The same general idea worked when it came to my son's Lego's! It was a great way to work on patterns and following directions! I would draw a pattern on paper for him to copy and recreate with his Legos. It not only helped with his color recognition, but his problem solving skills, fine motor skills and he didn't even know he was doing math!!
There was a time that the United States of America had some of the highest mathematic scores in the world for students in grades k through 12. A lot has changes since those days, and in order to help children get back on the path to being good mathematical students parents need to play an important role.
A parent must know what level of math and any other subject, for that matter, that their child is performing at every school year. When children enter kindergarten and the school recommends that children know their ABC's and know how to count to twenty or whatever number, it is the parent's responsibility to make sure the child is prepared prior to enrolling in school.
They can start with asking simple math questions and going on to harder questions, as the child gets older. Parents should continually ask children mathematical computation questions and give positive feedback when they respond. Children love to receive positive feedback and that encourages continues growth.