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It is often hard to get young children interested in academic studies, and numbers are often the least favorite subject of all. During the formative years, it is a valuable asset to have tools that will hold the attention of a child long enough to get the basic understanding of numbers across to them.
Mahjong represents those numbers with bamboo, circle, and character tiles that spur youngsters to count and match. It is a subtle form of learning, but it proves to be highly effective because kids find it fun. The number itself appears on each Mahjong tile as does the corresponding number of units so that children learn to associate the digit with the counted number.
The attention span of a young player is usually short, so you might limit the play of Mahjong to short periods until they develop better concentration skills. You can keep children more interested in playing if you show them you enjoy the game, too.
If a child gets frustrated, that is the time to stop playing the game and move on to something else. The nature of young people will make them return to something that they do not complete again and again, including the game of Mahjong.