Playing plenty of math games with your toddler not only gives you a fun bonding activity but will set them up for life with a curious and inquisitive way of thinking.
Math might not even be on your radar for your two or three-year-old toddler, but there are loads of games and activities which you can introduce to your child from a young age to help them grasp concepts that they’ll need in later years at school, such as multiplying and factorizing.
Remember, you don’t want to overkill math with a toddler. Math should be a fun activity that is just worked naturally into your days rather than sitting down to drill facts.
Although, you can keep in mind that young kids absolutely love being able to recall clever facts for other adults.
So be guided by your child, if they love memorizing facts, teach your toddler the two or ten times table, if they are onto you and don’t enjoy memorization, stick with these fun multisensory games.
Grab some chalk and get outside with your toddler! This time-tested game is a firm favorite with almost every toddler.
This is a great way to teach children counting, once they have mastered the basics of 1-10, you can introduce odd and even numbers to make it trickier for them!
Not only do they learn math and counting while they hop along the squares, but it also helps them to build great coordination and master body control.
Once they’ve finished with the hopscotch, use the chalk to write out some numbers that they can then trace over.
Make Numbers From Playdough
Playdough is a fantastic multisensory activity for toddlers, especially if you choose a scented one too!
You can begin by making shapes and numbers for your child to feel and play with, you could also make a corresponding amount of objects to match the number.
For example, make a number 4 from playdough, and then use a cutter to make 4 stars. If you don’t have cutters, you can just roll small balls.
There are plenty of free templates which you can find online to print off, so your toddler can place the playdough on top of, to make their own numbers too.
Some of the printables have the matching number of objects on the sheet too. To make the most of these sheets, you can laminate them so your child can use them again and again.
Baking provides a wealth of learning opportunities for toddlers, but most importantly, it is messy fun which they will love!
Simply talking to your child about how much you’re adding when you use the scales will begin to help them understand the concept of numbers.
You can count out eggs as you crack them, measure out ingredients, split the dough into a number of parts, and even count as you mix or whisk.
Children learn best when they are doing and playing, so give them plenty of opportunities to experiment when you’re baking. Perhaps break off some of the dough or let them get messy with the cake mix!
Singing songs with your preschoolers is a great bonding experience and a fantastic way to help them learn.
Nursery rhymes help children with their pre-literacy skills, memory skills, articulation, and listening skills.
There are so many nursery rhymes which also teach the basics of math, here are a few suggestions to sing with your kids:
- One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Once I Caught a Fish Alive
- Ten Green Bottles
- Five Little Ducks
- Hickory Dickory Dock
- Five Little Speckled Frogs
Spend some time singing these songs when you’re making breakfast or taking a ride in the car, and you can bet your bottom dollar that your kids will be singing along with you in no time!
Can You Find…
This is a really great game that you can play wherever you are. The idea of the game is to encourage counting with your child, by asking them to go and find you a certain number of objects.
If you’re in your home, you could start by asking ‘Can you find me 4 soft teddies?’ or ‘Can you go and find me 6 things that are blue?’
If you’re outdoors, you could make this more nature-based, and ask them to find you 5 leaves, or 7 rocks.
This game also promotes categorizing and sorting which are important early elements of math to grasp.
Which Game Will Your Toddler Enjoy the Most?
You don’t just need to choose one of these games, give each of them a go and see which ones your toddler enjoys best.
Teaching your child basic math skills through play will provide them with the building blocks they need to learn more advanced math later on in their school lives.
Sending your child to school when they are already able to recognize their numbers and shapes, recognizing patterns, sorting, and categorizing objects will boost their confidence and make learning math fun and enjoyable.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to just keep talking to your toddler even if you don’t have time to dedicate to playing these games. When you’re out and about walking, talk about how many ducks you can see on the lake, talk about big and little steps, categorize the leaves you see in the fall.
Providing your preschooler with a rich environment to thrive in before they start school will give them a great head start in life and foster a lifelong love of learning.