You don’t have to be a “math person” to help your child build on their natural skills and interests as you play and talk together through everyday life. Helping your child make sense of the numbers and categories all around them will boost their brain development as well as their understanding and confidence.
Even babies can do simple math as they notice different sizes and patterns. Math for young children like comparing sizes and shapes through games can be fun and help teach babies to count.
Watch the video and explore our tips below to learn everyday ways to count, group and compare.
Tap your baby’s tummy, clap their hands together to the rhythm of a song, or rock them as you sing a lullaby.
For example, count as you wiggle each of their toes or as you gently bounce them in your lap.
Help your baby explore things that are the same and different. Let them shake containers that make various sounds or touch contrasting fabrics, like smooth and scratchy. Talk about the differences.
For example, use a container to scoop and dump water in the bathtub. Use words like “in,” “out,” “full” and “empty.”
Your toddler may be interested in which things are “big” or “little.” You can also talk to them about whether they want “more” or “less.”
Point out shapes and describe them to your child. "Look, that window is a square with four sides." See if they can find and name shapes around them.
Make a game of matching and sorting objects into groups. Arrange them by color, shape or size. For example, find as many green things as you can, then sort them from smallest to largest.
Find safe ways for your toddler to participate while you are in the kitchen, like counting and helping to measure ingredients.
Encourage your toddler to stack blocks or other objects like plastic cups. Talk to them about what they’re doing.
Have your toddler repeat the pattern and dance with you.
Basics Insights is a free text messaging program for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers that sends science-based tips to boost your child's development.