Parents play a critical role in the early math education of their children. Not only can they provide games and toys related to mathematics, but also serve as an example of their use in everyday life.

Children, who see how their parents use mathematics in daily life, practice activities related to them more often. This, in turn, enhances the early mathematical skills that serve as the basis for future learning.

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There are 5 skills that the little ones should have before they start preschool. The opportunities to acquire them are everywhere, and there are simple and fun activities with which parents can encourage them to practice in order to encourage them

The ability to count and the ‘cardinality’

This capacity includes counting to 20, order letters with numbers, identify without counting how many elements make up a small set, and understand that the amount does not change regardless of how it is distributed.

Future students will also have to learn cardinality, which means that they must understand that the last object counted represents the number of elements in the set. The ability to count and the cardinality can be easily integrated into daily life. Children can count their toys while they pick up or how many steps to take from the kitchen to their bedroom.

Operations and algebraic thinking

Preschool students must solve simple problems of addition and subtraction using objects. Parents can encourage their children to solve simple math problems during their daily tasks.

For example, you can ask them to calculate the correct number of plates or utensils when they set the table to eat. Remember that the mathematical language that children hear is important. You can ask them questions like, “How many more dishes do we need?”.

10-based game for a preschool kid

Numbers and 10-based operations

Children have to begin to understand that the number “ten” is made up of 10 “ones”. Counting the fingers and toes is a great way to highlight the numbers from one to 10.

Money and coins, in particular, is another excellent way to draw attention to base 10. Parents can play stores with their children using one cent coins and “buy” toys for different amounts. During the game, you can talk about how many toys you can buy with 10 cents.

Measurements and data

Preschool students have to know how to distinguish objects according to their characteristics -such as shape, color, and size- or to identify the characteristic according to which objects have been classified. They also have to be able to order objects by a certain measurable characteristic, such as from higher to lower.

Upon reaching preschool, children should also be able to compare objects and use expressions such as “more than”, “less than”, “longer”, “shorter”, “heavier” or “lighter”. Parents can help them using these words to highlight comparisons.


Early skills in geometry include naming and identifying 2-dimensional shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles. Children also have to realize that there are forms of different size, profile, and orientation that are the same.

Preschool children learning geometry shapes

Likewise, they must be able to recognize that a circle is like a sphere and use informal terms, such as “box” or “ball” to distinguish three-dimensional objects. In this sense, parents can draw the attention of their children about the forms that are in their environment.

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VIAAbelardo Canelo
SOURCESusan Sonnenschein, Rebecca Dowling and Shari Renee Metzger
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I am not only a fluent Spanish-English reader/speaker but also a bi-cultural person who has a broad solid background. I also have a passionate interest in different expressions of music, especially many American styles and their combinations (Folk-Country, Jazz, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Soul, and so on), dance, stage and screen, and some other forms of artistic expression.