Teaching Simple Math to a Preschooler

I’ve started doing some more structured purposeful schooling with Tara recently and wanted to share an easy way to begin teaching basic math skills (oh, and a plethora of others!).  This is actually something that I began doing a long time ago, because there are so many opportunities to teach while at home!basic math skills in the kitchenThere is something about helping mama in the kitchen that is fun and exciting to small children.  Rather than seeing it as an inconvenience, we should be excited about the opportunity to teach several different things:

1.  Quality time together is more important than doing things exactly right or by a mama’s rigid schedule

2.  Basic cooking skills

3.  Basic math skills

4.  Knowledge about our senses

5.  Science at work!

6.  Self-control (a biggie!)

7.  Service to others is one of the most valuable ways we can spend our time

I’m sure there are more to add to the list, but that’s a good enough start, eh?

Tara loves to measure things.  Whenever she sees me working in the kitchen, if I haven’t already invited her to do so, she asks if she can help me measure.  While I haven’t bothered teaching her which measuring spoon or cup is which yet, she understands when I instruct her on how many spoonfuls or cupfuls need to be added to the bowl.

While I’m at it, I need to encourage you to let go of any expectations to maintain a clean kitchen when your child is helping.  At least in my house, it’s next to impossible.  But that’s okay!  The point is to involve them, to teach, and to have fun!  Tara is just as eager to help do the dishes as she is to help me measure.  It’s not convenient to let a child help…but it is rewarding on many levels.  Here are a few ideas of how you can help teach your child basic math in the kitchen:

-Instruct them on how many eggs you need cracked into a mixing bowl…and then let them do it (teach ‘em how to do it first!).  This is Tara’s favorite activity.  It’s actually nice, too, because I can be busy accomplishing other tasks.  I put a little too much trust in her one day and even exclaimed to her how nice it was to have her help in the kitchen so I could be working on other things.  When I came back to check her progress, she cracked all but one of a dozen eggs, when I needed only 6.  Oh well!  We enjoyed LOTS of eggs for dinner that night.  :)

-Let them measure spices, flour, or other measurable ingredients (with help!).  The point here is to keep track and count how many spoons or cups of each ingredient is needed.

-Allow child to gather silverware, napkins, etc…to set the table.  Help them think of how many people will be at the table and therefore, how many of each utensil will be necessary.

Even if your child is too small to grasp these things, just letting them climb on a chair and watch while you tell them what you are doing is a great opportunity to begin educating them!  And they are able to grasp many concepts other than math, so take advantage of their spongy little brains, even if it seems they might not be grasping anything!

Do you let your kids help you in the kitchen?  If so, what does this look like?

This post is part of Mommy & Me Monday hosted by Happy Brown House.

Happy Brown House

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6 Responses to Teaching Simple Math to a Preschooler

  1. Sara says:

    Thanks for linking up Kelly! Tara is getting so big! Seems like the only way I can get things done in the kitchen these days is to let Jonah help. It changes his whole demeanor on days he wakes up grumpy from a nap…and encourages him to eat dinner since he helped make it!

  2. Kelly @ Domestic by Design says:

    It’s so nice that they are old enough to help! And fun, too!

  3. Shonda says:

    What great ideas! I will need to implement these with my son.

  4. Kelly @ Domestic by Design says:

    Thanks! It’s such a fun age and there are so many ways to involve them AND teach!

  5. Lisa says:

    I use lots of cooking activities when working with my toddlers at school – I let them choose what color we’ll make something with food coloring (even if it turns out looking kind of yucky), and help them to understand turn-taking (ok, your turn now, then Buddy’s, then Margie’s), and lots more! Kids really attend for longer periods of time when they’re involved in a fun cooking activity!

  6. Kelly @ Domestic by Design says:

    It’s really good learning for me, too! I am learning a lot about being patient and just having fun, regardless of the mess, added time…I want to make it fun!