Math games for toddlers are an effective tool for parents and teachers who want to put some fun back into learning. Math doesn’t have to be boring, and many math activities for toddlers actually include other elements of learning such as literacy and even art integration. Sharing math for toddlers with your little ones is a wonderful experience, especially when you throw in some movement and let them explore the world around them, letting them learn in a different way.

Many preschool math books focus only on the content itself and not the children learning it. Up, Down, Move Around—Math and Literacy, by Deborah Kayton Michals, is a preschool math book that understands that young children learn best when they connect physical activity and movement with learning.  When taking part in active play, children engage both hemispheres of their brain, helping them to sharpen their multiple-intelligence learning as they take what they’ve learned and use that information to help them play. Physical activity also helps children stay more focused while they’re playing and learning. When you combine active play with math concepts, a great learning opportunity arises at this high level of focus. Bringing movement and learning together integrates and anchors new information in a child’s mind, proving that “moving while learning increases learning.”

Full of math activities for toddlers, Up, Down, Move Around is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers who want to help their toddlers and preschoolers learn while they move. Here are a some math movement activities that will benefit your little ones!

Long and Short

Support the understanding of the concepts of long and short.

How to Do it:

1. Ask the children to lie flat on their tummies on the floor. Ask them to pretend to be a caterpillar, making their bodies long and short repeatedly as they travel from one side of the room to the other.
2. Ask the children to lie flat on their backs and make their bodies the longest they can, and then ask them to scrunch up and make their bodies the shortest they can.
3. Ask the children to sit with knees bent close to their bodies. Ask them to stretch their legs out in front of them, making them long, and then ask them to bend their knees again to make their legs short. Repeat several times.

Ones and Twos

Reinforce children’s understanding of one-to-one correspondence and the concept of pairs.

How to Do it:

1. Ask the children to stand in a line and watch what you do.
2. Identify pairs of body parts, counting them aloud:
3. One (Lift one hand. Put hand back down.)
4. Two (Lift two hands. Put hands back down.)
5. I have one hand. (Lift one hand. Put hand back down.)
6. I have two hands. (Lift two hands. Put hands back down.)
7. One (Lift one hand. Put hand back down.)
8. Two (Lift two hands. Put hands back down.)
9. They’re a pair. (Shake hands or clap them together.)
10. Encourage the children to do the actions with you.
11. Repeat with more body parts: knees, elbows, feet, legs, arms, eyes, ears, and so on.

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