Teaching Mathematics To Young Children Through Play
Mathematics as most of us will agree is not an easy subject hence a skill to develop. It requires rigorous step by step training and it entails tons of patience memorizing the procedures in solving mathematical problems. We tend to classify it as a “difficult” thing to learn that as if it is impossible to master the craft. But did we ever think of the reasons how young children learn the process at an early stage? Salute to those parents and teachers who work hand in hand in helping and training their children. Taking a closer look at children, mostly their primary and even sole source of joy is to play and have fun about everything around them. They are not really conscious of the things that they have to learn at a young age. It is indeed quite tedious to make them learn, specifically mathematics, for they are only after the “play” time.
But what if we integrate the teaching of mathematics in playing? Would it be an effective strategy to help these children develop their mathematical skills at an early age? It would definitely be a big help! In fact, a number of studies show that the integration of both concepts (mathematics and playing) leads to a positive view of children into the subjects and active participation. It is actually considered as the best age for children to learn mathematics at this young age for it is the time where their brain is actively and rapidly developing. A knowledge of mathematics in young age facilitates critical thinking as well as reasoning skills early and it is the key to the foundation of success in the formal years of schooling.
Jean Piaget, a well-known developmental psychologist stated that the more senses are involved in an activity, the more meaningful and lasting the learning process is. We all know that in playing, children are actively participating and performing different roles that allow them to use their different senses. So the inculcation of Mathematics in playing is also a way of making them play and learn meaningfully at the same time. So what exact plays or games can we use to facilitate learning mathematics?
One play strategy that we can use in teaching the children mathematics is the “Store Game”. We can prepare different objects like fruits and colorful objects as grocery items as well as paper money or chips that will serve as money. We will pretend to be clients and we will ask the children to be the cashier who will see a number of our goods, receive our payment, and think rationally of the change to be given. This strategy enables them to practice their mathematical skills and at the same time enjoy being a mini-worker at the same time. Another strategy which may be used is the “Hide-n-Seek”, have a turn taking of roles and make sure to pronounce the counting of one to ten clearly. Then when it is the turn of the children to count, ask them to make it louder. Asking them to recite the numbers is a one way of making them memorize the proper sequence.
We all look forward to the betterment of learning of the young children of this generation. We all want them to be ready and prepared for all the things that the future holds for them and one way of making sure that they get it right is through the practice of the variety of skills which includes mathematical skills. Through the integration of mathematics in playing, children now are assured of a fun, enjoyable, yet learning-filled experience.