Early Math Skills

Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers. –Shakuntala Devi 

What are early math skills?

Before starting school, most children naturally develop an understanding of math concepts through everyday interactions. This is because math is everywhere! Children see their parents counting out silverware, cooking, telling time, doing household projects, and playing games. This exposure helps to build early math skills which will be the foundation for later learning.

Kids learning math
Two school children learning math

What are some examples of early math concepts that your preschooler will benefit knowing in kindergarten?

  • Shapes: Understanding size, shape, and patterns

  • Number Recognition and Basic Counting: verbally (first forward, then backward)

  • How much?: Counting objects and identifying more and less of a quantity

  • Same-Different: Understanding one-to-one correspondence (i.e., matching sets, or knowing which group has four and which has five)

Why are early math skills important for children?

Like early reading and literacy skills, early math skills will help pave the way for a successful academic experience. We want children to have positive attitudes towards reading and books and also mathematical concepts! Math skills help a child make sense of the world. These skills are are often transferable and build on one another so it is imperative that children have a solid foundation from the get-go. In addition, math activities encourage inquiry, reasoning, and intellectual curiosity. Skills that are important for life long learners!
Kids Learning Math

How can parents and caregivers help children develop early math skills?

Opportunities for learning these skills are everywhere – and there are simple, enjoyable activities that parents can do to foster a love of math. Do some cooking and measuring with your child. Count how many times he/she can jump rope. Build something together. Play a board game. Sort socks. The possibilities are endless! Talk and encourage your child to see the numbers and math all around us. While you are doing everyday tasks, ask your child questions like:

• How many are there? Which has more?

• Which one is smaller? Which one is the largest?

• How could you sort these?

• Do you notice a pattern?

Children use math concepts frequently while they play, and the more “math language” children hear daily, the more math connections they will make thus building a solid foundation for future learning. Be your child’s math role model!

collage of students learning math

Everyday Learning Opportunities!

Do you want more ideas for quick and easy early math activities to do at home with your upcoming kindergartner? Watch these 2-3 minute videos created by our CCPS staff and early childhood community supporters.

Online Activities and Apps to Support Early Math Acquisition

The American Association for Pediatrics suggests limiting screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs for children age 2 to 5 years. Look for sites and apps that provide for opportunities to create, connect, and critically think! Below you will find some sites that provide high-quality age appropriate learning opportunities for your preschool child to learn early math vocabulary and concepts. Try them out together!