The early years of a child tend to influence his/ her future. Whatever the child learns during the formative years acts as a base for what they are going to be in the later stages of life. There are different playful activities assisted through worksheets, books, and toys that parents these days do at home or children learn at their kindergarten or playschools. It is important to understand that Math plays an essential role in every person’s daily routine right from the early years. The quote “Learning by doing” truly stands out when it comes to numerical reasoning. Children as early as 2 year old are eligible for exposure to numerical reasoning, in different forms.

What is numerical reasoning?

Numerical reasoning is a psychometric assessment that is designed to test children’s numerical aptitude, competency, and math skills.

Types of numerical reasoning

Different numerical reasoning tests are explained in the form of:

  1. Table and graph test
  2. Non-calculator numerical test
  3. Word problems
  4. Number series

Figure: Aspects of numerical reasoning

Why should one enroll their child into numerical reasoning classes/tests?

Numerical reasoning has its own benefits. It helps children to start preparing for school. Numerical reasoning has a great benefit on a child’s personality. Practicing numerical reasoning through activities supports problem-solving and goes a long way in processing their thinking skills. Hence, math-related activities are a great way of developing a child’s numerical abilities.

Numerical reasoning tests

Here, the child is required to answer questions using facts, and figures presented in statistical tables. These statistical tables include math data.

Let us take a look at some typical numerical reasoning questions your child will learn and solve:

  1. Complete the series: Which number in the series comes next? 4, 6, 12, 14, 20, 22, ? If you observe the gaps between the numbers, you will realise that the gaps follow a pattern which is +2, +6, +2, +6 and so on. Accordingly, 22+6 = 28 which is the missing number.
  2. Spot the relationship between the numbers in the pattern: This one I leave it for your kids to rack their brain on and comment the answers below.
Numerical Reasoning sample activity

3. Word Problems such as : A tennis ball costs twice as much as a golf ball. You can buy 3 tennis balls for the cost of 1 football. If the price of a football ball is $24, what is the cost for 1 golf ball? 

In such questions, the child is expected to be able to figure out the interdependence between the items. A fool-proof apporach to solving such problems is to make an assumption on the value of one of the items and work the cost of others accordingly.

4. Understanding a data table/matrix: One very common question is to be able to understand the relationship between rows and columns.

Example: The numbers in a grid go together in a certain way. The * has been placed in one square to hide the number underneath. Which number should be in the square marked by the question mark? 

Find out the number that will replace the question mark

Ways through which we can build numerical reasoning skills from an early age:

  1. Number book: Children love exploring and collecting things. As a part of the activity, a number book can be maintained where children can count and arrange related objects that they have collected. Alternatively, counting worksheets are also preferred where toddlers can count and older children can count and perform sums.
  2. Rhyme time: Toddlers are super attentive when they hear rhymes. Children even before they learn to talk, react to music. Any activity that involves songs makes them learn things faster. Singing numerical rhymes, which include numbers, and counting, itself encourages children to improve their numerical aptitude. This activity can be started with kids as early as 8 months of age.  
  3. Storytime: This activity is suitable for children of three to four years of age. Children of this age love stories and challenges. Hence, this is a fun activity for children. A story is narrated which ends with a problem to solve. This activity not only helps in improving the numerical reasoning ability but also interaction and language ability. In this way, they will also learn counting for the purpose of seeing whether others have also received the same result. Learning addition by learning how many thereafter more objects are added. Subtraction: How many will be there if objects are taken away.
  4. Building blocks: Playing with blocks is an activity that children enjoy. Guardians can help children in building towers of various shapes and counting them at the same time. This improves the thinking ability of children and also get an idea of various shapes. Children learn to analyze how many blocks can make a tower. They also learn a positional language such as to the left of, to the right of, on top of, etc. they also understand symmetry in the placement of blocks to build a tower.
  5. Nature Math: Nature has a variety of resources to teach Math to children. Taking them for a nature walk and encouraging them to match similarly shaped objects around them along with the given objects. Weight and mass can also be taught with those same objects by asking them to weigh 2 objects at the same time. This nature trip will teach them grouping, comparison, and understanding of differences between objects.
  6. Treasure hunt: This is a great outdoor activity where children will learn the concept of directions. Hide exciting objects and give clues to find them.  

So now you see that numerical reasoning is beyond numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It is an important skill connecting close to a hundred occupations as well as a necessary skill for many other positions.