The more "automatic" your child can be with basic math facts, the more he or she will be able to easily recall them. This recall can then be applied to more difficult math calculations. In education, we call this math "automaticity."
Here are two simple ways to help your young child increase their math automaticity.
- Start this activity using one die from a pair of dice. Directions: Have your child roll the die, count the dots, and tell you the number. Then ask, "What is the number that comes right before? What is the number that comes right after?" This game should be played for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Revisit the game often, eventually using up to four dice. You will be able to tell when to use additional dice by the ease of your child’s answers.
When you use two dice, add the dots for the total number then have your child tell you the number that comes before and after. Using dice (two or more) involves addition, as well as number sequence. This practice helps your child know sequential numbers without having to go back and count, or use a number chart.
- Young children love knowing "tricks." I taught my own children and my students the "1’s" trick and the "0’s" trick. Simply put, the one’s trick means when you plus one (+ 1) the answer is always the number that comes right after, or next. (For example (5+1=6) When you minus one (-1) the answer is always the number that comes just before. (5-1=4)
The zero "trick" is that when you plus (+) or minus (-) zero the other number in the equation always stays the same.
Simple games like these make learning math facts fun!