math

Teaching kiddos simple math concepts is definitely something you want to do long before they enter the classroom. There are so many ways we can embed math concepts in their daily lives like counting, measuring, identifying differences like more and less, and so many other activities which we can enjoy with our children alongside them.

 Math concepts implanted in our daily living is something that my family loves. I think it is my husband that has taught our children a love for math. He was raised doing math problems and exercising math concepts in his daily activities and special events such as helping his grandparents on both sides with special projects or home improvements, etc. I, on the other hand, grew up hating math and fighting it every step of the way. It wasn’t until I got older and began teaching that I really began to enjoy the simplicity of it in our everyday lives and especially in my classrooms. When I had my own children I really started to appreciate it as a valuable activity and learning lesson in just about everything we did.

I am going to share some quick and easy-to-set-up activities that help you introduce your child to some simple math concepts! We are going to start with NUMBERS and OPERATIONS!

 

WHAT ARE NUMBERS & OPERATIONS?

 
This means understanding the concept of number, quantity, order, ways of representing numbers, one-to-one correspondence (that one object corresponds to one number), and counting.
 
Some examples from the NAEYC include…
 
“You have two eyes, and so does your bear. Let’s count:–1, 2.”

“I have more crackers than you do. See, I have 1, 2, 3, and you have 1, 2. I’m going to eat one of mine. Now I have the same as you!”

“That’s the third time I’ve heard you say mama. You’ve said mama three times!”

 
When we understand math concepts, we can use what we know as we interact with our children each day.
 

WAYS WE CAN TEACH KIDS ABOUT NUMBERS & OPERATIONS

 
Kids need to be able to…
 
  • count forward and backward
  • recognize what a number looks like and name it
  • understand one-to-one correspondence (each number corresponds to one specific quantity)
 
Kids will do all of these things at different stages. Some kids will be fascinated with counting to 10 or 20 way before others are. Just because they can count up to 20, doesn’t mean they actually know what they are doing or what that means. Rote counting and matching numbers are only a beginning stage to start understanding numbers.
 

When we are exploring numbers with toddlers it is all through PLAY and everyday experiences and interactions! This is not the time to break out flashcards or do drill and kill rote learning activities.

The number activities we are sharing below are simple and playful. They help teach the math concepts shared above while allowing you to connect with your child.
 
Some of the concepts that toddlers will begin to understand are listed below…
 
  • They understand “more” and “enough” and “no more.”
  • They also may understand the words one and two or “pick two.”
  • Many two-year-olds can hold up two fingers to show you.
  • Some two-year-olds will be able to recite numbers words in sequence or may be able to identify some numbers.
  • Many will still recite numbers out of order.
 

There is a broad spectrum of abilities during the toddler years. Each toddler will be different. I encourage you to focus on exploring these math concepts and not worry about comparing your toddler with their peers or trying to rush them to mastery of these skills.

 

5 WAYS WE CAN EXPLORE NUMBERS WITH TODDLERS

1. Match Numbers

Matching numbers is a simple way to teach kids to recognize numbers and be able to say their names. These activities are great for helping kids learn to recognize, name, and match numbers.

 

Number Pocket Matching Game– Take a pocket made out of just about any material such as cloth, paper, foil, plastic, etc. and make it colorful and feel free to decorate it to entice our busy little ones to play this game, put a number on the outside of it, then use a tongue deppressor from the store and use a colorful marker to write a matching number on it. The object of the game is to place the stick with the appropriate number in the matching pocket. This game is one I got from Toddler Approved

 pocket number game
Number Bug Sticky Wall by, Toddler Approved
 

Leaf Number Movement Game by, Toddler Approved

Car Parking Match Game by Housing a Forest

Cup Number Matching Game by Laughing Kids Learn

Sticky Number Match Activity by Busy Toddler

Number Dig and Match– Happy Toddler Playtime

 

2. Sing rhymes and counting songs

Rhymes and songs are great for teaching math concepts! They really stick into memories and kids love using their hands to help them sing as well. When you pair music with movement, kids retain so much more! If you click on each rhyme or song, you’ll be taken to a YouTube video where you can listen or watch and sing along!
kids singing

Ten Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree

There Were Ten In The Bed

Two Little Blackbirds

Five Green, Speckled Frogs

The Ants Go Marching

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

One Potato, Two Potato

 
 

3. Count together

These simple, but fun activities are great for helping kids count from 1-10 and even higher in a playful way!

 Counting Movement Game by, Toddler Approved

Race to Lose a Tooth Counting Game by, Toddler Approved

Boat Sink Challenge by, Toddler Approved

Candy Cane Hunt and Match  by, Toddler Approved

Number Toy Hunt by, Toddler Approved

Counting Croquet by, Toddler Approved

Counting and Crushing Cars by, Toddler Approved

Pipe Cleaner Pick Up Sticks Game by, Toddler Approved

Lily Pad Number Hop by, Toddler Approved

4. Read books about numbers

A few of the super popular favorite books that explore numbers and counting! They are simple, colorful, fun and short to read.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My Very First Book of Numbers by Eric Carle

Eight Silly Monkeys by Steve Haskamp

 

5. Play with numbers

These number activities are great for helping your toddler explore numbers while also moving, exploring, and playing!

Check out the following games from Toddler Approved. It is one of my favorite websites especially for the really little ones in our lives. Kristina is one of my favorite moms out there!O:) 
 
 
 
 

EVERY DAY WAYS TO EMBED MATH INTO YOUR DAY

  • Count cars as you are driving
  • As you collect items at the grocery store, count them up
  • Go on a number hunt at the store, on a walk, or while you are driving
  • Count together and count the eggs that are added, tablespoons, etc.
  • Play “pick up 5” and see if everyone can pick up 5 toys in a messy room and put them away
  • Hunt for specific numbers on license plates
  • Workout together! Count jumping jacks, laps around the kitchen, and push-ups!
  • Build with blocks- work together to create a tower with a specific number of blocks and then count them together
  • Count when you are having a snack! Encourage your child to eat 5 raisins or 3 slices of apples. Count them up together.

 *As a teaching resource, I based a great deal of this post on the teachings of Kristine from Toddler Approved. I find that so much of what I have to say is duplicate that of her website or taken directly from her website for purpose of teaching my moms and dads out there and I just wanted to give her credit where it is due! She is awesome!O:)

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 ABOUT KELLI RIEBESEHL

Kelli is the creator of Shooting Stars And Little Toy Cars, a blog full of family, fabulous finds, and simple fun and learning. She is the mother of 4 children 3 girls and 1 boy, loves learning and playing even more. She was a teacher before staying home with her baby bunch. She believes that family activities, especially kid’s, don’t have to be difficult to have fun and that learning is always more memorable when introduced with play.

Some of the links in this post are our referral links (to products we not only believe in but also very happily use ourselves), meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you make a purchase. The commission we earn helps us to keep our blogs up and running smoothly. We thank you! O:)

All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child’s parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child’s pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

 

 
 
 
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