“Tap space number three”: Promoting math talk during parent-child tablet play.

The prevalence of tablet computer use among young children has risen dramatically, as have educational apps claiming to promote school readiness skills such as mathematical knowledge. Parents can contribute to their preschoolers’ math readiness through the math talk they provide during everyday interactions in traditional nonelectronic activities. However, it is unclear how parents talk about math during tablet play with their children, and how additional suggestions to focus on math might increase the frequency of this talk during tablet play. Fifty-one parents and their 4- and 5-year-olds (Mage = 5 years, 0 months) played with a tablet-based numerical board game for 10 min. Half of the parents were randomly assigned to receive brief additional guidance to focus on teaching their children about numbers while playing the game. All parents produced a large amount of math-related talk relative to total talk while playing the numerical tablet game, yet parents who received the additional instructions produced more math-related talk compared to parents who did not receive the additional instructions. Children also produced more math-related talk in response to parent prompting when their parents received the additional guidance. Further, parents talked significantly less about counting when their children were more skilled at counting, but only when given guidance to talk about numeracy. The findings show promising evidence that math-related tablet computer games serve as an ideal context for parent-child math talk, and with brief guidance, frequency of this talk can be increased. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)