Research supports the notion that young children need hands-on activities and manipulatives to best understand the important math concepts. As parents, how many of you were taught to cross out the 3, make it a 2, and add a 1 in front of the 4 to make it 14. Now, how many of you really understood WHY you were doing that? Did someone tell you that you were borrowing a “10” from 30, which made it a “20”? The best way we can get children to understand why they are doing these operations and what they mean is to encourage them to explore these concepts beyond the pencil and paper method. This is not to say that the pencil and paper method is insignificant. Pencil and paper methods have their value, too. However, it is critical to get children to understand WHY they are learning these concepts through fun activities. One simple activity you can do is pull out the numbers 2-10 from a deck of cards. Lay down 1 card on the table. Have your child go through the deck and find the number that comes before and after the card.