms are. If you suspect your child may have learning difficulties in math, you can help strengthen your child’s math ability by incorporating math skills in your daily life! “Parents should never centre attention of the child’s difficulty, because this will only increase the problem: he will less capable in this area of learning and in their ability to achieve things, and doing this will cause a problem that originally only affected mathematics to extend to other parts of their life”, says psychologist Jamie Bermeosolo.
Activities to help improve your child’s number sense
- Flashing your fingers quickly and asking the child to tell you the number of fingers without counting
- Asking them to pass a small quantity of objects to you and guiding them in counting one-to-one correspondence if they just grab a few instead of taking the exact quantity
- Making dot cards for the child to tell the number of dots without counting, starting from one to five dots
- Playing the tangram set and asking the child to recreate the figure
- Playing the ‘guess the mystery number’ game that goes: “I am thinking of a number between one and 10. What is the number?” Keep giving the child clues such as: “No, the number is more or less than that”
- Playing ‘snakes and ladders’ in a positive environment where the child feels safe to make mistakes and clarify when in doubt
- Reading story books with elements of maths such as The Hungry Caterpillar and Ten Apples Up on Top
- Making number stories in your daily conversation. For example: “I have two pencils in my left hand and three pencils in my right hand. How many pencils do I have altogether?”
- Using the correct terms in your daily speech and introducing the vocabulary for mathematical symbols such as ‘+’ and ‘–’
- Get your child to help count and prepare the ingredients while you do your grocery shopping or prepare food in the kitchen
- Getting your child to set the table so that kids observe and learn about sets and groups
- Playing “I Spy With My Little Eye”. Examples are counting of cars of the same colour, finding numbers on signs, licence plates and houses
All of these activities are simple and can be carried out by the whole family! The child won’t feel pressured to practise and learn, and you’ll be able to spend quality time with your kids. It is important to reinforce learning at home in a fun, disciplined manner.