Guide to Math Homeschool Materials for Preschoolers

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I’m often asked about the math homeschool materials we used at home (for preschoolers), so I made this list and hope it will serve as your guide in finding the right educational materials in your homeschool or classroom adventure.  I believe that we need to expose our kids to math early on by giving them the appropriate learning materials to explore and discover.  These materials will introduce your child to nine major math concepts:  numbers and quantity, shapes and patterns, picture graphs, length, time, money, fractions, mass and volume.
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NUMBERS AND COUNTERS
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We own most of the materials in the list and you’ve probably seen these in my posts.  Popular items often used are the counters and Montessori math materials.  These materials will introduce your child to the number symbols and quantity.


SHAPES AND PATTERNS
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Kids love shapes and learning of shapes can later on morph into patterning. These are beautiful learning materials to help your child in shape recognition (beginning of geometry), pattern skills, and abstract reasoning. 
  1. Translucent Geometric Shapes perfect for light table/pad


PICTURE GRAPHS
In our case, this is homemade. I’ve seen most of these in workbooks/worksheets and since I don’t want to give that to Vito yet, I made our own.  This is an important skill in  mathematics and should be introduced to a child early on in life to prepare him for future work on data gathering and assessment.  When I say introduce, give it in a form of play or hands-on activity that the child can enjoy. Take a look at some of the play based math activities in my blog below:

LENGTH
Another important skill that shouldn’t be missed!  My kids love using tape measures and I bought each one of them so they can do measuring activities on their own.  For Mavi, he loves to measure his height and furniture at home, and for Vito it is all “pretend”.  But you see, even if it’s just pretend, he is grasping the concept of “length” and the material that is used with it.  A sample of measuring activities can be found here.
  1. Tape measure (preschooler)
  2. Tape measure (gradeschool)


TIME
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Telling the time is essential as this is part of our daily life.  Kids see clocks or watches all the time and they are more curious about it especially when Moms and Dads are always talking about it.  My little Vito got exposed to the concept of time because of his brother, whenever I wake him up in the morning he’s saying “it’s 8 o’clock”.  He got even more interested with the clock when I bought Mavi a learning clock, thus I got him one too for exploration and familiarity. 

MONEY
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Money is just so easy to introduce. If you bring your kids to the grocery everyday, they will somehow grasp the concept of money by seeing you “pay” something in exchange for the goods you bring at home.  I think this is one of the best ways you can teach your kids about the concept.  Other than that, provide an opportunity for your child to play pretend like in a grocery shop.  My kids love it!  We have this fruit baskets from Learning Resources and has been used often times in play pretend. 
Here are some posts on learning about money:  Caps for Sale and Euro coins


FRACTIONS
We don’t do this often, but I did introduce this to Mavi early on but not to Vito yet.  You can check it here (How to Teach Fractions with Manipulatives).

MASS
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We have a weighing scale at home and the boys used it a lot in their play pretend games so Vito was introduced to the concept of heavy and light using this material months back.  Here are some of the materials you can use to help your kids explore this concept:
Check how we used our bucket balance in measuring the mass of an object.


VOLUME and CAPACITY
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Though this may sound “academic” but there are fun ways to introduce this concept of measuring liquid to your child by using any of these materials:
By the way these graduated cylinders can also be used by your child to practice pouring. And that’s about it!! Tell me what you think and if you have other suggestions I would love to hear from you through the comments section.

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