Tips & Tricks For Parents

Develop Your Child’s Math Skills By Icing (And Eating!) Biscuits

The best rehab activities are the ones that are fun too! In this special guest post, Emma Burton from Auditory Verbal UK shows how you can teach basic math vocabulary to your child with a cochlear implant—and have fun baking together at the same time.

Auditory Verbal UK is also currently the focus of the BBC Lifeline appeal. If you live in the UK and want more information about the charity, check out this special appeal program with Sara Cox.



When it comes to math, most people think about numbers. But it is not just the numbers that are important, it is also the vocabulary. Children who are typically hearing are likely to naturally pick up this vocabulary through overhearing conversations. However, children who are deaf, and use a cochlear implant, may need to be exposed to new math vocabulary in a more purposeful way.

This is easy to do through rehab activities at home. You can support your child to develop early math skills by introducing ideas of quantity, size, space, shape, time, weight, speed, and temperature into their play, and during their everyday activities.

Being in the kitchen is part of an everyday routine for most of us, making it an ideal place for your child to see these math concepts being used meaningfully. Children love to help with baking, it can be great fun, and you get the added bonus of eating what you make! On a day when no one is in a hurry, make something simple that you know your child likes.

Here are some tips for using a simple baking activity, like icing biscuits, to strengthen your child’s understanding of math concepts.


Math Vocab For Toddlers

* When you pour the powdered sugar into the bowl, you can pour just a little at a time to create a problem. You can then look in the bowl and say: ”Oh no! We need MORE!”

*Hold the powdered sugar or jug of water over the bowl with a big smile and an expectant expression so your toddler can tell you “MORE!”

*If you run out of powdered sugar, you can look in the bag and notice: “Oh no! It’s ALL GONE!” Then show your toddler to see what they think.

* For powdered sugar, talk about how much you need: “We need LOTS!”

* For water, talk about how much you need: “We need a LITTLE BIT!” or “Just a DROP.”

* For sprinkles you could offer a choice: “Do we need a FEW or MANY?”

* “Can you find you the BIG bowl?” (from a choice of big and little bowls)

* “Can you find the SMALL spoon?” (from a choice of big and little spoons)

* Handing out the biscuits: “ONE for you”, “ONE for me”, “We have TWO biscuits!”



Math Vocab For Pre-Schoolers

* Look at the recipe with your pre-schooler and encourage them to find the numbers: “We need ONE cup of sugar, can you see the number ONE?” “We need FIVE biscuits, can you see the number FIVE?”

* You could weigh the box of powdered sugar in your hands before opening it and make predictions: “I think this box is FULL because it feels really HEAVY” or “I think this box is almost EMPTY because it feels so LIGHT”

* Guide your pre-schooler to measure the powdered sugar and encourage them to pour: “We need a WHOLE cup of sugar. Can you pour the sugar all the way to the TOP?” “We need HALF a cup of sugar. Can you fill it to the MIDDLE? Great, that’s half a cup.”

* Encourage them to problem solve: “We need FIVE biscuits but we only have THREE. How MANY more do we need?”

* If your biscuit breaks then draw their attention to it: “Oh no, it broke in HALF” “Look, now my biscuit is the SMALLEST.”

* You could be playful and take a handful of new biscuits from the packet: “Look, now I have the MOST biscuits.”

* You might like to decorate your biscuits with assorted candies: “I’m going to make a face. I need TWO CIRCLES for eyes. Eyes go at the TOP. A LONG LINE for the mouth. The mouth goes at the BOTTOM. A TRIANGLE for the nose. The nose goes in the MIDDLE.”



Math Vocab For Kids At School

* Use time concepts like FIRST, NEXT, AFTER and LAST while you are preparing the activity: “BEFORE we measure the ingredients we need to find the utensils.” “AFTER we have made the icing we can decorate our biscuits.”

* Increase the complexity of instructions: “Mix ONE CUP of powdered sugar, ONE TEASPOON of water and THREE DROPS of food coloring in the SMALL BLUE bowl.”

* Talk about textures,  similarities and differences to other foods: “This icing looks all ROUGH and LUMPY and BUMPY. A bit like my porridge in the morning. But we want it to be SMOOTH and SILKY and RUNNY like honey.”

* “We’ve got TWELVE jellies left, how many will that be on each biscuit?”

* “The icing is still wet. We will have to wait at least FIFTEEN minutes before we can eat them so that the icing can set. Let’s look at the clock. In FIFTEEN minutes it will be …”


Whichever recipe you choose, remember that the key ingredient is YOU. Happy baking!


Thanks, Emma!


Want more rehab activities for the kitchen? Discover how to teach your child new words while making a fruit salad.

Find out more about how cochlear implants work and how they could help you or your child.

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The content on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please contact your doctor or hearing specialist to learn what type of hearing solution is suitable for your specific needs. Not all products, features, or indications shown are approved in all countries.

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