Vacancy Care's April Newsletter

April 2022


Happy Easter! Hello everyone, welcome to our April newsletter! As always, we provide an overview of what is happening within our childcare community. This month we will focus on how to incorporate math into everyday life and cultivate young children’s appreciation for math.

Topic of the month - Incorporating math into everyday life for young children

When you were a child, was math your most favorite or least liked subject in school? Is it the same for your child? While some children may seem to have a strong dislike for certain subjects, sometimes it is the way it is taught which influences their like or dislike of a subject, not its subject matter. And as mathematics transitions into an abstract concept, it can sometimes be a much harder subject for young children to grasp.

However, certain teaching techniques and grounding in ordinary experiences can help open a child’s mind to the mathematical experiences she/he encounters everyday and make it a learning opportunity to appreciate how math is used and helpful in enriching our lives. 

Uncovering learning opportunities

To help a child master basic numeracy skills such as identifying numbers, counting, and performing basic mathematical calculations such as addition and subtraction, primary educators such as parents and early learning childhood educators can repeatedly ask questions that use basic mathematical concepts such as counting, comparing, and measuring.

Questions like:

  • How many cupcakes do you see?

  • How many classmates do you have?

  • Who is taller between or among your friends?

  • Which is the bigger box?

  • How many cups of flour does one need for a pancake?

  • Who got the most number of Easter eggs?

  • How many colours of Easter eggs are in your basket?

These questions help make mathematics and mathematical experiences more concrete and easier to grasp for young children. By using their observation and numeracy skills, they put into practice what they know and connect abstract concepts to real-life examples and situations. 

Most especially, learning mathematics now becomes an adventurous and exploratory activity instead of being confined to a seat facing a board of numbers which is incompatible with a young mind’s penchant for exploring and wondering instead of concentrating. 

Parents and educators alike must be quick enough to identify when these learning opportunities arise. Some examples of these activities include:

1. Grocery shopping

From making lists of what is needed to indicating a quantity and adding up prices, young children can help in accomplishing these tasks. While budgeting may be for older children, young ones can easily identify how many cartons of milk or number of fruits is needed for the grocery run.

2. Food

Food is a great interactive way to discuss mathematical concepts such as division, addition, and subtraction. For example, asking a child to share his snacks can easily demonstrate subtraction in terms of how many items are left for him and how many he’s giving to a friend. Sharing cookies is another way to show how division works while encouraging children to share fairly among themselves. 

Young children can also learn mathematical concepts not only during eating but cooking as well. From measuring out ingredients in terms of cups, spoons, or drops help them learn how to count and measure.

3. Play

Having young children engage in cooperative play that requires them to group themselves. This helps children demonstrate their knowledge of counting while in a play environment. 

Other play activities that can help them realise math concepts include having a race to see who can reach a finish line the fastest or who can run the farthest.

4. Growth measurement

Young kids grow fast, literally. Keeping track of their height and weight is another way to keep them engaged with mathematical concepts. Keeping track of how much they have grown from week to week or month to month allows children not only to help measure their growth but also compare how much they’ve grown within a certain time frame.

5. Finding patterns in their environment

Math is not just about counting, measuring and performing operations. It is also about finding patterns and comparing to arrive at a logical conclusion. Starting with say, observing usual weather patterns slowly transitioning into predicting  what weather is going to be like if it starts to get gloomy. 

Or taking note of the various shapes they see not only from everyday objects but also in nature as well. Taking a walk around the neighbourhood and noticing the house numbers is also a great chance for teaching a young child about number patterns.

6. Telling and reading materials with mathematical themes

Children love stories and it captures their attention easily. Choosing literary materials with mathematical concepts can help further their understanding while placing it in a social context they can grasp more easily. 

Poems like Shel Silverstein’s Smart introduces, for example, not only the concept of numbers but numbers associated with money. How Big is a Million is another good example where a large enough number that might be too big to grasp for young children is illustrated in a beautiful way that helps them get an idea of how truly big the number one million is. 

There are more literary materials which can be used to make young children more aware and appreciative of math.

Math Concepts

As you take advantage of the learning opportunities above teaching math to young children, these are some of the overarching math concepts you can incorporate into the learning opportunity.

Number and Operations

Counting houses, number of milk cartons, or candies they’re allowed to get are just a few examples on how to harness your child’s numeracy skills. Adding or subtracting food pieces when sharing is also a great way to help young children master their skill in performing operations.


Everyday objects have various shapes and figures they come in. By asking your child to identify the shape of these objects, they learn about general shapes, which is the first step really to developing a liking for geometry.


Math is all about patterns. So having young children observe, identify, and notice patterns in their environments. Say, finding the patterns of leaves or flowers, the markings on a butterfly or bird, or even weather patterns help young children be more aware of how things change and develop a more logical way of thinking. Soon enough, they’ll be able to make accurate predictions based on patterns they have recognised.  


From weighing flour as an ingredient in baked goodies to measuring how much one has grown over the past week, month, or year, these activities reinforce the value of math and how measurement is important in daily lives.

Data Analysis

While data analysis might sound a little too complex for young children to grasp, it can be as simple as asking them to identify which of two groups has more number of objects in it. Or having them identify which is taller or shorter, bigger or smaller, or heavier or lighter. These comparisons help them analyse and weigh two different inputs and reach a conclusion about the data presented. 

Common Counting Errors

As children begin to learn to count and add small numbers, you may find them committing these counting errors. Most young children will make these errors but it can easily be corrected with provided techniques. 


As children learn to count, they may sometimes forget the sequence of numbers. For example, a young child may start counting correctly from 1 to 5 but suddenly jumps to 10 or inserts 7 between 3 and 4. They may also forget a number and skip it, use a wrong number or go back to one when they reach a certain number such as 20. 

A solution for this is to keep reciting or singing the numbers in the right order to help the child’s recall. It is very important that they master the first 10 numbers first before moving onto the higher numbers. This gives them a good foundation especially when they move on to the decades 20, 30, 40, so on and so forth. 


Another common mistake is for a child to either count an object twice or point to it but don’t count it all. This is a coordination error where the child fails to associate a number to the object she/he is counting. Sometimes this happens because the child is too hasty in counting. 

To resolve it, ask the child to slowly count it again and remind them that an object must only be counted once to arrive at the right answer.

Keeping Track

It can be confusing for a child to both count objects and keep track of the objects counted over uncounted ones. This results in an object being counted twice. 

To help the child avoid this error, provide the child with a sorting strategy that groups the counted objects into a separate category away from the uncounted ones. 


This error happens when the child seems distracted or disinterested in properly counting objects. To help them count better, model the counting or count with them before letting them count on their own. 

You could also introduce a variety of objects to be counted to make them more interested in honing their counting skills. 

No Cardinality

This occurs when the child fails to recognise how many objects in total they have counted. When a teacher or parent asks the child how many objects they counted, a child may go back to counting or simply guess. 

To help them practice counting, play a game that will have the child remember the exact number of objects they counted. For example, ask them how many fruits they see on a table or how many trees, flowers, or birds they have passed by and seen so far. 

The Takeaway

Math can seem to be a very hard subject to teach to young children. However, if one only looks closely, math is naturally occurring in everyday life and learning how to spot learning opportunities, identifying math concepts, and knowing how to correct common learning mistakes helps in overcoming conceptual hurdles for young children to develop a deeper and better appreciation for math. 

As we live in an increasingly digital world where math is central to making it work, children must be equipped with the right math skills if they are to be successful in the future. Helping them achieve a basic understanding of numbers, structure and pattern, measurement, data, argumentation, and logical connections helps their young malleable brains develop faster and more pliable to 


Let's Count: Notice, explore, and talk about mathematics in everyday life

Belonging, Being and Becoming – Early Years Learning Framework 

Numeracy & maths skills: babies & toddlers | Raising Children Network

Teaching Math to Young Children

Childcare Development

0-12 month development

The science of healthy baby sleep

Author: Amanda Ruggeri

Straight from the baby sleep scientists, find out everything you need to know about baby sleep–from how many hours a baby really needs for sleep, to sleep regression and split nights.

Learn about the science of baby sleep so that both you and your baby finally get a good night’s sleep here.

1-2 year development

Fact vs fiction: Everything you need to know about your teething baby

Author: Jane Barry 

Teething is another important development milestone for a baby. This signals the baby’s slow transition into eating semi-solid and solid food. Starting at 6 months old, a baby will start having baby teeth descend slowly. While there are a lot of misconceptions about baby teething, this article strives to straighten it out once and for all.

Give it a read to know what’s fact and fiction about the commonly held beliefs around baby teething here.

2-3 year development

How many words should your child be saying? An expert tells

Author: Sonia Bestulic

Much has been reported about young children’s delayed language development due to fewer social interactions outside the home due to pandemic restrictions. As parents of a young child starting to talk, you may be puzzled at how to determine your child’s language skills but this article gives you a baseline understanding of how many words a young child may be capable of saying from as young as 12 months old to 5 years old. Expect your child to say their first word when they are around 12-15 months old and prepare your ears for lots of storytelling and questions with a 5-year old’s child armed with a vocabulary of around 1500 words.

Learn more about how many words a child is able to say at various ages and how to encourage their language skills further.

3-4 year development

Screens Near Bedtime Bad for Preschoolers' Sleep

Author: Robert Preidt

Do you find that your preschooler is having a harder time falling asleep? It might be due to screentime right before they’re about to sleep. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder tested young children ages 3-5 exposure to light right around their bedtime. 


Read more about their research findings and find out more about how to give your preschooler a good night’s sleep here.

4-5 year development

Playing with dolls helps children talk about how others feel, says study

Author: Hannah Devlin

Are you trying to teach your child empathy? You may have an easier time helping them understand other people’s thoughts or feelings by letting them play with dolls. A recent study conducted showed how children as young as 4 start to be more aware of other people, in this case the dolls, feelings as they played with them.

Read more on how playing with dolls helps children learn to become socially and emotionally aware here.

Craft Corner

Eggshell Geode Crystals

In time for Easter, put a spin into your Easter egg hunt and use empty eggshells to form spectacular geode crystals! In this chemistry experiment, children will get a firsthand look at how crystals are formed. Caution though, as hot water is needed for both cleaning the eggshells and dissolving the borax so an adult is needed to do these steps.


Find out how you can decorate your Easter eggshells by letting crystals grow on it here!


No Waffling on the Numbers

Here’s a delicious experiment that makes numbers and waffles a perfect pair! Using the grids in waffles, get children to track their correct answers to basic arithmetic questions by placing a chocolate chip on a grid in the waffle. You can also use the waffle grids to create various shapes such as a rectangle or make it even more creatively challenging by only allowing children to use 5 squares to create a shape. 

See the instructions to this delicious math and waffles activity here.

DIY Solar Oven Smores

Put a little science flair to the normal kitchen play by asking Mr. Sun for a little help! Using a pizza box, children can create their very own solar-powered oven which can turn out the best sun-baked s’mores! You might need to help cut out the door for the oven but other than that, this activity is fairly easy for young children. 

Get directions on how to make a DIY Solar Oven and bake smores here!

Oreo Cookie Moon Phases

This one’s a tasty science experiment children of all ages can participate in. Teach children to be more aware of the natural world around them like how the moon changes. Kids will certainly enjoy carving the various moon phases out of cookies’ vanilla fillings. 

See instructions on how to conduct this tasty and fun challenge here.

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