Develop your kid’s math skills by playing with them

Math is a skill that we need for every day and in every aspect of our life. And kids are ready to understand numbers at a very early age. Instead of leaving kids unprepared for math teaching in elementary school, you can teach them little by little when you play with them.

There’re many ways to embed math concepts in everyday life and to teach kids about numbers, shapes, and even four basic operations. When kids have some math knowledge beforehand, they’ll be more confident when they learn math more systematically at school. It will be more possible for them to obtain long-term academic success.

Here’re some tips that you can use to help develop your kid’s math skills:


  • Use numbers-related finger play to help babies understand quantity and start counting, for example:

Five little monkeys (and then countdown as four/three/two/one)
jumping on the bed.
One fell off
and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Source: Jbrary

  • Use daily objects to help kids compare and get a sense of quantity/size, for example, “Watermelon is bigger than orange”, “I have more carrots than you do” etc.
  • Help babies recognize shapes by noticing different shapes around them, for example, round wheels, rectangle table, triangle half sandwiches etc.


  • Count with kids whenever you can. For example, count how many wheels a car have, how many traffic lights during the commute, how many people in line ahead of you, etc.
  • Ask kids help with cooking and dinner preparation and learn about measuring spoons, bigger/smaller plates, and short/long/longer/longest spoons, etc.


  • Talk about the characteristics about each shape to help kids memorize the name of it. For example, circles are round with no corners; triangles have three lines and three angles.
  • Group things together and add them up. When checking out, ask kids how many items are there in the shopping cart and ask them whether you can use the express checkout (less than 10 items).
  • Introduce the definition of fractions by folding a paper/napkin, cutting an orange, etc.

-Xuan, Children's Librarian at Joel D. Valdez Main Library

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