Looking for toddler math activities? Here are some playful ways to make math fun from the very beginning.
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So. Are you a math person?
Did you sign up for the all the hard math courses and delight in the challenge?
Maybe math was hard for you, but you struggled through it to get the grades you wanted.
Or perhaps you avoided any math course beyond the minimum requirements. Even today, you hear yourself saying, “I’ve never been good at math. I’m just not a math person.”
Have you ever said this to your child? “I’ve never been much of a book person. I’m just not a reader.” I’m willing to bet you go out of your way to read to your child and to promote a love of books in your home.
Well, guess what? We should be doing the same thing with math. And it starts when they’re babies.
10 ways to make math fun for babies and toddlers
The good news? Babies and toddlers already love math. You only need to fuel that enthusiasm. My biggest tip? Notice and celebrate math wherever you find it. Here are ten ways to do just that!
1. Count. A lot. Are you dressing your baby? “One arm, two arms!” Are you walking up the stairs with your toddler? “Let’s count the steps! One… two… three….” Count how many grapes she has, how many fingers are on her hand, or how many keys are on the ring. When you point to each object as you count, you teach your child one-to-one correspondence. One day she’ll learn to assign numbers to objects as she counts, too.
2. Build with blocks. Your baby might enjoy watching you make a tower. Soon he’ll be knocking it over, and eventually he’ll start to put one block on top of the other all by himself.
3. Arrange things in a logical way. Make worms out of play dough and put them in order from largest to smallest as your child watches. Help her put stacking blocks on top of one another.
4. Build an understanding of spatial relationships. Help your child be aware of herself and her environment by letting her crawl through play tunnels, sit in a child-sized tent, climb up the toddler slide, or play in a big box.
5. Sort toys. Separate the animals from the toy cars. Put the stuffed animals in this bin, and the lacing toys in this one. Or sort by color. Before your child can actually name the colors, he may be able to sort same colored objects into groups.
6. Compare things. Who has the bigger plate, you or Mommy? Which of your strawberries is bigger?
7. Play with patterns. Isn’t it funny how the simple game of peekaboo has babies in stitches? It’s actually an introduction to patterns. When you play patty cake and other action rhymes, your child can play with patterns even more. You might also try to find patterns your child can feel, like the design of the texture on the couch or carpet.
8. Sing. There are countless nursery rhymes and songs for babies, many of which focus on numbers. “1, 2, buckle my shoe.” Or “Six little ducks went out one day…” Print my free little letter books of rhymes and songs and sing them together. Soon your child will be singing them by himself!
9. Explore volume. We eat a lot of yogurt at our house, so the bathtub always has a few containers for pouring. On a warm day, give your child some water toys to play with in the water table or wading pool. By simply filling the containers and pouring them, your child is learning a lot about math!
10. Read. Above all, read and read some more. Not sure what baby and toddler math books to find at your library? What Do We Do All Day has you covered!
Learn how to make math fun at all different age levels! Just click on an age range below.