This guest blog by Amy Tanner, professor of mathematics education at Brigham Young University and founder of The Kids’ Quadrant website, suggests ways to engage all children in early math learning.

Key Points:

  • There are ways to make math engagement meaningful and positive for all children.
  • Math is full of opportunities for creativity and storytelling.
  • Showing interest in children’s thinking supports their early math development.

My two children are very different and have been from the moment they were born. They have different food preferences, different fears, and different ways of showing affection. They also have very different interests: One…


By Jenny Yun-Chen Chan, Michèle Mazzocco, and Megan Onesti

Key Points:

  • Math is “hiding” in many everyday family activities (we offer tips for finding it).
  • Parents and caregivers support their children’s math development when they notice and talk about math in their daily routines.
  • Deepen children’s math thinking by expanding comments and asking questions.

There are many opportunities in daily life to encourage young children to think mathematically. These early math learning opportunities can be informal and playful additions to family routines. …


By Christina Mulcahy, Julia Ratchford, Crystal Day-Hess, and Douglas H. Clements

Key Points:

  • Don’t Burn Your Feet is a playful way for children to learn about shapes while also moving their bodies.
  • Building knowledge around shape concepts involves more than just knowing the names of familiar shapes.
  • This game can be adapted so children can practice and develop their shape knowledge.

How to Play

Don’t Burn Your Feet will get your child jumping around — inside or out — while exploring shape concepts. You can download the instructions and ideas for making this activity easier or harder here or at the end of…


By Cristina Carrazza, Michelle Hurst, and Susan Levine

Key Points:

  • Children develop attitudes toward math through their interactions with parents and caregivers.
  • Positive math attitudes support children’s interest in math learning.
  • There are simple strategies that families can use to promote positive math attitudes.

Exploring math together as a family supports children’s early math development. But the learning goes beyond just the math content. The messages that parents and caregivers send to their children while engaging in math also shape the way that children think about math. …


By Claudia Kruzik, Emily McDowell, and Eric Dearing

Key Points:

  • Many family routines, from setting the table to reading books, offer opportunities to learn early math.
  • Family math is parents, caregivers, and young children exploring math together.
  • Videos that showcase families engaging in early math learning can be useful to anyone interested in supporting family math.

“Bravo!” Albertina declares, cheering on her young son, Angel, who has correctly picked the sock that comes next in a pattern they are creating with laundry. They sit side-by-side, grabbing black and white socks from a basket and working together. …


by Colleen Oppenzato

Key Points:

  • Understanding how children think can play an important role in promoting early math development.
  • Videos that explain children’s thinking are useful for everyone who is interested in supporting early math teaching and learning.
  • DREME developed a set of free video resources that explore children’s thinking around key early math concepts (links to the videos are at the end of this blog post).

A young child, Jennifer, is asked to solve a story problem. The rabbit has 3 carrots and the squirrel has 4 carrots. How many carrots do they have all together? Jennifer answers 6…


By Christina Mulcahy, Julia Ratchford, and Douglas Clements

Key Points:

  • Magician’s Tricks is a fun game for families that helps young children learn and practice counting skills and number relationships.
  • Counting involves many different concepts and skills.
  • Magician’s Tricks can be personalized to help your child practice their counting skills and develop new ones.

About the Game

In Magician’s Tricks, your child will use magic to figure out what number is on hidden cards that the other player picks. (The magic consists of clever counting!) All you need to play are some numbered cards, which makes this game easy to play anywhere you need to…


By Deborah Stipek

Key Points:

  • Apps can be a tool for learning early math concepts.
  • Some apps are more likely to support high-quality early math learning — and there are ways to tell the difference.
  • Most important is how children respond while using the app.

Whether children are attending preschool, in child care, or home with their primary caregivers, opportunities to develop math skills while having fun can be enhanced by early math learning apps. The problem is that there are too many! And they vary greatly in quality and the likelihood of actually supporting children’s learning. …


By Sarah Eason and Susan Levine

Key Points:

  • Efforts to encourage young children’s learning about math at home have been gaining momentum. These efforts are part of an emerging field called family math.
  • Parent and caregiver attitudes and beliefs about math are important to consider when developing family math programs.
  • Research must recognize social and cultural differences in how families engage in math.

Research has shown that early math skills prepare young children for success in school and in life. Research has also shown that, concerningly, gaps in children’s math knowledge can start as early as preschool. A number of…


By Crystal Day-Hess, Douglas H. Clements, and Julie Sarama, University of Denver

Key Takeaways:

  • Small changes to classroom calendar activities can boost children’s early math learning–we offer inspiration!
  • It’s best to keep calendar activities short. It’s also OK not to do calendar activities at all.
  • Linear calendars can help young children learn about concepts such as time in a more natural way.

Many early childhood classrooms, especially preschool and kindergarten classrooms, feature a calendar as an activity to teach mathematics and sometimes other subjects (e.g., weather or days of the week). …

DREME Network

A network of scholars in early math education, conducting research & developing materials to promote young children’s math learning. https://dreme.stanford.edu

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