by Kathryn Hatter

Because math concepts build on a foundation of addition and subtraction, it’s important to start with the basics and move forward from there. Give your child a start in math by exploring fundamentals such as simple addition. Math activities that focus on addition can be both educational and entertaining.

Practice counting and recognizing numbers with your child so he has a firm grasp of numbers. By the time a child begins school, he should recognize numbers up to 10 and he should count to 20, according to a pamphlet published by the Jefferson County Public School District in Louisville, Kentucky.

Place counters or blocks into sets to illustrate simple addition, suggests educators Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts, with the Family Education website. For example, you might place two counters together as one set and three counters together as another set. Ask your child to tell you how many counters she would have if she combined the sets. Help her count the items, if necessary, so she can see that combining the sets would make five counters altogether.

Tell your child a simple story and ask him to illustrate it. For example, you might say, one mouse lived under the stairs all alone. Two new mice moved in. How many mice live together now? Have your child draw one mouse as a set and two mice as a set. Help him count the mice altogether to see that adding the two sets together would equal three. Ask him to draw the three mice living together happily.

Write an addition sentence below the picture to introduce your child to the concept of a number sentence. Place the number one below the one-mouse set and the number two below the two-mice set. Place a plus sign between the numbers, an equal sign after the numbers and then write the number three as the sum of the numbers below the picture of the three mice.

Practice addition as often as possible so your child becomes comfortable with the concept. For example, in the grocery store, add apples together in the produce section and at home, add books together as you put them away on the bookshelf.

#### Items you will need

• Math manipulatives (counters or blocks)
• Paper
• Crayons