Guide to Developing Early Numeracy Skills

Numeracy skills are life skills. Children need numeracy skills in their everyday lives - to learn to access and interpret information, solve problems, understand patterns and to help them make informed decisions by evaluating different options.

But learning doesn’t have to be restricted to the classroom. There are plenty of opportunities to help your children with their numeracy skills and these can be explored and practised at an early age through everyday play and activities.

The following ideas are a guide to the simple activities you could build into everyday routines that will support your young child’s numeracy skills.

Simply telling stories and singing songs is an easy way to help. Choose stories or verse that have repetition, rhyme or involve numbers.

Involving your child in cooking is a great way to help them understand numbers and ideas around measuring, sizes and shapes. Allow them to weigh out the ingredients and introduce concepts such as ‘more than’ and ‘less than’. Baking is also a fun way to introduce the concept of 'time'.

Supermarket shopping provides endless opportunities for having fun with numeracy. Count out items together as you put them in the trolley. Introduce other mathematical language such as 'half a dozen' and as they get older, involve them in calculating prices.

Gardening is another easy way to introduce mathematical concepts in a practical way. Let your child count out seeds or seedlings and help you dig different sized holes to plant them in. Ask them to find the tallest and shortest plants in the garden.

Inside, you could introduce some simple games and puzzles which use shapes, patterns or numbers, like Snap, Snakes and Ladders or Dominoes. They not only reinforce skills in counting, colours and shapes, they're also good fun.

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