Geometry for a three-year-old? It seems harsh to be starting math education for a child so young. However, mastering some basic mathematical concepts early can make learning math easier and less intimidating as they grow older
Your little three year old probably already tackles shapes in playschool, but reinforcement always helps. Here are some ideas of how you can do that at home or even on the road:
- I-Spy: I-Spy is a fun way to pass time on a long drive, or even at home. Instead of “I spy a red car”, say “I spy a triangle” and your child has to look out of the window and find something that is triangular.
- Paper Cutting: Draw a square, triangle, circle and rectangle on separate pieces of paper. Hand your child a child-safe pair of scissors and ask them to cut out the shapes. Ask them what they are cutting. The activity not just reinforces shape sense but also lets them practice cutting which is an important fine motor skills activity.
- Pattern Fun: Pattern recognition is a really important part of strengthening your child’s math sense. You can use any collection of things lying around your house to play. Spoons and forks can be used to make a pattern and ask your child to finish it. For example, arrange fork, fork, spoon, fork, fork, spoon and ask your child what comes next. You can do this with candy like Gems, fruits like grapes and segments of orange, pebbles and shells, etc. You can even use these items to have your child build shapes. For instance, make a circle out of Gems.
- Shape Collage: Cut out a colourful assortment of shapes and build pictures together by putting the shapes together. For example: Create a tree with a triangle and a small rectangle or a house with a square and a triangle. Encourage your child to attempt drawing in details using familiar shapes, like square windows on the hut or circular apples on trees. They might surprise you with what they can think of to build. You can also build patterns with shapes and ask your child to complete the pattern.
- Colouring activities: Does your child love to colour? Draw your child a picture or find a picture in one of your colouring books and ask them to colour just the circles first, then the squares, rectangles, hearts, etc. Colouring pictures that you have drawn for them or that they have drawn for themselves is a lot more fun and satisfying.
At three, children love repetitive games and once you have identified a game they enjoy, you can do it over and over, each time adding more complex shapes to the mix like hearts, diamonds and ovals. If math concepts are introduced in a light and interactive manner, children find their encounter with a more formal introduction to math in kindergarten easy and enjoyable.