Experts Say: Learning Numbers through Art

My daughter, who is in preschool, loves spending her time doing arts and crafts, but absolutely hates it when it’s time for her to learn academic subjects like Mathematics. What can I do to get her more interested in learning her numbers?


There’s nothing like creating a learning environment that ignites opportunities for children to think well and understand deeply. Mathematics is everywhere and just about everything we do! You cannot play a game, build or construct without size, proportion, number sense, patterning and relational thinking. Your daughter’s interest in art reflects perhaps her capacity to think creatively and to then make unusual connections. Mathematics and paintings help complement how we visualise the concrete in the abstract and vice versa. I’m going to suggest the visual arts with her interests in mind.


Take a trip to the Singapore Art Museum or the National Gallery of Singapore. Pick one visual art piece to take a good look at and see what you can both see for 60 seconds. Share with her what you see in it. Then listen to her observations.


You can also use some great masters as examples such as Kandinsky (1866-1944), the pioneer of abstract art. For someone not mathematically inclined, his ideas and art were in fact mathematically driven; a variety of triangles, lines, circles and curves, and even grids as building blocks that are beautifully artistic just like the theorems themselves.


Mondrian’s Red, Blue and Yellow is filled with opportunities to explore number sense; one-to-one correspondence could be counting how many shapes make up the painting. Then, identify the different shapes that make up the canvas. Work on abstract reasoning through grouping since not all items in a group need necessarily be identical. Cardinality (part of learning Math) can be challenging as it works on abstract reasoning and it allows dissimilar objects to be counted as part of a whole group. For example, different coloured squares are classified in a group of squares.


Preschool age is delightful so it isn’t difficult to hide the basic fundamentals into fun activities. Be brave. Explore and allow yourself (and your child) to use knowledge in new ways because that makes true understanding. Finally, exercise growth mindset which is the difference between an “I can” and an “I can’t”! Our students have become their own super heroes with a change in their thinking.


Question answered by:

Sharon Solomon

Founder and CEO

The Winstedt School      

Thanks for sharing!