The best and most important aspect of having a toddler is teaching easy skills without them even realizing they are learning! Math is no exception, and through the following math activities, you can achieve that.
Here I have compiled the best 10 easy math activities for toddlers, with lots of visual, hands-on practical fun to be had.
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The Importance of Math For Your Toddler
Math is a vital tool in a child’s journey of development, as is learning ABC’s! It offers problem-solving opportunities that allow children to think logically as they gain a sense of their world around them by learning to count and recognize shapes. Math concepts go way beyond writing sums or working our equations on a piece of paper. It is about widths and angles, weight, and home improvement projects. We carry it with us through our lives.
Whilst your toddler is far from designing his or her own bookshelf and cutting the wood to size, planting the seed of how important it is to learn the basics at a young age is something only you can do before they begin school.
Remember to have fun and not take it too seriously – the aim is to encourage them to learn and not withdraw. Ready for my top 10 math activities for toddlers? Then let’s take a look!
10 Everyday Math Activities For Toddlers
Dot To Dot
A very simple yet effective activity to introduce your toddler to math concepts, especially when it comes to counting in sequence. Giving your child their favorite pencil or crayon and asking them to draw from one number to the next, not only helps to count, but it also includes developing basic fine motor skills as well as seeing images come to life through the power of drawing.
Your toddler is learning from scratch, so start with a very easy dot to dot pictures. Encourage and count with them as they go from one number to the next and if they make a mistake, it’s OK. There is a great website for finding fun dot to dots here.
Who doesn’t love Legos? The great thing about Legos is that it comes in literally all shapes and sizes now, so working with slightly larger blocks for safety is accessible and can work wonders for your toddler. A great pack to start you off are Mega Bloks. They are cheap and provide endless counting fun.
To go one step further with your Lego/Blok fun is to use a Sharpie to write numbers on each block. Your toddler is going to really enjoy playing and recognizing numbers as they go along.
If you are prepared emotionally for 2 am earworms, I strongly recommended using music to encourage learning as a great math activity. All music is actually math in disguise. You have bars and count into choruses or verses and the beats are brought together by numbers.
There are great nursery rhymes that involve using numbers out there and can easily be found on YouTube. Clicking on this link will take you to some great suggestions to get you started. Get yourself a coffee first!
I am fully on board with anything that involves lots of colors and mini-tasks and this is no exception. A great maths activity for preschool kids is to offer chances to pick out numbers this way. Pom poms are a great place to start as they are exciting to handle and squeeze, plus your child gets to frequent themselves with those pincer skills by using fun plastic tweezers.
Make sure you pick nice bright colors for your toddler to count with. Also starting off with too many can be detrimental to their learning so if using this technique for the first time, start off with just 2 colors and work your way up. Your child wants to feel like they are good at it in order to have the desire to continue with this toddler math activity.
There is no way that’s more exciting than teaching your toddler life skills AND getting them to help you in the kitchen. Refrain from, ‘Hey kid, put the oven on for mommy, would you?’ and make it more about counting grapes as you prepare lunch, or letting them watch you chop a carrot, counting with each slice. Basic math stuff, right?
Kids absorb everything. What a gift to give by letting them see both how and where food is prepared as well as getting them to count whilst watching. Using objects to count to 10 really helps a toddler associate knowing the numbers and actually using them practically.
The great thing about this math activity is there is a tasty end result! Win-win.
Have you always dreamed of having help with the laundry? Finally, you can! It may take you a little longer to get it done, but using your laundry as a way to teach math concepts is a really inventive way to ignite the math fire in young children. You can begin with counting socks or shirts and sorting into different piles.
Once you get beyond the stage where you have counted items, you can begin to look at which pile is the biggest, which pile has the most socks, which pile might be the heaviest.
Math is about far more than just counting, it is about making decisions and estimating and this is a great way to introduce that concept.
Get Playing Games
Board games are fantastic math activities for preschool kids! No matter how old we are, board games are so effective in learning math. At your toddler’s age, the range of board games can appear limited but there actually some simple ones that are a lot of fun.
Anything that involves winning or losing can be the best way to get a child interested in counting. Winning is the best feeling ever, right?! Games like these have multi-uses when it comes to encouraging your toddler to learn math.
I know what you are thinking, and no, it isn’t 1970. But the good news is that the abacus is timeless, and still has a part to play to improve math skills in young children. Truly. You can pick it up and take it with you to Grandma’s house. You can have it in the garden, on vacation, or on the floor in the bathroom whilst you are grabbing that long-overdue shower.
The Abacus usually has different colored beads for toddlers to play with, with 10 of each bead to count. They are also really handy as children get older too, so don’t forget to hang onto them for your money’s worth!
If you are looking for math activities for preschoolers, then why not have them working on fine motor skills at the same time, right?
This one is easy, and you can use tons of items to put onto your fingers! Even ring chips!
Rubber bands are great for this games too, but kids love colored bands the most. The aim of the game is to place rings onto fingers on your toddlers hands (and yours too!) while counting the amount placed on the fingers.
Afterward, you can subtract them too, easy, and cheap!
One way to make shopping more bearable is to involve your toddler. When kids feel empowered and part of things, they feel their sense of purpose shining through. If you are at a point where you dread the grocery store because your toddler starts screaming as soon as you get to the parking lot, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Get your list out, load your child up in the trolley, and get counting as you go along. ‘Can you see where the bananas are?’ Wow, they can! Good job! Now let’s see if we can count 5, ‘Can you count 5 with me?’ OK, it might take you a little longer to get what you need, but is it better to do it in a peaceful manner, learning along the way? We think so!
This is sure to improve your toddler’s math skills!
Conclusion – Be Inventive
Those are my top 10 math activities for toddlers!
Now you can find ways to bring simple math activities into your daily lives, I’m certain your toddler is going to love numbers once you show them how fun it can be!
Remember to stay chilled when teaching your toddler. You know this already, right? Frustration when teaching young children can lead to your toddler avoiding, or even hating the learning process. Math takes a little while to sink in, but your toddler will get there. Perseverance!