Through games and homework, parents can teach their children basic math skills, such as counting, some geometry, and algebraic thinking.

Parents play a fundamental role in their
children's early mathematics teaching: they can not only provide toys and
entertainment related to mathematics, but they can become the model that
demonstrates how they apply to everyday activities.

Children who see their parents applying mathematics every
day participate more often in activities related to this discipline. This, in
turn, helps to form early
mathematical skills, which serve as the basis for further learning.

As researchers who analyze the mathematical development of
children, we believe that there are five skills that children should have
before school age. Opportunities to learn these skills are everywhere, and
there are simple and enjoyable activities that can help parents foster these
skills.

This will help children acquire the vocabulary and skills
necessary to learn math at their age, keeping them busy and at the same time
fun.

### 1. Counting and numerical value

According to the criteria
for studying a university career or exercising a profession in the USA state,
Maryland, children are expected to demonstrate simple counting skills
before starting in kindergarten. These skills include counting to 20; order
numbered cards; identity without counting how many elements are in a small set,
and understand that quantity does not change regardless of how a set of
elements is organized.

Children also need to learn the numerical value of a set.
That means they must understand that the last element counted represents the
number of elements in the set.

In everyday activities, they can also be taught to count and
the meaning of numerical value. Children can count their toys while picking
them up or how many steps there are from the kitchen to their room. Parents can
point numbers on a clock or on the phone.

In the same way, at the supermarket, parents can ask them to
find numbers while shopping. In the car, parents can teach them to read the
numbers on the license plates or count the cars that pass. Then, parents should
ask: "How many cars have passed?" To reinforce the idea of
numerical value.

Board games are useful and fun tools to improve counting
ability and numerical value. Have the children identify the number on the dice
when it is their turn and count aloud when they move their token. Active games
that involve counting out loud - like jumping rope hopscotch play, or clapping
- also encourage these skills.

### 2. Operations and algebraic thinking

Preschool children are expected to solve simple addition and
subtraction problems using objects.

Parents can get children to solve simple math problems
during daily tasks. For example, they can ask them to calculate the correct
number of dishes or utensils when they help set the table for dinner. Remember
that the mathematical language that children listen to is fundamental. Parents
may ask for example: "How many more dishes do we need?"

During the game, parents can use toys and say things like:
"I'm going to give you one of my cars. Let's count how many cars you have
now." Children's songs that include counting up or down, such as Five in
the Bed or Teasing Mr. Crocodile, can also be useful for teaching how to add
and subtract at an early age.

### 3. Numbers and operations based on 10

Children should begin to understand that the number
"ten" is composed of 10 elements of "one."

Counting fingers and toes is an excellent way to emphasize
numbers from one to 10. Money, coins, in particular, is another way to
emphasize counting to 10. Parents can play in the store with their children
using coins and having them "buy" toys for different amounts of
pennies. During the game, they could determine how many toys they can buy with
10 cents.

### 4. Measurements and data

Kindergarteners are expected to classify objects by their
characteristics - such as shape, color, and size - or identify the
characteristic by which the objects were ordered. They are also expected to
order objects by some characteristic that can be measured, such as from highest
to lowest.

In the kitchen, children can start experimenting with
measurements using spoons or cups. Children can order utensils, clothes, or
toys while storing them. Card and dice games, like War, are useful for talking
about numerical magnitude. In addition, several ranking games that are cheap,
such as Ready Sets Go or Ready Set Woof, are available in stores.

In addition, kindergarten children should have the ability
to compare objects and know the meaning of more or less, longer or shorter, and
heavier or lighter. Parents can help them understand the use of these words to
give them the concept of comparisons. When children help with household chores,
parents can ask, for example, "Can you give me the biggest source?";
or "Can you place the smaller forks on the table?"

### 5. Geometry

Early geometric skills include naming and identifying
two-dimensional (2D) shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles. Children
should also realize that shapes of different sizes, orientations, and
dimensions are similar. Children should be able to recognize that a circle is
like a sphere and use informal names like "box" and "ball"
to identify three-dimensional objects.

Parents can draw children's attention to the geometric
figures that are in their environment. On a walk, parents can point out that
the wheels are circles and then have the children find other circles around
them. Commercially available games such as Perfection can help
children learn to identify simple or more complex ways. Puzzles, cubes, and
Legos are another excellent way to help develop early geometric skills.

## COMMENTS