How to Promote Math Skills in Children
Mathematics has a deep relationship with the environment that surrounds us. Therefore, it is important to stimulate and promote math skills in children.
What benefits are obtained from this? And how can it be achieved?
What is mathematics?
Math is the study of the properties of numbers, in addition to the relationships that exist between them.
Now, in the case of mathematical competence, the definition is different. What does this expression refer to?
Concept of mathematical competence
Mathematical competence combines the ability to use numbers and the basic operations that can be performed between them for the purpose of interpreting different types of information. This helps us tackle and resolve the constant problems currently facing the world.
Promoting mathematical competence in children is beneficial for their learning. In short, mathematical competence combines mathematics with real-world problem solving. In other words:
The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.
From the beginning of humanity, we’ve had the need to measure or identify everything that surrounds us. In fact, the progress of mathematical competence and human civilization has gone hand in hand. Therefore, it is essential to stimulate and promote math skills in children.
Aspects that are part of math skills
- The ability to interpret the information or data of elements that surround us.
- Management of basic mathematical elements (measurements, geometric elements, etc.) in daily life.
- Reasoning processes that solve problems in different contexts.
The importance of stimulating math skills in children
In itself, logical-mathematical thinking is fundamental, since it involves the understanding of abstract concepts, in addition to aiding in the understanding of various relationships.
These skills contribute to a person’s ability to enjoy a healthy development, which promotes the successful achievement of goals.
Intelligence is also developed when solving problems, in addition to a sense of order in the decisions or actions to be taken. Finally, it establishes relationships between different concepts and promotes planning with respect to the desired goals.
Ways to promote math skills in children
It should be noted that when stimulating mathematical competence in children, the child’s age must be taken into account to make it appropriate and to respect the pace of the child.
Here are some ways to do it:
1. Self experimentation
Allow children to experiment with different objects. This way, they’ll realize their characteristics, establishing differences and similarities. Reasoning is stimulated this way.
2. Planning logistics activities
Propose various activities that involve classifying, comparing or identifying different objects. The relationship between objects is promoted this way.
3. Teach the causes and effects of actions and use observation
Children must be taught that the decisions they make in daily life have consequences and effects. With this, deductive reasoning is promoted for problem solving.
Observation should be used in different scenarios in order to obtain a better understanding of the surrounding environment when related to mathematical operations.
4. Use games to help approach problems
You can take advantage of various games that stimulate the development of thought, such as riddles, sudoku and card games. Raise problems that require mental effort from children.
You must take into account their age when doing this, because they will be discouraged and give up if the problem is too complex for them.
5. Motivate them to reflect and ask questions
Children should be encouraged to reflect on certain things in everyday life, including things that seem inexplicable, and then play with them to find a logical explanation.
Ask questions to help them imagine possibilities. For example, you can use questions like: “What would you do if…?”
6. Let them tackle math problems
Faced with a mathematical problem, children can be given a guide or a way to solve it, but they must let themselves find the solution. On the other hand, they can be encouraged to use and manipulate quantities. For example, you can encourage them to compare product prices.
Benefits of stimulating math skills in children
What are the benefits obtained from stimulating math skills in children?
- Performing mathematical activities without using a pencil and paper stimulates attention and concentration skills.
- According to experts, it provides versatility and independence in problem solving.
- It helps them reflect before making decisions.
It contributes to the development of analytical thinking and encourages wisdom
Analysis involves breaking down different arguments, analyzing them and reaching a conclusion. In this way, the understanding of an issue or topic is greatly improved.
Thanks to analytical thinking, the ability to investigate is also developed, which helps one determine the truth or facts. This contributes to the child’s ability to not be manipulated or cheated in the future.
On the other hand, they develop wisdom, which is the ability to know how to apply the knowledge they have acquired, since mathematical competence is related to other sciences, such as technology.
It keeps the mind agile
Mathematical competence contributes to a greater understanding of diverse issues, because mathematics itself explains how things work.
This facilitates communication thanks to the fact that, through greater understanding, the expression of coherent, clear and precise thoughts is favored.
Having strong math skills also speeds up the mind, since everyday life is made up of confrontations to situations that require decisions and choices to be made, a fact that children cannot escape.
And on many occasions, there is more than one way to solve a problem. For all these reasons, it’s necessary and very beneficial to promote math skills in children.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- León Chero, V., Lucano Fernández, V., & Oliva Chinga, J. D. D. (2014). Elaboración y aplicación de un programa de estimulación de la competencia matemática para niños de primer grado de un colegio nacional. http://tesis.pucp.edu.pe/repositorio/handle/20.500.12404/5702
- Betín Canole, L. M. Estrategias didácticas para estimular las competencias matemáticas en niños de transición del colegio Jean Piaget en Chinú, Córdoba. https://repository.usta.edu.co/handle/11634/16101
- Padilla, M. E. O. (2009). Competencia matemática en niños en edad preescolar. Psicogente, 12(22). http://revistas.unisimon.edu.co/index.php/psicogente/article/view/1173
- Zabala, J. M. G. (2008). 3-2 Ideas clave. El desarrollo de la competencia matemática (Vol. 7). Graó.