You can think about early mathematical learning like the foundation of a home. It needs to be strong enough to support the rest of the house. Similarly, foundational math skills are a critical step in learning for all children. Observational skills are one of the building blocks in the mathematical foundation. Children enjoy looking at the world around them and being able to use their senses in order to describe what they see, feel, hear, taste and smell. This may seem like an easy task, but it requires a great deal of thought. When observing an object children are required to slow down and focus on an object. They concentrate on what they are looking at in order to make connections between what they know about the world and what they are seeing. Then, they use their communication skills to describe the object. Here are some strategies that you can use with your child to help develop these observational skills:
Once your child has developed strong observational skills, they will be able to match objects that have the same attributes. This skill requires that they are able to carefully look at something and decide if it is exactly the same. Again, this may seem like a simple task, but it actually requires a great deal of concentration for a developing brain. In the case of matching objects that are the same, they need to be able to use their working memory to hold onto an image in their brain as they compare it to a different picture or object. Internally, children are using reasoning skills to decide which objects or pictures are the same and why. This process allows children to think while playing and they will later transfer these skills to other activities and learning opportunities.
Kids Academy offers activities that will support your child in the development of these important matching skills. Here is a great video to introduce children to the concepts of same and different:
This fun matching activity below will have your child using a variety of thinking skills in order to compare gloves in order to find an exactly matching pair! Encourage your child to talk about why each pair is an exact match as they complete this activity.
Sail away with this super fun activity that requires your child to observe the sail of a sailboat and then discriminate between three different boats to find a boat with a matching sail!
Matching skills provide your child with an opportunity to look closely at objects in their world and make observations. These seemingly naturally occurring processes are actually built through activities and experiences. Our resource catalogue is a helpful tool for finding more activities that will encourage your child’s development and growth.
By: Nora Brown
Elementary School Teacher