Do you want to teach math skills to your toddlers? Are you looking for ways to incorporate toddler maths activities into your child’s daily routine? Learn about interesting math games for toddlers through this informative article.
Children are naturally curious and looking for ways to make sense of the world. To do so, they learn math skills early on even though we may not realize it. As a parent, you need to help kids develop math skills from an early age. This is crucial for your child’s overall development and will help advance their logical and reasoning capabilities. The trick to teach your young children is not by forcing learning on them but by making math for toddlers hands-on through fun math activities.
We have compiled 31 toddler math games that will enhance early math skills. We have divided these games into various categories based on the key math skills your toddlers need to learn.
- Sorting & Sequencing games
- Shape games
- Pattern games
- Estimation games
- Number Sense games
These math games for toddlers are effective in teaching early math skills to your toddlers and giving them a head start in kindergarten. Moreover, these games are fun and engaging, and your kids will love these games.
Sorting & sequencing games
Sorting helps children develop the ability to compare, identify similarities and differences in objects, and organize them accordingly. It is also the precursor of algebra.
There are versions of sorting toddler maths games you can play. Let’s focus on the three skills for your little ones – color, shape, and size.
1. Color sorting
The color sorting game can be played in a variety of ways. Start with basic colors. You can use colored marbles, toys, blocks, beads, or buttons and have the child sort them out into groups. You can use colored baskets or colored paper, the same color as the object to place the sorted objects. Also, mix different items up to further enhance their understanding of colors.
- Once your child becomes proficient with the basic colors, include these:
- Include sorting colors based on shade: For example: light blue and dark blue, dark green, blue green and parrot green, lemon yellow and mustard yellow, etc.
- Have your child arrange colors from lightest to darkest to develop sequencing abilities through this toddler math activity.
2. Shape sorting
To play this math game for toddlers, you can have children sort items according to shape. You can get creative and cut various shapes out of different materials papers, felt, etc. You can also use readily available shape blocks, buttons of different shapes, etc. to play this toddler mathematics game. Another idea would be to make an outline of the shape and ask your child to place the same shaped objects inside the outline of the shape.
In the beginning, start with basic shapes – square, triangle, circle, and rectangle and use the same colors for the same shape. Keep the shapes uniform.
Once your child can recognize the basic shapes easily, include these:
- Gradually incorporate shapes such as the oval, heart, star, diamond, pentagon, hexagon, etc.
- To enhance understanding of shapes, have the same shapes in different colors.
- You can also vary the look of shapes such as have different sizes for square and circle, different lengths for rectangle, different kinds of shapes for triangles, different numbers of corners for starts, etc.
3. Size sorting
To play this math game for toddlers , incorporate a number of different instructions. Start by asking your kid to sort out blocks of different sizes according to size.
After this, take out one block from each sorted pile and ask your kids to arrange them size wise. For example: From biggest to smallest or from smallest to biggest both vertically and horizontally.
Next, ask them to stack the blocks on top of each other. Teach them how the base has to be the biggest and the best way to get a stable tower is to stack from biggest to smallest.
To further enhance the kids understanding of sizes, include these toddler math activities:
- Use marbles or pompom balls of different sizes and ask your kids to sort them according to size in the piles from smallest to biggest.
- Cut strings of different lengths and ask your kid to sort them based on the length from the shortest to the longest.
- Make three squares on the floor and ask your child to sort out their toys according to size, the smallest in the first box, medium sizes in the second box, and biggest sizes in the third box.
4. Combination sorting
Once your child is proficient in the above sorting skills, you can combine them together to enhance your child’s sorting and sequencing skills. There are various sorting toys readily available in the market that you can use as well. Here are some ideas for you:
Mix shapes in different sizes together but keep one color for the same shape. The child will need to sort the color and the shape first and then stack them according to size.
Use blocks of different sizes and shapes and create and build objects like houses, walls, etc. for these fun toddler math games.
Read about how young children approach math.
Everything in the world is made up of shapes and an understanding of shapes helps children organize visual information and differentiate objects around them. Identification of shapes forms the basis for all other activities such as recognizing alphabets, numbers, and understanding the function and properties of objects. It is also the beginning of geometry.
These early childhood math games will help them understand the characteristics of each shape.
5. Shape Explorer
For this math games for toddlers, you need to draw outlines of the shapes on the ground with chalk or use scotch tape to construct shapes. You will ask the child to find various objects from around the house that correspond to these shapes. For example: balls, marbles, plates will go inside the circle shape, book, birthday card, remote will go in the rectangle shape, coasters, the cushion could go in square shape and a triangle ruler, birthday cap will go in the triangle box.
Your child will have so much fun figuring out the shapes of objects.
6. Shape maze
Shape maze is a fun hands-on math activity for toddlers to develop a keen sense of shape identification. If you have space and the weather is good, you can play it outdoors. For the outdoor version of this game, draw shapes on the ground together with your child. Use different colors for different shapes. No need to worry if you don’t have space. You can play this game indoors. Just stick cut out of shapes on the floor.
Now, ask your child to step on a circle at one end. Now, they must reach the other side by just stepping, jumping, or hopping only on the circles. Then, start again with a different shape.
You can also step out of the game by calling out the different shapes with every step. In this case, the child will have to step on the shape you called out and move ahead to reach the other side.
7. Shape hunt
For this math games for toddlers, you will make a cut out of the basic shapes on a stiff paper or a cardboard sheet and hand it to the child. The goal of this game is to explore and identify as many shapes as possible corresponding to the cut outs.
This game can be played both indoors and outdoors. You can even play it as you are walking to the park or school. You can also ask your child to collect a few items corresponding to the shapes like pebbles, toys, leaves, twigs, etc.
While playing this toddler math game, ask your child to be creative, and teach them how to observe keenly. For example: A coat hanger has a triangle shape, the picture frame may be a rectangle, and the surface of the table may be a square, etc. You can also compete with your child to make the game more fun. You can also point out various objects and ask your child what shape the object fits into.
8. Shape puzzles
There are various kinds of shape puzzles available online for toddlers. You can also make these puzzles on your own. Play these puzzle math games for toddlers with your child to improve their understanding of shapes. Here are some ideas for you.
Cut out different shapes using colored paper. Trace the outlines of these shapes on a chart paper. Make sure to highlight the outlines clearly. Now hand over the shapes to your child and ask them to place the shape correctly in the right space and the right angle in the chart paper.
Cut out large shapes and cut them into smaller pieces for this math activity for toddlers. Use different colors for different shapes. Now shuffle the pieces together and ask your child to make the complete shapes again by arranging the pieces.
Have kids match pictures of objects to their corresponding shapes. Keep basic shapes upfront and have the child sort out pictures into the correct shape. For example: Picture of sun, ball, pumpkin goes in the circle shape, ice-cream cone, traffic cone goes in the triangle shape, etc. etc.
Learn more on how to teach math to kids
9. Making shapes
In this fun toddler mathematics game, you will build and create shapes with your child. It is a step up from identifying and sorting shapes. Get creative and use a variety of materials to make and learn shapes. We have listed some ways to play this game.
- Use Legos and blocks to build shapes.
- Construct shapes using a toothpick, matchstick, or Q-tip.
- Use playdough to create shapes.
- Use an elastic band to demonstrate shapes.
10. Shape manipulation
In this math games for toddlers, you and child will work together to build various objects. You will join different shapes together to form meaningful objects like fish, flowers, houses, etc. This game will enhance creativity and understanding of shapes in children.
You can also play a matchstick version of this game where you will manipulate the stick to create different shapes.
Learning about patterns is a basic math skill that will help your kids develop more advanced math concepts later on. It will be helpful to recognize patterns while solving math problems.
You can use an infinite number of objects to teach patterns to your child. Start with movement & sound followed by indoor and outdoor activities.
Start with a AB pattern. Once your child is fluent in this, develop the following pattern understanding in children: AABB, ABC, AAB, ABB.
11. Learn pattern through movement and sound
For this toddler maths games, you can conduct games with your child that incorporate patterns. For example: Clap Stomp Clap Stomp (AB pattern), stand, jump, sit (ABC pattern).
12. Indoor Pattern games
For this math activity for toddlers, ask the child to make or continue patterns based on the correct sequence. You can use a multitude of items like cloth pins, stickers, blocks, pom pom balls, marbles, toys, stamps, etc. Try our various versions such as making patterns based on color, shape, type, function, etc.
13. Outdoor Pattern games
You can also learn patterns when you are outdoors with your kids. You can even turn it into math games for toddlers. When you are outdoors on the beach or the park, you can collect leaves, twigs, pebbles, shells, etc. and teach your child to make patterns using these.
Once your child is proficient in making and completing patterns, you can also ask them to fill in a missing pattern to further enhance their logical skills.
Estimation is an important part of our everyday lives and is a crucial part of the decision making process. Not all questions have accurate answers. Learning to estimate correctly helps prevent errors and mistakes. In math, it also helps students understand if the answer is reasonable. Utilize these fun math games for toddlers to develop their estimation skills.
Play guess works toddler mathematics activity. You can use various objects to play this game. Try to incorporate different qualities like length, quantity, weight, volume, etc. Here are some examples:
- Have two baskets with marbles in different quantities. Let your child see it for a few seconds and guess which basket has more marbles.
- You can also have differently shaped jars filled with water and ask the child to guess which has more liquid.
- You can have strings of different length and ask the child which would wrap the ball perfectly.
- When you are outdoors, you can ask your child which tree or house is the tallest.
Ask your child to use comparison terms: This jar is heavier than this jar, or this building is shorter than this one, etc.
15. Fit the Boxes
This math idea for toddlers is based on the concept of the Russian doll. To play this game, you will need to collect boxes of various sizes. Have a minimum of 6 boxes of varying sizes such that one box can fit inside the other. The objective of the game will be to fit all the boxes in the largest box according to size. You can also play this game with a Tupperware set or a set of differently sized glasses or bowls.
16. Daily activities fun
Turn day to day activities into toddler math games. Here are some examples:
- Bake cookies together with your child in fun shapes. Turn it into a game and work together with your child to estimate how many cookies to bake for the whole family, how much ingredients to put, how much choco chips to add, how many will fit in the tray etc.
- During laundry, ask your child how many socks may be there in the pile, how many of daddy’s shirts are there, how much detergent to put, and will the clothes fit in the washing machine, etc.
Learn about fun ways to get your child to love math.
Math is based on numbers and it only makes sense to help kids develop number sense early on. Without number sense, students will face difficulty in developing math foundations. Number sense helps children identify and understand the relationship between numbers and define quantity.
Below, we have a variety of math games for toddlers to improve number sense in different areas such as number identification, counting, and number relationship.
17. Counting with Music
Singing songs and rhymes is a great way to introduce numbers to your kids and fun counting activities for toddlers. To turn this activity into a game, you can include clapping and other actions. For example, showing one finger when number 1 comes in the song or jumping one time to denote number 1. You can play this anytime and anywhere. You can refer to online videos for catchy tunes.
18. Counting Everywhere
Turn daily activities into a fun counting toddler maths game. This will reinforce numbers in children. Count everything with your child as you go about your daily activities from the number of houses, the number of street lamps to the number of flowers, and numbers of steps. You can also play this game indoors and ask the child to count the number of spoons, plates, toys etc.
Learn more about when do kids start counting
19. Number sorting
Number sorting is a great way to develop number identification in kids. For this toddler math activities, hand your kids with a deck of number flashcards or number blocks. Ask the kids to sort out the numbers and group the same numbers together.
Once your child is proficient in this, you can combine a variety of mediums like paper number cutouts, number candles, number blocks, playing cards, UNO cards, etc. to enhance your kid’s understanding of number shapes even with slight variations.
20. Number sequencing
Sequencing is important when it comes to learning numbers. Your child must be able to understand that 4 is greater than 3. You can use number blocks, number cards, or number cut-outs and have your child arrange numbers from 1-9 in this number activity for toddlers. Also, ask your child to say the numbers aloud as they make the sequence.
Another idea for sequencing would be to create towers using the numbers of blocks. You can teach your kids both ascending and descending order.
21. Number chase
This is a fun math game for toddlers to practice numbers. You will take number flashcards 1 to 6 and stick them around the room. Get a big size dice and ask your child to roll the dice. Whatever comes on the face of dice, the child will have to figure out which number it is and touch the correct number.
Your kids will have so much fun running around.
22. Number Bingo
Number bingo is so much fun and a great way to improve number identification skills. Make a bingo card with numbers from 1 to 10 in scrambled order. You will then hand over the bingo card and a pencil to your kids. Call out numbers and the child will have to cross out those numbers. You can watch over your child to ensure they are crossing off the correct number.
When all the numbers are crossed off, your child will yell “Bingo”. Have a small treat ready for your child to celebrate.
23. Number Stepping
This is a great number based activity for toddlers to have fun with number identification. To play this game, you and your child can draw numbers in colorful chalk on the ground. You can also play this game in the playground or beach and draw numbers with a twig in the sand.
To play this game,you will give your child instructions like: Jump on number 1, now hop to number 3, go to number 6 and clap 2 times etc. You can also play turn this into a hopscotch game.
24. Shoot the number of balls
This is a math game for toddlers to enhance number identification skills. To play this game, you need a hoop and eleven balls. Write the numbers from 1 – 10 with a marker on the balls. Now ask your child to shoot ball number 7. The child should recognize the number 7 and choose the correct ball to shoot.
Give your child points for each clean shot and ask them to keep a count of the points.
25. Sticky number
For this game, you will take a chart paper and make tables. In each box, make dots to represent numbers from 1 to 10. You also need cut-outs of numbers and a glue pen.
The goal of this toddler maths game is to stick the number cutouts in the boxes corresponding to the number of dots. You kids will have fun counting, guessing the number, and using glue to paste the numbers.
26. Match the objects
This math games for toddlers helps them understand the relationship between numbers and quantity. To play this game, you need to make a number chart from 1 to 10 and place them on the floor. You can have different colors for each number. The goal of this game is that the child must sort out various objects and place the number of objects corresponding to the number. For example: In number 1, they will place 1 object, in number 5, they will place 5 objects, etc.
You can use various objects like blocks, dice, buttons, toys, paper clips, and stickers, etc. to keep the game interesting. Once your child masters placing objects in sequence, you can jumble up the sequence of numbers.
27. Fill the basket
To play this toddler mathematics game, you need a variety of small objects like marbles, pom pom balls, buttons, paper clips, etc. You will also need 10 baskets with numbers attached to them from 1- 10. The objective of the game will be to add the correct number of similar objects in the correct numbered baskets.
For example: In the basket numbered 3, the kid will add 3 marbles, 3 paperclips, 3 buttons, etc. This game is a great way to help children see how numbers can be applied to reference quantity for a variety of objects.
Learn about experimental learning activities for kids
28. Odd and Even
To play this toddler math activities, you need sets of two differently colored blocks, one color for odd and another color for even. You will write or stick numbers from 1 to 10 on the blocks.
You will ask your child to sort out the balls in two columns based on color and in order of number sequence. Your child will have a column of 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 for odd numbers and a column of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 for even numbers. You will then ask the child to place small objects like paper clips, marbles, stickers, etc. beside each number block such that beside the number 2 block, there will be two objects, and beside the number 3 block, there will be 3 marbles. Arrange the objects in pairs for the higher numbers.
Though this math game for toddlers, you can show your child how even numbers always have pairs and how odd numbers always have one left out.
Arithmetic teaches kids number relationship and how to manipulate them and is an important math lesson plans for toddlers. It is also the basis of all mathematical operations. It teaches problems solving ability which is important for life as well.
For toddlers, practice addition, and subtraction from 0 to 10. Start with subtraction only when the child has mastered addition.
28. Arithmetic with Real objects
Practice adding and subtracting using real objects that are of interest to your child. This helps children understand arithmetic visually and deepen their understanding of arithmetic concepts. Please the object in front of your child and ask them an arithmetic question. For example: Add 2 and 3. So, the child places two objects first, then takes another three and counts them together to get 5.
29. Shopping game
Play this pretend shopping math games for toddlers using real money. You and your kid can take turns being the shopkeeper and the customer. You can use real bills or coins to play his game. Have toys and small objects from around the house as objects for sale.
Ask your child (posing as a shopkeeper), how much for the toy car is or how much for 3 marbles. Pay your child and have them return the change. You can also ask for an object and ask the cost, again add another object to your shopping basket, and your child what the total amount is. This is such a fun way to practice arithmetic.
30. Snake and Ladders
Snakes and ladders is a classic board game and a fun way to teach basic arithmetic to your kids. To play this game and teach math for toddlers, you will need a snakes and ladders board and a pair of dice.
To play this math game, you and your kid will take turns rolling the dice. You can also make it a fun family activity. You will ask your child to add the numbers on the faces of the dice together and move the piece that many places forward. The first one to reach 100 wins the game.
31. Arithmetic with stickers
Arithmetic with stickers is a fun toddler maths activities to deepen understanding of arithmetic. You can use a board or chart for this. Write the numbers to add with a marker or you can also use sticky numbers.
Ask your child to paste the correct number of stickers corresponding to the first number. They will then add stickers if it is an addition question or remove stickers if it is subtraction. Finally, your child will count the stickers to get the answer. Keep golden star stickers ready for every correct answer.
We hope that these playful math tasks will help your toddler develop early math skills and enable them to think mathematically.
Tips on playing math games for toddlers:
- Keep the instructions easy to understand, simple and basic
- Don’t take the games too seriously. The primary aim is to have fun
- Be open to mistakes and gently point your child in the right direction
- Make the games colorful, bright, and engaging
- Praise and reward your child’s progress
- Progress gradually and let the child develop at their own pace
- Be creative and change the games regularly to prevent boredom
- Make use of math apps and games to simultaneously to integrate technology
When it comes to math lesson plans for toddlers, focus on exploring math through daily interactions, playtime, crafts, and engaging fun math games. Always make fun and play your main motive. Children actually learn math through interactions just as they learn a language.
It is essential to create a strong math foundation from an early age to prevent math anxiety and struggle with math in later years. Teaching toddler maths math early on has many wonderful benefits. It enhances the way children experience their surroundings and teaches them the ability to think and reason. These same skills are needed later to solve complex math problems and are useful for making meaningful decisions and finding solutions to problems in life.
The math games for toddlers we have outlined above cover all basic math skills for toddlers like sorting, sequencing, shapes, patterns, estimation, and numeral abilities like number identification, counting, and basic arithmetic. There are perfect for your little ones to begin learning math.
Your toddler will have so much fun with these interesting math ideas for toddlers.
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