Developing Early Math Skills

When thinking about early math skills, it is important to think about them in the context of your child’s daily life. Learning math can be done in daily routines, activities, and play. It doesn’t have to take place through worksheets or flashcards! By learning math within the context of daily life, children see how math fits into their life and gain confidence in their math skills.

Play is an important part of math learning. Through block play, water play, puzzles, and more, children begin developing early math skills. These concepts surround your daily life, you just don’t always actively think about them! You can count chicken nuggets with your child during dinner, notice shapes on your daily walks home from school, or talk about spatial relationships (e.g. the ball is under the coffee table). These are all ways children learn math concepts, and you can incorporate them into your daily interactions and conversations with your child!

Math at Concordia

This will look different depending on the age of your child, but teachers are incorporating math into everything they do through their weekly lesson plan activities! Teachers will count blocks a child is stacking and talk about how high the tower is that they are building. A teacher might ask children to put a toy inside their cubby or a book on the bookshelf. During meals, teachers will talk about how a child’s plate is empty and they need more vegetables or milk. As children grow, they will learn these skills and use them in their play and during weekly planned activities. You might see preschoolers comparing their height to how tall a peer is or counting out magnatiles to make sure everyone has the same number to use.

Find math in everyday routines

  • Bath time/water table
    • Give your child some cups and bowls to pour water.
    • Talk to your child about what they are doing “You’re pouring water into the cup.” and “The cup is full.”
  • Grocery store or play kitchen
    • Should we get the big apple or the small apple?
  • Walking around where there are big buildings or when building with blocks
    • That tower is very tall!
  • All these understand lined words help children see and learn math concepts, including size and spatial relationships.

Books with math concepts

All these books are available at the Chicago Public Library! You can also watch the stories on YouTube!