—Don't teach your toddler to count solely by reciting numbers. Attach numbers to a noun — "Here are five crayons: One crayon, two crayons..." or say "I need to buy two yogurts" as you pick them from the store shelf — so they'll absorb the quantity concept.
—Talk about distance: How many steps to your ball? The swing is farther away; it takes more steps.
—Describe shapes: The ellipse is round like a circle but flatter.
—As they grow, show children how math is part of daily life, as you make change, or measure ingredients, or decide how soon to leave for a destination 10 miles away,
"We should be talking to our children about magnitude, numbers, distance, shapes as soon as they're born," she contends. "More than likely, this is a positive influence on their brain function."
EDITOR'S NOTE — Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.
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