Modeling problems is sometimes a bit confusing so it is important to start with simple, straight forward concepts. First work with your child to identify the intended concept. What is it they are trying to learn:
Ex: to count- using both a number line and a number chart will help illustrate this point.
addition/subtraction- number lines and number charts will also help with adding and subtracting. Drawing a picture of what is being added or subtracted will help. Having objects to count (linking cubes, pennies, paperclips etc.,) will also help reinforce the concepts.
money- use real coins and bills. Kids love playing with money. They love to touch them and hear them jingle. Point out the differences in their sizes, colors, the direction that the heads are facing, and what is written in the back of them.
graphs- are used to compare different things that may or may not be able to be held. They are also used to compare large numbers.
Shapes- to learn about geometric shapes, you may find objects around the house that represent common shapes. However, there are shapes that are not so common. In this case the shape needs to be drawn.