12 Hands-On Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Kids as young as 12 months can begin to recognize numbers and number patterns, which is one of the amazing things about the human brain. If you’re looking for way to inspire a love of numbers, these math activities for toddlers are the way to go. They’ll entertain your kiddo…while also letting them explore foundational math skills, such as counting, ordering, number recognition, patterns, measurement, and shapes, that will help to set them up for success as future students.
So, if your early math memories are all dusty chalkboards and rote worksheets…think again! Math for toddlers and preschoolers can be far more fun. The proof? These 12 fun activities that you can do at home…with minimal materials!
Photo & activity: Happy Toddler Playtime
This fun game will help your child learn to read the numbers on a die as well as to count in sequence…all while having a blast. In this toddler math activity, toddlers roll dice, and then build their duck a path with that number of tiles. Bonus: It also teaches taking turns!
Photo & activity: Fun-A-Day
This ice cream math game for toddlers will help kids to sort numbers, giving them great counting skills while also practicing fine motor skills. Here’s how it works: Start with cut-outs of cones, each labeled with a number. Then, tots stack each one high with the right number of “scoops” (aka colorful pompoms).
Photo & activity: mathkidsandchaos.com
A number puzzle—which encourage kids to match a certain number of items to its corresponding numeral or number name—is a wonderfully simple math activity for toddlers. It helps little ones learn the different ways to recognize numbers.
Photo & activity: theresjustonemommy.com
The kitchen can double as a fantastic math lab! The proof? Math activities for preschoolers and toddlers like this one that introduces the concept of volume. All you need are some measuring cups and spoons and something to measure (like dry rice or beans). From there, there are lots of ways to teach kids about volume, fractions, and more!
Photo & activity: Little Bins for Little Hands
Early learners will love any excuse to grab their pile of colorful counters and learn the beginning skills of how to measure objects. Have your child measure their feet and hands and maybe even a family pet.
Photo & activity: The STEM Laboratory
This STEM activity will have your kids learning that weight can be measured. Even better? They get to put on their thinking caps and practice creating a hypothesis about which objects weigh more or less than another.
Photo & activity: Busy Toddler
For kids with lots of energy, this giant shape-matching math game for toddlers will help them to get their bodies moving as they crawl around on the floor finding all the objects and matching them to their traced-out shapes. Bonus point if you can have your child learn the names of each shape!
Image & activity: File Folder Fun
Tangrams are a classic toddler and preschool math activity! For those unfamiliar, it involves combining and moving lots of little shapes to make a complete picture. For example, preschoolers look at an image of a boat or a flower and then try to copy it by using the smooth, colorful, flat pieces of wood or paper (a printable is available here).
Photo & activity: Brain Brigade
The biggest challenge with math activity for toddlers is…not eating all of your materials! Grab some marshmallows (big and small) and a pile of toothpicks and then give your budding engineer some math challenges. Watch as your kids build amazing sculptures all inspired by math.
Photo & activity: Coffee Cups & Crayons
Recognizing patterns is an important skill for any mini mathematician. Try going on a nature walk to explore the patterns beyond your front door. After you observe patterns in nature, you can create your own patterns using the natural goodies you pick up along the way.
Photo & activity: Frugal Fun 4 Boys
Got some energetic kids in your house? Have them get out their energy while thinking about numbers with this fun throwing game that will have your kids adding and subtracting in no time. For little ones who aren’t ready for adding and subtracting, you can adapt the game to help teach number recognition. Instead of pinning an addition or subtraction equation to each bucket, pin a singular number.
Believe it or not this childhood classic doubles as a math activity for toddlers and preschoolers! Chalk out some fun diagrams and have everyone take a turn as they learn to count and identify numbers while jumping and playing too. See? Math is fun!
More Toddler Activities:
- Indoor Toddler Activities
- Toddler Art Projects
- Educational Apps for Toddlers
- Outdoor Activities for Toddlers
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.