One of the popular questions that most parents have when it comes to learning abacus, is what is the right age to start learning? In general, there is no such
rule which limits abacus learning to a specific age but the results achieved are specific to age.
Brain development is catalyzed by learning abacus at an early age
Right half of the brain is attributed to creativity, visual thinking and imaging. When the right half of the brain is regularly used, it becomes dominant.
Childhood marks the time when the brain function is at its highest. If any changes in its utilization are to be made, childhood is the best time. In order
to learn abacus, the child must have the basic understanding of concepts like numbers, therefore an ideal age to start is 3. Disciplining a child under the
age of 3 to sit in one place and concentrate can be difficult. A child who has started training in pre-school has a statistical advantage over other children
when it comes to solving mental arithmetic of 6 digits.
Calculation skills are developed when trained during elementary school
Mental math strategies can be easily taught to children in elementary school can be used during math maths class and elimating the need for a calculator. A simple reason why junior high students are poor in math is because of lack of
basic practice. Practicing simple calculations like addition, multiplication, subtraction and division is important in order to progress. Also, there are
children who do not learn the multiplication table before advancing. Students, who have a firm understanding of the four mathematical operations, can easily
master complex calculations in high school. Training at the elementary level becomes important when the final goal is development of calculation skills.
Most training classes outside school enroll students who are of age 6 or higher. Six is an appropriate age to receive training. Such students have a fairly
clear understanding of numbers and sufficient concentration span to sit through class. At the same time, the right half of the brain is active to develop an
imagination to solve math mentally.
Teaching the basics of abacus to toddlers
The ages mentioned in above is for a classroom setting where the child is enrolled in special training. Parents can familiarize the concept of abacus to their
toddlers. There are many parents who use a simple abacus to teach colors and the primary concept of numbers and counting. Parents can start off with the initial
training at home. Toddlers are fascinated by colors, so ensure that the beads are divided into color groups of two. The first exercise in learning abacus at home
is through mirroring. Have your child mimic the move you make. Start in the beginning position when all the beads are in one side. Move a random number of beads
to the opposite side and move it back. Have your child mimic the movement with the same number of beads. The pattern can be mixed up and arranged in groupings.
The second exercise is the counting game. Learning starts at home and it is now common for a child to know the alphabets and numbers before he/she enters school.
Teach your child counting using abacus. Say the number out aloud when the move the appropriate bead(s). Also, count the number of beads left behind.
Abacus can also be used to teach skip counting. Skip counting is an alternative method to saying counting in 10s, 5s etc. Learning skip counting helps in recognizing
patterns (including odd and even number). Skip counting must be taught only after the child is through with counting from 1-50. Abacus simplifies teaching numbers
because it involves mirroring actions of the hand.