Matching and sorting objects into various categories is a necessary skill for numeracy. Parents of pre-school children can help them become familiar with these concepts through playful interaction with familiar objects in their environment.
Going to primary school is a big occasion in the life of any pre-school child. He or she will look forward with excitement and perhaps a little trepidation to walking into that classroom. There will be lots to learn and pre-school preparation can make the child's first formal educational experiences happy and successful ones.
Pre-schoolers will be taught how to observe, differentiate, sort and match various objects. These skills are essential for learning the causes and effects of manipulating numbers.
Parents can prepare their children for these concepts. They can start with simple things such as sorting toys into groups. For example, soft toys can be selected from an assortment of toys of various textures. Wheeled toys can be sorted into cars, trucks and wagons. Children can also be asked to sort toys into groups of the same colour. Books can be sorted and arranged according to size.
Laundry day is a great opportunity to play at sorting and matching. Children can be encouraged to pair socks of different colours or separate dresses from skirts or shorts from tee shirts. They can also be encouraged to separate clothes into piles of similar colours.
Packing away the shopping is another opportunity to teach pre-schoolers how to sort and match. They can sort big packets from small packets and large tins from small tins. Cartons of fruit juice can be matched using the pictures on the packaging. Children can also separate the fruit from the vegetables if they are given very obvious ones such as bananas and grapes and potatoes and onions.
Young children can be asked to help at mealtimes by laying the table. They can be asked to pair knives and forks before putting them on the table. They can also pair a cup with a saucer for each place setting. Pre-schoolers can be asked to sort the cutlery after the washing up has been done, ready to go into the cutlery drawer.
Parents can put a variety of items together and ask their pre-school child to find one object with more than one attribute from among them. For example, a child can be asked to find the small yellow ball or find the big wooden car.
Bathtime can be made even more fun if the child is encouraged to experiment with a handful of objects to sort those that float from those that sink.
These tasks should be made into games as much as possible. Children learn faster when they are playing and this will make learning fun for both parent and child.
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