Math Conversations While Setting the Table

There are many opportunities in everyday family activities to explore and develop math skills. This video features a brief conversation about math that could arise between a caregiver and a young child when setting the table. The video shows how noticing and talking about math in this daily routine promotes early math skills like counting, numbers, and space and place.

Professionals who work with families can use this resource to encourage parents and caregivers to look for and build upon math they are already doing together with their children at home. Calling caregivers’ attention to examples of math present in routine activities may inspire them to identify even more opportunities to talk with their children about math. Support families in personalizing how and when they talk about math at home and celebrate caregivers’ ideas for incorporating math into their everyday family life.

Discussion Ideas

Watch and discuss this video as part of workshops, home visits, or one-on-one meetings with caregivers. Then, use these suggested questions to begin a discussion about other ways caregivers can blend math learning into their routines:

  1. This video is an example of the sort of conversation about math that a parent can have with a child when setting the table. Can you think of other activities in your everyday life that offer the opportunity to talk about math with your children?
  2. The video demonstrates four strategies for having conversations about math that are outlined in the Reveal the Hidden Math resource. How does each strategy work to build children’s interest in math?
  3. DREME Math Snacks are reminders that math is all around you. Use these Math Snacks on gathering information and putting things where they go as starting points for creating your own Math Snacks.

Activity Authors

University of Minnesota, College of Education and Human Development & the Math and Numeracy Lab.