From the earliest age, children can be taught to say "one, two, three" as they're lifted into the air or as they touch their index finger to each of three similar objects. Counting objects to ten, twenty, and more naturally follows, as the child gains facility and understanding.
Math has been called the science of pattern, and patterns are everywhere we look. Simple binary patterns like on and off, sitting and standing, quiet and noisy are all easy to point out and ask your child about. Later on, more complex patters like colors in kitchen tiles or lines on the floor can be explored.
Geometry is everywhere also. Various shapes from dots to lines to triangles to circles can be identified in the surrounding environment ("Can you find a green rectangle on the road up ahead?"A red octagon?"
Comparative relationships such as "more than," "less than," and "equal to" can be introduced to young children and reinforced in a number of different ways (short, shorter, long, longest, etc.).
Eventually, the two basic algebraic operations – addition and subtraction – can be explained as putting things together to form one larger group or separating large groups into smaller ones.
Once basic math facts are memorized, simple story problems can be created and solved on the fly, and positive/negative numbers (and operations with them) can be introduced.
Math manipulatives can play a central role is making Daily Math Time interesting, engaging, and productive for all concerned.
As always, the focus is on fun, lots of hugs and high-fives, taking things slowly and at the child's own pace, and quitting structured time early to keep them wanting more.
Additional resources and ideas follow:
Math is Everywhere ... and it's Fun!
Math Fact Cards, Apps, Calculation Training Sites
Scratch Coding Resources
Early Math Toys, Aids, and Activities
Early Puzzles, Problem Solving, Math Games
Math Exploration Station
Math Worksheets and Drills
Children's Books for Teaching Math
Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.