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6 amazing and fun math games for toddlers that really work

Toddlers love to explore new things, which makes each day an adventure and a learning opportunity. Teachable moments are all around, and it’s never too soon to introduce early math concepts to young children. Math games for toddlers are a wonderful teaching tool and a fun way to have kids explore foundational math concepts like counting, number and shape recognition, sorting, size, and more. However, teaching math to toddlers can be difficult. Repetition is key when it comes to teaching new things to toddlers, and when math games are fun and educational, kids will want to play them again and again. Here are six math games your toddler will actually enjoy.

Teaching math to toddlers

Everyday math games

Math is all around us, from the numbers on the clock to picking out a dozen doughnuts at the bakery. A busy day at home and on the go is full of teachable moments to touch on important beginning math skills like counting. Try these activities the next time you and your toddler are out and about.

  • How many? – From FitBits to apps, adults can be obsessed with their daily step count. Counting steps with toddlers though teaches a vital math skill. Make counting a game by counting the steps you climb, red cars on the road, or how many dogs you see on a walk.
  • Set the Table – Older kids may groan at this chore, but getting the table ready for a meal is a learning experience for toddlers from counting out the correct number of plates and utensils to shapes.

Board games

There are a lot of benefits to playing board games with children and toddlers aren’t too young. Board games introduce toddlers to important math concepts and are a great way to teach counting as well as shape and number recognition. These board games are a perfect fit for little hands and curious minds.

  • Chutes & Ladders – Kids learn number recognition as they roll the dice or use a spinner. Players then must count to move the correct number of spaces.
  • Number and shape bingo – Bingo is a popular game spanning the ages. It’s also a wonderful learning tool, especially for math. Number and shape bingo is ideal for toddlers. As kids get older, addition, subtraction, and multiplication bingo help kids learn important facts.

Sorting fun

Learning how to sort objects by different attributes is an early math concept for kids. This can be done with things around the home like sorting M&Ms by color before eating them. Toddlers can sort their stuffed animals by size when sitting them on the bed. Making cleanup time a game becomes educational when you have toddlers sort their toys by type and size. Another fun way to get toddlers sorting is with toys like this Learning Resource Farmer’s Market.

toddler learning to count with an abacus
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Keep counting

Learning to count is an important math skill, as is number recognition and concept. Spending the day counting like the Count from Sesame Street is an excellent way to get toddlers counting. If parents need a break, toddler toys that encourage counting, add these educational counting toys to the playroom.

Puzzles

Problem-solving skills are crucial to math and puzzles are ideal for not only getting little hands working but also for developing critical thinking skills. The best puzzles for toddlers are floor puzzles with large pieces and chunky wooden table puzzles. Solving number and shape puzzles together make for fun math games for your toddler. Here are some to have on hand for your toddler.

toddler learning how to play chess
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Chess

Teach a toddler chess? Why not? Studies have shown that teaching young children to play chess has quite a lot of benefits, including better success in the classroom. The game of chess contains a lot of math fundamentals. While most kids are exposed to the game at age 7, there have been children as young as 2 who have been introduced to the game. If you decide to try and teach your toddler chess, it is best to keep it simple and not stress. There’s plenty of time to learn how to play the game.

Are math apps okay for toddlers?

Of course, there are math apps for smartphones and iPads specifically designed for toddlers and preschoolers. The problem is the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend more than an hour a day of screen time for toddlers and this includes television watching. While math apps come in handy when waiting in the doctor’s office, stick to hands-on math games for toddlers whenever possible.

Choking hazard

Always remember with any math games for toddlers to be sure the pieces aren’t choking hazards. If the game pieces are on the smaller size, always have adult supervision around when playing and secure the pieces when the game is over.

The toddler stage is a wonderful one. Toddlers are inquisitive about the world around them. It’s never too soon to introduce early math skills to your toddler, either. Math games for toddlers help build a strong foundation that teachers add to when it’s time for preschool. Teaching math to toddlers through play also shows kids the subject can be fun, which is something kids tend to forget as they get older. Try these cool math games with your toddler. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll both have with these early math concepts.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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