We can count on you!

Happy National Mathematics Day and Pi Day. Today we celebrate all the ways math is a part of our daily lives.

By Candace Lindemann

Children's Author & Education Consultant

Candace Lindemann is a published children’s writer and educational consultant. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can also find Candace blogging at http://NaturallyEducational.com. While Candace’s degrees prepared her for a career in education, she’s found that the best preparation for parenting is on-the-job training.

Today, 3/14, is National Mathematics Day. It falls on 3/14 because 3.14 is the common approximation for Pi! Today is also Albert Einstein's birthday.

Even before birth, we are raising little mathletes. As they listen to the rhythm of mom's heartbeat, babies are picking up an innate sense of math. When you hold your infant and count his tiny toes, he soaks up basic math skills along with your love and attention.

Walking up and down the stairs, we count steps. We count our snacks, we count our toys, we count to the beat.

Just like with letters and words, we make numerical print a part of our environment. From house numbers to refrigerator numbers to phones to clocks, we point out the numbers we see every day. 

A toy phone, like the popular Chat & Count Cell Phone, is a fun early math toy for toddlers. We name each number as my tot presses it. Games that appear with each number reinforce number recognition. Then, we try to press the numbers in order, practicing our counting. As the children enter the preschool years, they learn to dial our home phone number.

Moving into those pre-kindergarten years, blocks and giant dice are math manipulatives that introduce measuring, addition, subtraction, and eventually multiplication and division. Always we play with numbers, dividing up cookies for all to share to learn fractions, playing board games with dice, skip counting snacks, measuring everything with tape measures, and pretending to be customers and storekeepers and making change.

When children discover the importance of math through play, they will be eager to learn more!