The Young Mathematician
“But in my opinion, all things in nature occur mathematically.”
― Rene Decartes
Mathematics is an expression, a language, a concept and even a human endeavor.
According to Richard Courant, it strives to achieve aesthetic perfection. It represents and
solves problems present in society and has led to major discoveries and inventions.
Math encourages kids to think critically and logically. You can find discipline in steps
followed to solve a problem which has a somewhat predictable outcome. This discipline
reflects in toddler’s behavior in everyday life. It teaches life skills from managing travel
budget to choosing a car to buy.
Counting strikes as a major ability to possess when we talk about math for toddlers. But
we should not mistake counting to be the only form of math that toddlers are able to
practice and learn. Their expressions, even in the slightest form, could indicate a far
superior form of math. For instance, your child would exclaim how fast an object- bird, or
a train goes past him towards an unknown destination. Here, the preschooler is trying to
relate the speed of the object to the distance covered by it. Although, they may not be able
to understand distance and time in numerical terms, these experiences connect them to
math in more ways than we can imagine.
Helping Kids make Math Connections:
1) Building Blocks Game: Blocks are a great way of teaching kids about squares,
triangles and rectangles. They can create other structures by combining different
shapes or can compare sizes of different blocks or simply just count different
2) Counting: You can ask your toddler to count the number of trees while you are on
your way to the market or playschool or daycare. You can count anything and
everything. It will be a little hard for your little one to keep up the pace, but he will
eventually learn and will start counting things he surrounds himself with.
3) Representation Play: Your child’s tea party can be a great learning experience for
them. Tell your toddler to bring a cup for each of their soft toy that they have at
the table. You can ask them to do the same during picnics or other family outings
for equally distributing sandwiches or other things. This will help them apply
information they has gathered from two sources and put them together triggering
their logical thinking abilities.
4) Making Observations: Help your kids make observations on different patterns
found in the world around him. Ticking of a clock, flapping of wings, whistle from
the cooker and etcetera are all examples of phenomenon occurring in a pattern
with intervals. The same can be used to give your toddler a vague idea about time
and the working of a clock.
Ergo, math is necessary in every aspect of life. If you wish to go out of the way to
stimulate the understanding of math in your toddler through instructions, make sure
the incorporated techniques are relevant to their world. Let them explore their
environment in their own way and time as their learning abilities cannot be easily
predicted for sequential learning. Your child might be good in few aspects of math
and may be slow in understanding other aspects. Be patient and help him grasp
concepts better through hands-on activities.