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Slip a few math skills under the tree

December 16, 2011

By Nancy George
SMU News

DALLAS (SMU) – Forget the latest techno toy:  Simpler is better when it comes to helping preschoolers develop math skills.

tea set for ChristmasYoung children need to develop math readiness in addition to reading readiness skills, says Sherril English, clinical assistant professor at SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

And compared to the gadgets that take batteries, the prices on these will make it easier for parents to “do the math” when the bills come in in January.

Here are a few toys English recommends to boost early math skills.

  • Candy Land and other similar board games are fun approaches to counting.
  • A toy tea set teaches counting as a child sets the table with Mom or Dad repeating, “One plate for me, one plate for you and one plate for Santa.”
  • “Sit and ride” toys help toddlers learn about space and speed.toy wagon for Christmas
  • Filling toy measuring cups and spoons in the bathtub helps toddlers and preschoolers explore measuring.
  • Rolling a ball back and forth helps babies learn about speed and distance.

To reach Sherril English, contact Nancy George at 214-768-7674 or


Written by Nancy George/SMU News & Communications


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