Contrary to popular belief, math activities for toddlers are a lot more than using flashcards and colored chart paper to draw numbers. The various activities you could have your toddler participate in could help them understand basic mathematical concepts in no time. Besides, it’s not like designing and conducting these activities will require advanced skills on your part.
These activities need only a little time, effort, and objects you have lying around the house. Devote a few minutes every day to designing these activities and see to it that your toddler completes them. This will help prepare them for preschool and give them the confidence they need to tackle basic mathematics head-on.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best activities you can conduct at home to help your toddler learn math. We’ve also included some product reviews later on for toys that are great for teaching toddlers to count and identify numbers. Let’s dive in.
Concepts Of Math For Toddlers
Toddlers need only learn about some very basic mathematical concepts that involve critical thinking. Teaching your child these concepts and skills will set them nicely for higher education.
This is the first mathematical skill that most toddlers learn. The reason behind this could be that counting can be taught on anything. You can use household objects and toys to teach toddlers how to count. It’s not unusual for them to verbally identify numbers much before they can write these down using digits.
Using different toys or objects can teach your child to learn numbers that correspond to the quantities of these objects.
Addition And Subtraction
Now, this is a little advanced for toddlers, but it can’t hurt to introduce them to the concepts of addition and subtraction early on. For example, you could explain to them the idea behind combining and separating two objects or two sets of objects to obtain different results. They don’t have to memorize addition and subtraction; they just need to understand what these concepts entail.
Once your child learns how numbers correspond to quantities of objects, it won’t be too difficult for them to learn addition and subtraction.
Geometry is a huge part of mathematics and teaching your child different shapes will help them learn geometry better at school. Now, you don’t have to start with complex shapes like hexagons, etc. Instead, you can simply teach them about triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles.
Teaching them to identify these shapes all around them is sure to pique their curiosity and get them thinking critically.
Math Games And Activities
Let us explore some activities and games for toddlers to learn math at home.
Simple Counting Game
This is the most basic game you can play with your toddler to teach them about numbers. First, collect some small household objects or toys and a bag or container. Then, ask your toddler to pick up objects one by one and place them into the container by their side. As they do this, loudly count each object they put in.
After you name each number, ask them to do the same. Don’t go too high on the numbers, try going up till 3 first, then 5, then 10, and so on. Once you’re done with a set of toys, ask your child to try and perform this activity without your help as you supervise and correct them when necessary.
Draw Shapes On Blank Paper
You can use a blank piece of paper to draw simple shapes for your toddler to identify. For example, start with a circle, then move on to a square, rectangle, and triangle. As you draw each shape, tell them what the shape is called and have them repeat it back to you.
To make this activity more fun and engaging for your toddler, have them color in the shapes once you’re drawn them. Once they successfully identify the four shapes we mentioned above, ask them to draw these shapes by themselves. If they have difficulty drawing them, allow them to trace these shapes from a book or your drawings first.
Playdoh is for more than just playing around when your toddler is bored; it has good educational value as well. For math, you can use Playdoh to shape different digits and ask your child to recognize them. Once they recognize the number correctly, ask them to shape it with their piece of playdoh.
Once they grow confident about identifying numbers, give them a number and ask them to shape the playdoh according to the number and show it to you once they’re done. Since playdoh takes some time to shape, it’ll help your child fully absorb what number they’re working with and retain this information.
Use A Number Chart
You can prepare such a chart at home as it requires nothing but a pencil or sketch pen and blank chart paper. Then, you simply write down the numbers 1 – 9 on the chart paper in the largest font you can while allowing for enough space in between the numbers.
Around each number, draw a large circle that can accommodate few buttons or similar-sized objects. This activity aims to have your child recognize the numbers on the chart and place quantities of objects that correspond to the numbers on the chart within the circles.
If your child is not comfortable with recognizing numbers as yet, first teach them to do so by naming each number as you point them out on the chart. Once they’ve learned to identify the numbers, lay the chart flat on the ground and collect small toys or objects that could fit into your circles.
Then, ask your toddler to place the right number of objects in the right circle. For example, 5 buttons in the circle around the 5 digits that you’ve drawn. You can use different colors to paint different colors on the chart to make this activity more fun for your child and ask them to place objects of the same color in each circle.
Math Toys For Toddlers
Let us now discuss some of the best toys we could find online that help develops math skills among toddlers. Each of these toys is made by highly reputed brands and is safe for your toddler to play with.
1. Skoolyz Butterfly Counting Set
This multicolor counting set features toy butterflies and the numbers 1 – 8 arranged in the shape of a clock. You can either use this set to teach your child how to count, or to teach them basic addition and subtraction – or both. This set also doubles up as a fun puzzle since children can interlock the petal-shaped containers together in a circular pattern.
This set is so bright, colorful, and easy to play with that your toddler is sure to learn math on it. To start with, ask them to place the number of butterflies they think corresponds to the number printed in each petal container. Since there are 8 butterfly shapes in 8 colors, there are enough butterflies to fit into the containers.
Using this set will help your toddler improve their motor skills and hand-eye coordination over time as well. While this toy is simple to use for young toddlers, it has enough complexity for your child to learn new concepts even when they start schooling. The sensory butterflies are very well-designed and respond well to the lightest touch as well, making them fun for toddlers to play with.
- It contains brightly colored butterfly shapes that toddlers find attractive
- It’s tested by third-party laboratories and proven to contain only non-toxic materials
- It’s easy to use and designed for toddlers and elementary school kids
- It’s made out of durable plastic that doesn’t show signs of damage easily
- It teaches toddlers to identify colors as well
- The straps on the carry bag are not very sturdy
2. Edexeducation Math Cubes
These math cubes are perfect for teaching your toddler about the concepts of addition and subtraction. These blocks are brightly colored and very easy to play with for toddlers. These cubes provide a practical, visual aid to help your child how addition and subtraction work in everyday life.
It’s more interesting to teach toddlers mathematical concepts in this way rather than have them learn from books. Besides, your child is sure to enjoy building different shapes with the help of these blocks. The set contains 100 cubes in 10 different colors, so your child is free to mix and match when combining and separating them to create structures.
Additionally, these blocks are made using durable plastic that will stay in great condition for years to come. The reason these blocks are ideal for toddlers is that they don’t contain any sharp edges.
- It’s as much a fun toy as it is an educational one
- They help toddlers learn the concepts of addition and subtraction in a practical way
- They are durable and safe to play with
- They teach children about sequencing and geometry as well
- It’s a reasonably priced toy set
- Some of the blocks don’t fit well with blocks of other colors
Related: Best Educational Toys For Toddlers
3. Kenley Counting Ladybugs
This counting set consists of bright, beautiful wooden ladybugs with the numbers 1 – 10 printed boldly on their bellies. Basic mathematical skills such as counting and number recognition are made possible with this toy set from Kenley.
Interestingly, the ladybugs don’t just have different numbers printed on them, but they also have the same amount of spots corresponding to the numbers painted on their backs.
This adds a dimension to this toy and raises its educational value as your toddler can either match the digits to the spots or vice versa. This wooden set makes counting a fun activity for toddlers and allows them to play various math-related games. You can even teach fundamental concepts such as addition and subtraction with the help of these ladybugs.
The set also comes with a felt jar with an attached zipper. This makes for easy storage, and since the jar is so beautifully colored, it won’t take much coaxing to get your toddler to tidy up after they’re done using the set and put the ladybugs back into it. In learning to count with this toy, you’ll find that your child’s motor skills are slowly improving as well.
Moreover, they can add these ladybugs to their collection of other animal toys and makeup fun, imaginative games that keep them occupied for hours. Since this set is designed specifically for toddlers, we’re not surprised to find that it’s made out of only child-friendly materials. All 11 ladybugs are made from natural wood and painted on with non-toxic paint.
- It provides a fun method for toddlers of all ages to learn to count
- The ladybugs are all made out of wood and are painted in bright, beautiful colors
- The felt jar too is brightly colored and patterned with flowers, making it quite attractive
- The ladybugs are painted on with both digits and dots to help children identify numbers in more than one way
- All the materials used in this set are child-friendly
- It’s costlier than similar sets we’ve come across, considering it only consists of a set of ten bugs and a felt jar
- The paint doesn’t last as long as you’d expect for a toy this costly and wears off easily when exposed to moisture
- It’s not as intellectually stimulating as other sets we’ve featured in this article
4. Lydaz Wooden Puzzles Counting Toys
This wooden puzzle set is primarily designed to help a toddler learn to count. There are many parts of this set that can be used to teach toddlers how to count. The easiest counting aid here is the wooden sticks that are attached to the board.
These sticks are of different heights, which allows your child to add a different number of chips to each stick, starting with small numbers and working their way up to big numbers and vice versa. Since these wooden chips come in various bright colors, toddlers enjoy playing with them and learning to count with their help.
The set consists of a board, wooden chips, (both squares and discs), and cartoon cards. The discs serve two purposes in this set: you can either use them to teach your child or teach them about different colors. You can teach your toddler to count by adding one disc after another to the wooden sticks and numbering them out loud.
You can teach them about colors by matching the discs to the corresponding colors on the cartoon cards. These cartoon cards contain spaces for your child to add the discs to and complete exciting pictures of animals and more. Whether you use this set to teach your child about numbers or colors, one thing’s for sure, and it’s sure to spark their imagination and help them grasp new concepts.
In using this set, your child can improve their critical skills and operational ability as well.
- It’s a multifaceted set with various educational benefits for toddlers
- It works well to teach kids how to count and identify colors
- It’s very simple for toddlers to use and therefore enjoy playing with
- It’s made entirely out of wood and each part of the toy is rounded to avoid injury for toddlers
- The surface of each component is soft and smooth
- The cartoon cards are well illustrated and fun to use
- The wooden sticks come off after the first few uses
- The addition and subtraction cards are not of much use to toddlers as these are suitable for older kids
Related: Best Educational Shows For Toddlers
Since math is one of the basic skills that your toddler will need to master as they start schooling, conducting math activities for toddlers is very useful. These activities are both highly educational and a lot of fun for your little one to participate in. Besides, you don’t require any fancy tools and materials for these activities, just a few basic supplies and a few minutes of your time every day.
While counting is one of the key skills your toddler should be familiar with, it’s not only the only skill they should know as they grow older and join elementary school. Another one of these key skills is learning how to read and spell properly. Reading doesn’t take much time to learn, but it’s not unusual for children to struggle with their spelling.
However, if your child has difficulty reading confidently, you can use an online program such as the Children Learning Reading program that can teach them critical reading skills.
Over 5 million children have improved their reading and spelling using this app, so its popularity is no surprise. Each lesson on the app is conducted in less than 20 minutes which makes it easier for toddlers to absorb and retain information.
The program also includes access to workbooks to assess your child’s progress at every stage of the lessons. If your child performs well, they get awarded stickers that motivate them to study harder and perform well consistently. Additionally, you’ll find useful tips on the app to help your child revise their concepts at home and prepare for the upcoming lessons.