Mathematics helps children make sense of the world around them and find meaning in the physical world. Through mathematics, children learn to understand their world in terms of numbers and shapes. They learn to reason, to connect ideas and to think logically.
As a parent, you don't have to "teach" your child facts or math rules or even organize her mathematical learning. Just take advantage of learning opportunities that happen naturally. You can turn these times into teachable moments. When you use daily events that have meaning to your child, the impact is very powerful.
For example, when reading a picture book with your young child, you can ask him questions such as how many objects (e.g., animals) he sees on the page. You can also begin to play basic math games with your child, such as having him identify all of the circles or other shapes he sees in the room; counting to ten or more; or placing several objects in order from smallest to largest.
You should understand that young children solve problems differently than adults. Take for example a problem that asks which of two different-sized baskets contains more apples. Your child may, at first glance, answer that the larger basket has more apples. While this is not an uncommon response for children at this age, you can provide some gentle guidance and encouragement to help her learn that the apples inside each basket must be counted to determine which one has more. Solving these and other early math problems will come more naturally to her as she develops.