Subscribe Now! Don't Miss Anything We Post. Join Our Email List Today.

Developing Early Math Skills

Early math skills support children in daily life and are an essential part of school preparation. What will your children need to know to grow through Kindergarten into first grade and beyond?

What math knowledge will your child need later on in elementary school?  Early mathematical concepts and skills that first-grade mathematics curriculum builds on include: (Bowman, B. T., Donovan, M. S., & Burns, M. S., (Eds.), 2001, 76): 

  • Understanding size, shape, and patterns
  • Ability to count verbally (first forward, then backward)
  • Recognizing numerals
  • Identifying more and less of a quantity
  • Understanding one-to-one correspondence (i.e., matching sets, or knowing which group has four and which has five)

~Zero To Three, National Institute for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

Math skills are not just important for the coming math classes, but help children develop in other areas, as well.

EarlyMath Important For Development

Math skills are just one part of a larger web of skills that children are developing in the early years—including language skills, physical skills, and social skills.  Each of these skill areas is dependent on and influences the others.  ~ZeroToThree

What can you do to help younger children develop early math skills?

Below are some suggestions from Zero To Three…

The tips below highlight ways that you can help your child learn early math skills by building on their natural curiosity and having fun together.  (Note:  Most of these tips are designed for older children—ages 2-3.  Younger children can be exposed to stories and songs using repetition, rhymEarly Mathes and numbers.)  

  • Shape up.  Play with shape-sorters.  Talk with your child about each shape—count the sides, describe the colors.  Make your own shapes by cutting large shapes out of colored construction paper.  Ask your child to “hop on the circle” or “jump on the red shape.”
  • Count and sort.  Gather together a basket of small toys, shells, pebbles or buttons.  Count them with your child.  Sort them based on size, color, or what they do (i.e., all the cars in one pile, all the animals in another).
  • Place the call.  With your three-year-old, begin teaching her the address and phone number of your home.  Talk with your child about how each house has a number, and how their house or apartment is one of a series, each with its own number.
    ~  Read A Complete List Here

Get Ready To Read agrees that it’s

Parents + teachers = A winning team

Parents and teachers should work together to assure that each child is learning the many aspects of math – in the classroom, at home, and in the community. Building on a child’s natural interest in math is key, as is monitoring a child’s progress and making adjustments in instruction to address difficulties in understanding and mastering early math concepts. There’s every reason to believe that today’s preschoolers can grow up to understand, experience and appreciate math in a broader and more practical context than the generations before them. We’re counting on it! ~Early Math Matters, Get Ready To Read

Don’t forget to make early math fun! You want to develop a love for learning. One way to teach Math, that is super fun for little ones, is through cooking together. Check out the post: Teach Your Kids Math Through Cooking? Here Is How

And, What Can Children Learn Through Cooking, Top Marks…

Cooking provides wonderful opportunities to help your child learn mathematical vocabulary. How better to learn phrases like ‘more than’ or ‘less than’ than by weighing out ingredients. Remember in the UK to weigh in grams rather than imperial measures. Let your child feel a 1kg bag of sugar to feel how heavy it is. He or she could also feel other packages to help to develop estimation skills. ~Top Marks


Freelance Blogger at
Lori Hil is a freelance blogger and content curator with an AAS in Early Childhood Education. She now gets to combine her love of writing and teaching through the written word. You can find her all around the web, but especially enjoying the freelance life at
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list for our weekly newsletter and exclusive giveaways.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Add a Comment