When and Where to Begin

Under 24 months

It turns out our first math and science lessons happen long before our first day of school. Years before entering preschool children are able to process math and science– even before being able to speak.

Intuitive Math

Studies show that toddlers are intuitively drawn to quantities, patterns, shapes, rhythms, symmetry, and ratios. They begin to start absorbing these concepts long before they can express them verbally or through numbers and counting.

A recent study done by Michele Mazzocco, a professor of child development at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, suggests the key to mathematical and scientific early learning is knowing how to talk to kids and incorporate preschool math activities in an every day way. “It’s never too early,” Mazzocco said. “The question is the mode of delivery as opposed to the content [of these lessons.]” It’s too much to expect for an infant to solve an algebra problem, of course, but children start absorbing a lot of information from their environments early on—and they’re picking up a lot more than we give their credit for, Mazzocco added.

By accentuating those more intuitive mathematical concepts you build a solid foundation for your children to feel comfortable, confident, and curious when it comes to math and science.

Preschool Math Activities Ideas

Here’s a list of small daily steps that can make a big difference in kids math skills:

1. Language:

Believe it or not saying something as simple as, ‘I’m terrible at math’ to your young one can shape their own feelings toward the subject. Try and remain positive and open-minded and you can expect your child to do the same. When interacting with numbers of any kind, show enthusiasm. As simple as that.

2. Shapes:

Craft shapes of all colors, sizes, and textures. Cut out hearts, stars, triangles, from whatever material you can find. Sort them in whatever way you’d like, taking time to vocalize the similarities and differences between them.

Point out the shapes all around you, from oranges to windows, the importance of these preschool math activities are to show your toddler math is all around us!

3. Sorting:

Try sorting food, toys, clothes and anything else in front of you by color, shape, pattern, type. Don’t forget to count while you’re at it!

4. Size:

Ordering from small to big, big to small with everything, is an easy size, ratio, and spatial exercise.

5. Patterns:

Patterns are like puzzle pieces, mix and match them however you please and observe the difference and similarities in each. Use whatever material is around to create simple patterns and ask your child to replicate them. A simple preschool math activities example, your afternoon snack: carrot, apple, carrot, apple… what comes next?

6. Counting:

The concept of numbers forms much earlier in children than the concept of being able to identify an exact quantity with it’s correlating number. Introduce children to numbers by counting counting everything, especially things in groups, these preschool math activities help little ones first learn there are different numbers associated with different quantities and then begin to grasp which number represents how much.