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Simple Subtraction for Preschoolers

Written by Amy Rios Crochet Artist/SAHM

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I have something called Discalcula.  Not many people know about it let alone have heard about it.  I have a really hard time with numbers – I would get multiple answers for the same problem, I would practice simple addition/subtraction problems with my mom for hours and it didn’t help, less than/bigger than confused me, directions (I still can’t tell people left and right correctly and will often mix them up.  Oddly enough my husband learned that I always point correctly so he doesn’t listen to the direction I say but the direction I point), quantities, size, time management, money management, I am constantly loosing things, Organic Chemistry, and the list goes on.  In third grade it was noticed that I had a really bad problem with math.  Every single math problem I answered was wrong.  My mom noticed that if you looked at the equations I wrote out instead of what was in the book, my answers were actually correct.  I was transposing numbers not only horizontally but vertically.  So I got a work book that I could write in and that helped a bit (fractions are still my arch nemesis).  I had to put a paper down on top of a list of numbers otherwise the numbers would start flipping on me.  I couldn’t dial a phone number for years because I couldn’t keep the numbers straight in my head long enough to dial them and even if I thought the right number I would push the wrong button anyways.  Honestly to this day I have a hard time with phone numbers, thank goodness for cell phones right?!  I didn’t get services for my problem until I was in 12th grade.  I got time and a half and the use of calculators on all math tests.  But lets be realistic, that wouldn’t help at work.  I have never been one to openly admit I have this problem.  I have always hid it because I was embarrassed to admit that as an adult I can’t say left and right correctly or that numbers flipped on me.  It wasn’t until recently that I started telling friends over lunch about this because the topic of special needs came up.  If you would like to read more about how it affects adults I found this article to be informative.

I admit all of this because I am almost obsessive with early education and my son.  I was the mom asking my pediatrician if at 2 years old I should be concerned because he is mixing up b,d, p and q (apparently at that age it is perfectly normal)  I am constantly working on pre-math skills with him – colors, shapes, bigger/smaller, matching, memory and grouping things correctly.  I have recently started adding more advanced math into his games such as subtraction and next I will do addition.  Titi Tracy (his Godmother and co-owner of this blog) recently made me some egg games for Easter/Spring.  We are working on a way of providing you all free downloads for the games we make and hopefully we will be rolling that out in the coming months.

On to the Game…

I set up the five sets of matching eggs – so ten all together.

I grabbed our box of Melissa & Doug 37 Wooden Number Magnets in a Box that Nanna got for him and separated out the 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, = and -.

I set up the eggs in a row of ten and below them I put 10 – 2 = and then I had him count the eggs and find the correct number.  I wanted to keep it as easy for him as possible so that is why I had matching eggs next to each other and took two away at a time.  He would count the eggs correctly but then have a hard time picking the correct numeral.  Not bad for his first time 🙂 I plan on doing this more over the coming weeks and adding addition to the mix as well.  When he gets better at doing it in two’s I will start making the math itself a little harder.

Apparently I didn’t take a picture with all 10 eggs lined up but you get the idea.

If you don’t have egg cut outs you could use anything like Baby Bear Counters (102 ct.), legos, cheese balls, what ever you have around the house.  If you do this with your little I would love to see pictures.  Please post them on our Facebook Page  and if you are in the New York Metro Area please join our Mommy Group!

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