Eye love math

Why visual skills are a must for math success - and how you can help.

Learning Stages

By Dr. Lauren Bradway


Dr. Lauren Bradway is the author of How to Maximize Your Child's Learning Ability (Square One Publishers, 2003). She consults online with parents regarding their child's learning style at www.helpingchildrengrow.com.

According to Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, children with logical-mathematical intelligence have well-developed visual skills. They complete arithmetic problems quickly in their head, easily develop computer skills and win at games that require a visual strategy like checkers and chess.

Gardner and other researchers strongly suggest that well-developed visual skills are a prerequisite for success in math. Even though your child may not be a "natural" when it comes to using inner vision, you can help her develop the ability using these suggestions.

Preschool through kindergarten

  • Take your child for a walk around the block. When you return, ask her to eyes close her eyes and recall details from your walk: What was the color of the bird we saw in our neighbor's birdbath? Was the mail carrier wearing a hat?
  • Make a game of scribbling on blank paper, and then examining the results for hidden pictures. Take turns pointing out what you see in each other's creations.
  • Have a tea party with entirely imaginary food. In this way, you encourage your child to rely on her visual imagination. With plastic foods, a child is still relying on outer vision rather than developing an inner one.
  • Make it a family practice to share last night's dreams over breakfast.