You want your child to be smart. Nowadays, children start learning the alphabet far earlier than they did 20 years ago. But a new study revealed a surprising link when it comes to childhood literacy. If you want your child to be better at reading, teach them counting games at home.

Yes, that's right, math will help your child be a stronger reader. The study analyzed 116 preschoolers aged three years-old to five. Each child was tested on both their math and reading skills at the beginning of the study. Six months later they were tested again. The results showed that children who were exposed to math-related games showed more progress in both math and vocabulary.

"There is a lot of research coming out showing that math and language skills specifically are highly related," study co-author Amy Napoli of Purdue University told Fatherly.

If you want to see what benefits playing math games with your child has for yourself, try out these three games:

Memory Math

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Cut two pieces of paper into 20 squares. On 10 of the squares, write out a number 1-10 on each. On the other 10 squares, place stickers with each number on an individual square. (i.e. on one square put one sticker, on another card put two stickers, etc.)

Then flip the cards over and play memory with your child, matching the numerical number with the card that has the corresponding number of stickers.

Number line run

Photo Credit: Coffee Cups and Crayons.

For a more active game, check out the number line run. It will help with counting and simple addition. (plus all you need is sidewalk chalk!)

Find the instructions here.

Ice cream addition

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This simple game only requires dice, crayons and and this ice cream print out. Print the cone and learn to play here.

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