Once you have introduced quantities to your little one, you can move on to adding and subtracting and then get into some multiplication and division. Many parents teach their baby math using red dot cards. These can be purchased in a math kit from IAHP.org or you can do math with your baby right through your computer with a program called Little Math. Either one of these methods are excellent for teaching babies math.
In order to teach multiplication and division you just manipulate the quantities you have taught your baby to teach facts. For example, you can take your dots for six and your dots for four and tell your baby that six times four equals and then you show them the quantity for twenty-four.
You do the same thing to teach division. All that is required is to spend two weeks on each subject. Work on addition for two weeks, subtraction for two weeks, multiplication for two weeks and two more weeks for division. You should show your child a different equation each time. You are not trying to drill a particular fact into their head, you are just guiding them to understand how each of these properties of math work and they figure this out on their own.
If you need more guidance and information you should read How to Teach Your Baby Math by Glenn Doman.
Yesterday I posted about how you can introduce quantity to babies starting at birth. All you have to do is tell them the quantity of the items they see, and through repetition and exposure to quantities, babies can determine quantity without having to count items. It is pretty amazing to see.
Now let’s talk about how you can teach your baby to understand the language of mathematics a bit more through exposure to addition and subtraction. You can point out to your child how many items are present. If you add one more item, now you have a different quantity. You can do this while your child is eating in their highchair, using their finger food as manipulatives. You can also do this sitting on the floor as you play with toys blocks. Count the blocks, or just tell your child how many blocks there are. Now you set down one more and tell them how many you have now.
You can introduce your baby to adding and subtracting with real objects throughout the day. You can also use music to teach math facts. Babies can easily memorize all kinds of facts and that includes math facts. There are some good CD’s available that will teach your child to memorize the basic facts of addition and subtraction. You can turn these on for your baby while they play as background music and your baby will be learning math.
If you want to teach your baby the language of math, you can start at birth. All that is required is that you notice opportunities as they arise so you can incorporate math into your baby’s day. Math is really just a language and babies can master it and become fluent in this language. To begin, introduce your baby to quantities. It is much more important that your baby can comprehend quantities than recognize numerals. This is very important. Babies have the ability to recognize quantity if they are introduced before they are around 30 months old, or 2 1/2 years old.
In order to teach your baby to recognize quantity, set out items and tell your baby how many there are. You can do this with blocks, toys, raisins, or Cheerios. When your baby is sitting in the highchair. Place items on the tray and tell your baby how that this is one, and this is four, and so on.
You do not have to teach the quantities in order, although you can do that the first time you introduce them to your baby. By telling your baby the amounts of items, your baby will develop the ability to recognize quantity without having to count. When they hear the number eight, they will view it as eight items. This opens all kinds of possibilities for your child to master other areas of math such as adding and subtracting. I will discuss that in my next post.
Babies have the ability to learn true quantity beginning at around 3 months of age. They lose this ability somewhere around 2 1/2 years old. I have tried to teach my babies true quantity, addition, subtraction, and division. I was really consistent for a period of time, but I tend to be more dedicated to the reading programs.
That being said, it is really easy to teach babies math on a daily basis. I have a CD that teaches basic addition through song. I got this for my older children, but the babies seem to learn whatever the older children are doing anyway. I sing a simple addition song to my children. It goes like this:
1+1 is 2
2+2 is 4
3+3 is 6
and so on. It goes up to 10+10 is 20. The fascinating part of this is that I can ask my child what 8+8 is, and they will quickly say 16.
I took this a step further just last week. I asked my daughter if she wants to play M&M math. I sing the adding song to her and demonstrate the quantities with candy. Then I teach her subtraction and she gets to eat them. We start with 10-1, then she eats one and we determine that there are 9 left. This is fun and interactive way to expose toddlers to math. For people who are more health conscious, they can use raisins.