Children are using early math skills throughout their daily routines and activities.  This is good news as these skills are important for being ready for school, but early math doesn’t mean taking out the calculator during playtime.  Even before they start school, most children develop an understanding of addition and subtraction through everyday interactions.  For example: Thomas has two cars; Joseph wants one.  After Thomas shares one, he sees that he has one car left (Bowman B. T. et al., 2001, p. 201).  Other math skills are introduced through daily routines you share with your child—counting steps as you go up or down, for example.  Informal activities like this one give children a jumpstart on the formal math instruction that starts in school.


  • Understanding size, shape and patterns.

  • Ability to count verbally (first forward; then backward).

  • Recognizing numerals.

  • Identifying more and less of a quantity.

  • Understanding one-to-one correspondence (i.e., matching sets or knowing which group has four and which has five).