Toddlers

Exploring Symmetry

Symmetry might be a small part of geometry but it is a vitally important concept which links maths to the real word. Symmetry can be easily seen in everyday life. It exists all around us, in nature, in art, in our homes and in the mirror. Children naturally seek the balance and order of symmetry in everything around them.

Exploring symmetry/reflections (and thus transformations) enables the mind to recognise the complexities of shapes from many different orientations, with reflections being one of the easier of the two. IQ and aptitude tests always have spatial questions because brains that can reflect […]

5 Important Ways To “Speak Maths” With Your Children

Sometimes we don’t realise it but maths is a language in itself. New mums are always keen to expand their baby’s vocabulary; to teach them lots of words and to help them learn to speak and understand English. Stacey Keyser, an experienced speech pathologist says, “Language development begins from birth and needs to be modeled everyday by parents and caregivers.”
Teaching your baby the words and language associated with mathematics is the easiest way to incorporate maths into your baby’s life from an early age. Here are my top 5 essential ways to “speak maths” with your children.
Keyser suggests that […]

Maths Play at the Park

The key message that we’d really like everyone to take on board is that you can involve a bit of mathematics in the normal course of your day and through the activities that you would normally do.
While you can also set aside time to do something a bit more special and creative with your child, it’s the integration of mathematics into your usual activities that gives your child the message that maths is normal, fun and a part of the everyday.
If you feel like spending a great afternoon at your local park with your kids, then there’s a perfect […]

Shapeimals – Shape Art

Why is learning about shapes important?
When you look outside, while you probably don’t verbalise everything you see, you brain is processing, defining and sorting. It sees the brown, rectangular building, the yellow, triangular children crossing sign and the circles on the traffic lights. We all use shape as a way of identifying and organising what we see. Very early on, your child begins to make a connection between familiar objects and their shapes.

Children learn about shapes and their properties by playing with them. I have been having fun making animals out of basic shapes which is easy and fun […]

Movement Maths for Babies

Today we have a really simple activity to do with your baby that teaches them mathematics and algebraic ideas through movement.
This activity is like line dancing for babies, but will just use their hands and arms. Together you will do a short sequence of movements and then repeat them as many times as it is fun for both you and your baby to do so.
For example, together with your baby you might do the following sequence:
“Hand up!” – you put your left arm in the air while your baby copies and puts their right hand arm up.
“Hand on face!” […]

A Healthy Introduction to Algebra

Patterning is the first stage of algebra so why not try forming patterns with fruit? Using cookie cutters you can make all sorts of shapes in all sorts of colours. At the same time your children will get their healthy dose of fruit. The kids I know have assured me that a rockmelon ducky tastes way better than just plain old rockmelon 🙂

Get your kids to help you cut up the fruit and once it’s cut there are many activities to try.

Patterning: Start a pattern using just two different shapes or two different fruits of the same shape and […]

Teaching Quantity and the Language of Maths

Since having my first baby in February of this year it is amazing to see how much he has learned and developed through play. I’ve been asking the other mothers in my mother’s group what sorts of games they play with their little ones and what they think their children are learning from these games.
Play isn’t just about fun. Play is the key to learning. It’s no secret that children learn through play.  Babies learn language, vocabulary, hand-eye coordination, develop fine and gross motor skills, rhyming, rhythm and many other skills through play.
The games that these mothers play with […]

Playing Shop with a Twist

Children love imaginative play. Playing shop is a favourite game for toddlers through to late primary school aged children. But for some, the game can get boring for them very quickly. Add some extra spark to keep ‘playing shop’ interesting and you’ll be amazed at the educational benefits which can be derived. While playing this common game you can enhance your children’s mathematical thinking, numeracy and measurement skills. Enabling your children to gain an appreciation for maths in everyday life and helping them to feel comfortable thinking mathematically is a gift that starts with adding maths to playtime.

Task 1: […]

Opportunities for Algebraic Thinking in Everyday Chores

The opportunity for discussing mathematical ideas and encouraging mathematical thinking is available in what may seem like the most mundane of opportunities and activities. Today I’ll present two opportunities that you can explore with children aged anywhere from 4 years to 8 years. These two examples illustrate the foundational knowledge of algebraic thinking and the nature of patterns.

Setting the Table

Photo credit: atmtx / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
The way we set the table for dinner each evening involves an ability to understand and extend a spatial pattern. While something so simple might not seem like algebra, or at least not […]

‘SHAPE’ I Spy

‘I spy with my little eye, a rectangle’
‘Is it the TV?’ ‘Is it a place-mat?’ ‘Is it the family photo?’

 
There are stages of development when it comes to how children think of shapes. Initially babies will perceive shapes but be unable to identify and distinguish between many shapes. Their copied drawings of different shapes, like a circle, square or triangle all resemble a similar irregular curve. Then children begin to recognise shapes based on their appearance. They can visually identify shapes and will say things like,  “That’s a rectangle because it looks like the TV.”
At the descriptive level a […]