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10 Everyday Math Skills For Young Children

There are simple little things adults can do outside of the typical learning environment to explore simple math concepts.  The information available for teaching children formally in lessons and school is vast and plentiful, but I’d like to share a few every day activities to aid the mathematical mind of the children in your lives.  There’s little to no materials or preparations necessary!
  1. Count aloud. This is a chance for children to simply hear you count things you need in every day tasks.  It’s casual, no need to get their direct attention, but they will hear your counting and indirectly learn that there is a real and practical purpose for counting.  This works even with groups of children.  Our oldest loves to count everything, and I see her little sisters counting along with her!
  2. Count with children when dressing. 1,2 feet in shoes.  1,2 legs in pants.  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 fingers in the gloves.  Later, counting can be done in skip.  How many legs in pants?  2,4,6,8.
  3. Cook! The mathematical benefits of cooking are outstanding.  Imagine having a hands-on lesson in fractions, measurement, temperature, and counting.
  4. Sort by shapes. There are wonderful puzzles and materials for this, but its also wonderful to use things in the child’s everyday environment.  My sandwich is triangle, and my tent is triangular.  My clock is a circle, the door knob is a circle.  Make a pile or collection of similar shapes, be active and have fun!
  5. Sort by size. The child’s ability to sort or grade items by size can help them compare quantities and measurements in later math work.
  6. Scavenger hunts. Please find me 4 napkins.  Please find me 15 acorns.  Opportunities for this are endless and can be personalize to a child’s unique interests!
  7. How many more? You can have 4 stickers, and you already have 2.  How many more?  This is a simple algebra problem, all during sticker fun.  The child doesn’t know it (and certainly doesn’t need to), but this is 4=2+x.  And it’s a word problem for math facts.
  8. Count snacks. Even while giving your little baby cheerios, 1,2,3,4,5!
  9. Read Road Signs. We are on route 1, 12 miles to route 6.  Lots of talk in the car about signs can help with numeral recognition and directionality.
  10. Keep a calendar. Not only is it useful for tracking the passage of time, but it can help a child learn what numbers will appear in the date next.  Counting down to a big day is great for learning numbers and building excitement.


Written by Jessie Beerman, M. Ed, from The Education of Ours,

a blog about Montessori Education for the home.

Jessie is a proud mom to three daughters, and a Montessori Teacher

who dabbles in writing, art, and yoga.





Monday 13th of June 2011

I try to do several of these with our daughter but the hard part is just remembering to do them. We counted out loud a lot but it seems like it's been a few weeks since we've done it regularly. Tonight we are getting back in the habit! I'm sharing this post with my readers. Thanks.

Lori@montessori MOMents

Tuesday 31st of May 2011

I love #6 and 7. You are always a wealth of knowledge. Thanks for the great ideas.