Math for toddlers doesn’t have to be boring! Math activities for toddlers are a fun way to show young children that math is all around them and how to use it in everyday play. Preschool math books, like The GIANT Encyclopedia of Math Activities for Children 3 to 6, are a great resource for parents and teachers looking for exciting ways to bring math to their little learners.
Creating and recognizing patterns is a basic math skill that toddlers can easily grasp and use to create a foundation for further math learning. Learning about patterns is a simple way to introduce math for toddlers to your child and actively engage their interest. Patterns can also introduce your child to the concept that math can be found in everyday activities such as art, music, and movement activities.
Here are a few math activities for toddlers that will have your child creating and learning in no time!
- Personal-size pizza crusts
- Tomato sauce
- Toppings: pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, ham, and so on
What to Do:
- Five each child a pizza crust. Invite the children to cover their crust with sauce and cheese.
- Demonstrate how to put the toppings on the crust to create a pattern, such as sausage, pepperoni, pineapple; sausage, peperoni, pineapple.
- Encourage the children to create their own pizza patterns.
- When everyone’s patterns are complete, cook the pizzas and enjoy!
Moving in Patterns
What to Do:
- After children are familiar with the concept of patterns, talk about making patterns with one’s body. The group’s first movement pattern can be an easy-to-follow AB pattern: tap legs, clap, tap legs, clap, tap legs, clap, and so on.
- Introduce a few more AB patterns:
- Clap, stomp (your foot), clap, stomp, clap, stomp
- Head, shoulders, head, shoulders, head, shoulders
- Snap (fingers), clap, snap, clap, snap, clap
3. Invite the children to think of a few patterns for the group to follow.
4. After the children seem to be doing well with the AB patterns, change to more complex patterns each month (ABC, ABCD, AABAAB, and so on). For example:
- Clap, jump, tap (thighs), clap, jump, tap, clap, jump, tap
- Head, shoulders, knees, toes, heads, shoulders, knees, toes, head, shoulders, knees, toes
- Head, head, knees, head, head, knees
5. Again, invite the children to make up patterns for the group to do. You might want to divide them into groups to make up patterns and practice them.
- Large paper
- Colored paper or markers in at least 2 different colors
- Butcher paper (optional)
What to Do:
- Divide the class into two (or more) groups (group A and group B, or more).
- Assign group A one color (for example, blue) and group B another color (for example, yellow). Group A makes all blue pictures and group B makes all yellow pictures. For older children, you may want to have more groups and more colors. So they can make more complex patterns.
- Give the children the option of making their pictures independently and then mounting them on butcher paper, positioning themselves by standing in a particular order; such as ABABAB, or creating their murals directly on butcher paper.