Stanford professor Deborah Stipek explains the parallel to the alphabet: “ Learning to count by rote teaches children number words and order, but it does not teach them number sense, any more than singing the letters L-M-N-O-P in the alphabet song teaches phonemic awareness. We get so excited when our kids count 1-10 early but it’s a list with no meaning. When you ask them to give you 4 fish, they give you a handful.
One way to build on your child math skills is to focus on helping them count in contexts that are meaningful to them. Practice counting on, start with a number the recognize, like two toy dogs. Add another and say “three” helping them to connect the number names with the increase in objects. This is where the beautiful word “subitize” comes in. Subitize is the ability to quickly identify the number of items in a small group. Developing the ability to subtilize larger numbers can increase math skills in a few ways.
When your child is playing with blocks and building the biggest tower that they can build just remember they’re building their math brains. Building towers and comparing the size and the height of the towers are amazing measuring skills.
Here is another beautiful math word “mathematize”. The best way to “mathematize” your child is to use math in the routines of daily life, either as games or as entertaining ways to solve problems. Let’s make math fun! Remember kids work really hard when they’re playing. Playing is the perfect learning environment. Puzzles, building blocks, board games, and card games have all been studied, with researchers concluding that all of these elevate math skills.
Kindergarten Math Teacher