The basic foundation of math is memorization of basic facts and recognition of the patterns in numbers, sometimes referred to as number sense. Conceptual understanding, the ability to associate the numbers and functions on the page to practical scenarios, is also extremely important for math to serve a real life purpose, but is actually less important in performing computations. It is the rote part of mathematics that is necessary and it is also where children struggle the most. As calculations become more complex, counting on fingers or adding groups together to find the product of simple multiplication facts can increase the work and difficulty of most problems to the point of frustration.
The point? Do whatever you can to make the basics of math fun for your child. By all means, get out the buttons and blocks and teach conceptual mathematics, but also get out the flashcards and counting grids and find ways to make a game out of skip counting to one hundred (or one thousand) and memorizing multiplication facts. The better a child is at the basics, the more fun math will be for them. Math is just a game and everyone likes to win.