Maths Activities for Toddlers

Teaching strong math skills, competence, and confidence begins at a young age. You may think that teaching math skills to a baby or toddler sounds far-fetched or that it is impossible to get them to sit still long enough for anything to sink in. However, as it turns out, teaching of all kinds can take place during their play, including math skill. 

If a toddler finds something fun, it will stand out in their mind, and they will be more likely to remember it. Math skills of all kinds can be incorporated into toys, games, and everyday interactions where you are spending time with them, even for just a few minutes. It does not have to be overwhelming or scary for either of you. Take a look below to see what key math skills to start focusing on and some activities to make learning them fun. 

Key Math Skills for School

Of course, before you can start incorporating math skills into a toddler’s play, it’s important to identify what skills you should be focusing on. Here are a few key math skills:

  • Number sense. Learning the order that numbers go in. For example: 1, 2, 3, and so on and then eventually learning how to count backward as well. Simple counting activities are easy ways to improve a childs math skill.
  • Representation. This involves using real-world objects to help math become applicable. Household items like stacking blocks or stuffed animals are really good ways to 
  • Spatial sense. This includes identifying shapes, understanding different directions (such as “over” and “under), and understanding themselves in relation to the world and their surroundings. For example: “Am I taller or shorter than this object?”
  • Patterns. Identifying when things are repeating, whether it be repeating colors, shapes, or numbers, is a skill that is a foundation for many other math concepts they will learn as they make their way through school. 
  • Measurement. This includes measurement of time, measurement of length or height, and the measurement of weight. 
  • Estimation. Most young children don’t have the capacity to do this with much accuracy, but it is important to at least introduce them to it and get them used to the vocabulary.
  • Problem-solving. Introducing children to different ways to solve the same problem. 

How to Help Your Child Develop Early Math Skills

Helping your child develop early math skills does not have to be grand or expensive. In fact, you can use everyday activities and household chores around the house to get them started:

  • For example, when you are sorting laundry, have them sort it into piles. To keep it simple, give them just two things to sort, such as socks and shirts. Then once they have sorted them into piles, have them guess (or estimate) which pile is bigger. 
  • Another thing you can do is introduce them to the calendar and how we mark times and dates. For example, each day, while pointing at the correct date, say, “Today is [insert day of the week], the date is [insert the date] of [insert the month].” Doing this is a great way to not only introduce them to dates but also number sense. 

Ways to Make Math Fun for Babies and Toddlers

When it comes to babies and young toddlers, using music is one great way to help teach math concepts. Many songs help teach numbers and number sense as well as spatial sense, including the following:  

  • “The Ants Go Marching Two by Two” 
  • “Ten in Bed”
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”

Take your baby or toddler on a walk, and let them pick up things like leaves, rocks, or grass. As they show it to you, tell them what shape it is. When you pass signs or houses, point out the shapes to them. This could look like, “That house has a triangle at the top.” Or “That sign is a square/circle/triangle/rectangle.”

Hands-On Math Activities for Preschoolers

As mentioned previously, one of the best ways to teach concepts to young children is to make it fun, and what better way to have fun than by playing games, reading, and singing? With that in mind, some games and preschool level math activities you can do include the following:

Activities for Teaching Patterns

To teach patterns, read the following books: 

  • Ten Little Rabbits
  • Max Found Two Sticks
  • Close, Closer, Closest
  • Nature’s Paintbrush: The Patterns and Colors Around You 

You can also use an ice tray and buttons and have alternating colors to a low number, such as five. For example: black button, white button, black button, white button. Repeat the pattern several times to your child and see if they pick up on the pattern. 

Activities for Teaching Spatial Sense

To teach spatial sense,build with blocks, create different shapes and buildings with those leftover cardboard boxes, or do simple puzzles. 

You can also narrate what your child is doing when you go to the park. This could look like the following: “You’re climbing up the ladder, you’re going down the slide, you’re climbing into the tunnel.”

Activities for Teaching Problem-Solving

To teach problem-solving, dump the shapes out of a shape sorter and let your child figure out which shape goes into which hole or whether certain shapes can still fit through differently shaped holes. 


Teaching young children early math skills can be done at home and does not have to be complicated. Include your toddler in everyday chores around the house, such as laundry, to help them start distinguishing between different sizes and learning how to guess or estimate. Use an ice tray and buttons and books to help them recognize patterns so they are more likely to see them in the world around them. Simple activities really help children understand a math concept and improve their math skill.

Make a game of learning-use blocks and playtime at the park to help teach spatial sense. Teach babies and toddlers number sense with music. When you go for a walk, point out the different shapes of the leaves, rocks, and signs that you see along the way. The world is full of simple yet effective ways to instill a strong math foundation in your children!

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Maths Activities for Toddlers

Maths Activities for Toddlers