It is common for adults to mistake traditional book learning for the best way to approach teaching children of all ages. Although instructed lessons and worksheets certainly have their place in education, play should be a central component to the preschooler’s learning process. This includes hands-on activities and games on specific subjects such as mathematics. Learning focused games can help the young child to develop skills and knowledge through hands-on experiences that build the creative thought process, engage the physical or motor side of the child and make school more fun. Whether your preschooler is building with blocks or playing on the computer, math games can help her to understand crucial concepts.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) an early mathematics education is essential to later academic learning and scholastic success. Preschoolers can learn basics such as number recognition, geometry, sequencing, making measurements, problem solving and even simple addition through a variety of math games. From hands-on activities using cards or counting objects to online options, learning games for preschoolers can help the young child to build his math skills.
There are a variety of online math learning games for preschoolers involving virtual manipulatives, number recognition and more. Teachers and parents should look for authoritative sites from recognizable places such as PBS or even Nick Jr. For example, the PBS Kids website has an array of math oriented games that are specifically designed with the preschool aged child in mind. These Internet based learning tools are highly interactive and feature colorful characters teaching about concepts such as shapes, measurements and patterns. If you are looking for an online virtual math manipulative, the National Library of Virtual manipulatives offers games for students in pre-k and up focusing on numbers, operations, geometry and measurements.
Card games are an easy way to help little kids to learn about mathematics. Concepts such as numbers, sequence and patterns can quickly translate into either a store bought or homemade game. Old standards such as war, in which the players turn over cards to see who has the highest number, and go fish are time tested kids' favorites that help children to learn basic mathematical concepts. For a more crafty type of math learning game, help your child to create her own deck of counting cards. Use index cards or cut card stock into 3-by-5-inch pieces. Help the preschooler to write the numbers 1 through 10 with one on each card. On the other side add stickers or drawings that match the numbers. Simply identify the numbers, count the pictures or use two decks for a game of memory.
Unlike virtual manipulatives that give kids an online option for play, real-life math manipulatives are easy-to-handle physically interactive learning tools. There are a variety of math manipulative type games available from school supply and educational retailers. These include numbered dice games, numbered bean bag tosses, toy plastic animal shaped counters, puzzles, matching games, linking or lacing numbers and bingo or lotto activities. The common theme among all of these math games is the way in which manipulatives encourage young children to get hands-on and move the parts or pieces involved.
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