Math Readiness

Most parents believe that their child’s math skills are developed at school, but research indicates that parents and children talking about numbers can have a good impact on a child’s math ability through at least 5th grade. “Number talk” includes activities such as rote counting (counting “one, two, three, four,” as when playing hide and seek), counting tangible objects such as Cheerios (“one, two, three, four Cheerios”), and labeling the number of items in a set (“there are four Cheerios”).  There are simple things that parents and caregivers can do to help preschoolers learn about numbers and prepare for kindergarten math:

  • Ask children to count objects they can touch, such as Cheerios, pieces of cheese, or blocks, and objects they can see, like pictures of dogs on a page of the book Go, Dog. Go!
  • Label the number of items in sets of objects children use throughout the day.  For example, “You have six crayons.”
  • When counting tangible objects, label the number of items in the set, too, to point children toward the crux of the cardinal principle—that the last number counted represents the entire set of objects.  For example, “one, two, three, four crackers; you have four crackers.”

Other Basic Pre-Kindergarten Math Skills:

  • Recognizes/points to/identifies basic shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle)
  • Can sort items into categories
  • Identifies, either verbally or by pointing to, the colors of crayons in the 8-count box (black, blue, brown, green, orange, red, purple, yellow)


Here is a great article on making math part of every day experiences:


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