From a recent article in the Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2016/09/15/teaching-parents-talk-math-with-their-kids/kZ777JUPFW3Yewr31yMqSO/story.html:
Researchers with a group called the DREME Network (which stands for Development and Research in Early Math Education) say it’s time for parents to begin to teach their preschool-age children basic math concepts with the same urgency that they encourage reading…
The concepts and skills that make a difference with kids ages 3 to 5 (which is where the DREME Network is focused) are so basic that any adult can handle them: counting objects and recognizing that the last number stated describes the total number of objects, talking about patterns, going on “shape hunts,” ordering sets from biggest to smallest.
“People think of math in a very narrow way, but block play, puzzles, spatial aspects of our cognition, these are also important to mathematics. We’re not advocating drilling kids,” says Susan Levine, a psychologist at the University of Chicago and DREME Network member.