Children learn numbers to represent quantities and to solve quantitative problems. Some pre-skills needful for learning addition include counting, one-to-one correspondence, the concepts of part-while relationship, number bonds, and perhaps recognition of small quantities by sight and grouping objects together.

Learning how to add is an important milestone in a child’s math development. Children develop different strategies to learn how to add- like working with combining small quantities together, using concrete objects to help them count the total number and model approaches.

It is important that your child is ready for such addition concepts. Follow your child’s interest in numbers, and concretise the learning with pictures, visual aids and hands-on materials!

I knew my girl was ready when she came home one day and told me she wants to add using counters. I was delighted she initiated that! A good guess will be she has been using these Montessori materials in her preschool. Using concrete materials to learn is ingrained in them from early exposure to Montessori approach to learning. Visualising the addition process for a Montessori learner is effortless and engaging!

For this hands-on activity, you simply can gather some materials from home:
1. writing board or writing paper
2. Small objects like chips, counters, macaroni, poms poms, or pebbles.

3. Number dice or number spinners

To play this game, just ask your child to roll the dice or spin a number.

Represent the two numbers using the small objects.
Then model the process of addition by counting all the objects represented.

Complete the addition sentence by writing in the total quantity.

Some educational videos also make learning fun!

Learning how to add can be fun and interactive!!

# Chinese New Year Gold Coins

You can’t miss these glittery, gold coins during the Chinese New Year season! These gold coins are supposed to signify prosperity and good luck. My little one was drawn to these coins straighaway! Besides being a great chocolate treat, these coins can be used for learning in 5 great ways!

1. Counting Numbers

Simply use the coins for this Math Montessori idea! Teach your child how to count by using one to one correspondence according to the number cards shown!

2. Dollars and cents

Show the money equivalent by matching the dollar value with the right number of coins. This is a great to teach value of dollars and the different dollar denominations!

3. Creating shapes!

Get creative by making different shapes with the gold coins! Your imaginative little one may just surprise you with different shapes to make up a picture!

4. Letter shape and recognition

You can also create letter awareness by asking your little one to make different letters! This enhances your child’s letter recognition and interest in the alphabet. Along the way,you can also teach phonics sounds!

5. Comparison of quantity (more or less)

You can also use these beautiful coins for comparison of quantity! Simply stack up quantities like 3 coins and 8 coins and introduce concepts like ‘more’ or ‘less’ by asking your child to compare the different quantities. This helps your child to make visual discrimination of the different quantities.

# Goldilocks & Three Bears- Counting Bears

Learning Counting with little bears!

This is another extension activity based on the much-loved book “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

One of the main concepts we can draw from this story is the Math concept of quantity in counting. The number 3 is a repetitive number mentioned in the story- 3 bears, 3 bowls, 3 chairs and 3 beds. So to reinforce my girl’s counting skills, I came up with this simple thematic activity of having her to count bear biscuits on a number chart, and then having her to eat it all up upon completion of the activity!

To prepare the learning tray, simply print out or draw squares to represent the quantity for each number. The number chart aids the visualisation and comparison of the quantities for each consecutive number. You can get bear biscuits or any small treats for the little one to enjoy.

My little girl was really motivated to get started upon seeing her favourite snack! She placed the first bear biscuit on the chart with number one and I counted with her. She practiced her one-to-one correspondence skill by placing one biscuit one at a time as she counts. For young preschoolers who are beginning to count, you will have to model the counting with them. Over time, they will be able to assign one number to one object. This chart also aids their visual discrimination of the varying quantities, and concepts of more or less.

My little preschooler sure had a Beary good time with the little bears!

# 10 Fantastic Activity Ideas on Shapes!

We came up with a list of 10 wonderful activities to get your child excited about learning about shapes! Get ready to Shape-up!

For more detailed description of some of the activities, click on the titles.

1. Matching shapes with Velcro

Create this simple matching activity with velcro. Your child will love the hands-on experience of matching the shapes and learning about the names.

2. Making A Book Of Shapes

Create this little artbook by using sponge and paint to print on the shape stencils! Your child will love making her own book of shapes! She will be reading out the names of the shapes from her own book in no time!

3. Step on Shapes!

Print out shapes and paste them with tape on your floor. Play a little game with that! Read out the name of a shape and ask your child to step on it, put her nose on it, press on it, sit on it with each different shape being called out! You can also hand out the names of shapes on cards and ask your child to match it with the correct shape!

Your little kinesthetic learner will love this physical, fun activity!

4. Printing Shapes Using Play Blocks!

Do you have blocks at home? Try using them to print shapes on a carton box and create a masterpiece of shapes! They get to learn about shapes on different surface areas for each 3-Dimensional shape. It sharpens their observation skills for recognising shapes on objects.

5. Matching Shapes using Ice-cream Sticks on Ice-cube Trays

This is an extremely fun activity for my child to learn word recognition! You just need an ice-cube tray, ice-cream sticks and play dough and you are ready to go! Your preschooler will be occupied with this activity for many minutes!

Reading books is a marvelous way of introducing shapes to your child! There are many board books and picture books on shapes out in the bookstores and the public library! Check out our favourite titles below!

7. Toilet Paper Roll Printing

This activity is so fun and educational! Just create shapes like circle, oval, heart or triangle with the toilet paper rolls, put some paint and your preschooler will be very happy making shape prints all over a canvas or paper!

8. Scavenger Hunt!

Play this interactive game that will send your child seeking for shapes all over the house! Show your child or read out the name of a shape on a card, and ask your child to look around her room for the same shape. This sharpens her observations and heightens her awareness of shapes in her real environment!

9. Play Dough and Cookie Cutters!

Toddlers and preschoolers will never tire of playing with this malleable material! Just take some cookie cutters with different shapes, and they will be engrossed making the shapes, and learning about them!

10. Make you own Shape with Ice-cream Sticks!

Create opportunities for your child to create her own shape using ice-cream sticks! This open-ended construction activity will allow your child to play with shapes and familarise herself with properties of different shapes like the corners and the sides.

Well, have fun exploring about shapes with your little one! Make it fun and learning becomes effortless!

Children always have endless fun with playdough; squishing, rolling, kneading, pressing it. They can create anything out of their imagination, and the possibilities are limitless!

What children can learn from interacting with playdough:

1. Develops their fine motor skills like strengthening their small muscles

2. Nurtures their imagination for pretend play

3. Develops and reinforces their Math and language concepts

4. Playing play dough with siblings and friends enhances their social skills like sharing, taking turns and enjoying the contribution of ideas by others

To create our little play dough learning set about shapes, you will need:

1. Play dough ( bought or handmade)

2. Rolling pin

3. Cookie cutters/ bottle caps/ shape sorters

My girl used the rolling pin to flatten the dough with her favourite shade of pink. She used her muscle skills such as kneading the dough and pressing on the rolling pin and the cookie cutter. To extract the shape out, she had to manipulate her small fingers to slowly peel out the shape. All these work happen within the short process of creating the shapes.

Matching Shapes

After making shapes out of play dough, I asked her to match the shapes to ice-cream sticks with correct names. She was motivated to make more shapes to complete the matching activity!

Have lots of fun exploring shapes with play dough!

# Making a book of shapes!

We have been reading books on shapes and as an extension of the activities on shapes, I decided to help my girl create her own book of shapes.

Preparing the Materials

To create the book, I first cut out the stencils for the different shapes like circle, triangle, star, etc.

To make the template for the book, I simply folded three A4 papers into half, and stapled along the folded line.

Printing the shapes

To print the shape on each page, we used a sponge and dabbed some paint on the stencil. Then lift up the stencil and the shape is molded on the paper!

Once she mastered the technique of printing the shapes with her sponge, she was fully engaged printing each different shape for each page. This simple activity reinforced her concepts of shapes, and provided opportunities to train her hand-eye coordination when printing the shapes with paint. She also needed to have steady hands and concentration in order for her to print the shape out with precision.

This is the finished product of the learning process! My girl’s very own book of shapes compiled! She took so much pride in it that she read out her little book to her Daddy the moment he reached home. It was such a gratifying moment for me seeing my girl enjoying learning about shapes, and sharing the joy with others.

SNAP Game!

As for the stencils that were used after the art activity, you can reuse them to be like deck cards for a simple game of naming of the shapes! You can use it as a snap game!

Choose a shape, lay out the cards on a deck one by one, and ask your child to snap the correct shape!