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Toddler Approved

Toddler Approved

Simple hands on activities for busy parents.

25+ Hands-On Math Activities for Toddlers

numeracy activities toddlers

Math for toddlers? You might wonder what I mean. It is not like toddlers are doing addition or subtraction... right?

Did you know that you begin teaching simple math concepts to children long before they ever enter a classroom? There are so many ways to embed learning math concepts like counting, measuring, and identifying more and less through simple daily experiences along with easy activities that you can enjoy alongside your child.

numeracy activities toddlers

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My husband loves math and he grew up doing math problems and talking about numbers all of the time. My kids love it too! On the other hand, math was my least favorite subject. As I became an elementary school teacher and found more ways to teach math to kids with different learning styles (and in a more hands-on way), I began to love it!

I am going to share some quick and easy-to-set-up activities that help you introduce your child to some simple math concepts! We are going to start with NUMBERS and OPERATIONS!


This means understanding the concept of number, quantity, order, ways of representing numbers, one-to-one correspondence (that one object corresponds to one number), and counting.

Some examples from the NAEYC include...

“You have two eyes, and so does your bear. Let’s count:--1, 2.”

“I have more crackers than you do. See, I have 1, 2, 3, and you have 1, 2. I’m going to eat one of mine. Now I have the same as you!”

“That’s the third time I’ve heard you say mama. You’ve said mama three times!”

When we understand math concepts, we can use what we know as we interact with our children each day. 


Kids need to be able to...

  • count forward and backwards
  • recognize what a number looks like and name it
  • understand one-to-one correspondence (each number corresponds to one specific quantity)

Kids will do all of these things at different stages. Some kids will be fascinated with counting to 10 or 20 way before others are. Just because they can count up to 20, doesn't mean they actually know what they are doing or what that means. Rote counting and matching numbers is only a beginning stage to start understanding numbers. 

When we are exploring numbers with toddlers it is all through PLAY and every day experiences and interactions! This is not the time to break out flashcards or do drill and kill rote learning activities. 

The number activities we are sharing below are simple and playful. They help teach the math concepts shared above while allowing you to connect with your child. 

Some of the concepts that toddlers will begin to understand are listed below...

  • They understand "more" and "enough" and "no more."
  • They also may understand the words one and two or "pick two." 
  • Many two-year-olds can hold up two fingers to show you. 
  • Some two-year-olds will be able to recite numbers words in sequence or may be able to identify some numbers. 
  • Many will still recite numbers out of order. 

There is a broad spectrum of abilities during the toddler years. Each toddler will be different. I encourage you to focus on exploring these math concepts and not worry about comparing your toddler with their peers or trying to rush them to mastery of these skills.


1. match numbers.

Matching numbers is a simple way to teach kids to recognize numbers and be able to say their names. These activities are great for helping kids learn to recognize, name, and match numbers.

numeracy activities toddlers

Number Pocket Matching Game

Number Bug Sticky Wall

Leaf Number Movement Game

Car Parking Match Game  by Housing a Forest

Cup Number Matching Game  by Laughing Kids Learn

Sticky Number Match Activity  by Busy Toddler

Number Dig and Match - Happy Toddler Playtime

2. Sing rhymes and counting songs

Rhymes and songs are great for teaching math concepts! They really stick into memories and kids love using their hands to help them sing as well. When you pair music with movement, kids retain so much more! If you click on each rhyme or song, you'll be taken to a YouTube video where you can listen or watch and sign along!

Ten Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree

There Were Ten In The Bed

Two Little Blackbirds

Five Green, Speckled Frogs

The Ants Go Marching

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

One Potato, Two Potato

Hickory Dickory Dock

Zoom Zoom Zoom!

3. Count together

These simple, but fun activities are great for helping kids count from 1-10 and even higher in a playful way!

numeracy activities toddlers

Counting Movement Game

Race to Lose a Tooth Counting Game

Boat Sink Challenge

Candy Cane Hunt and Match

Number Toy Hunt

Counting Croquet

Counting and Crushing Cars

Pipe Cleaner Pick Up Sticks Game

Lily Pad Number Hop

4. Read books about numbers

These are a few of our favorite books that explore numbers and counting! They are simple, colorful, and short to read.

Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin Jr.

10 Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book by Karen Katz

Doggies by Sandra Boynton

Bear Counts by Karma Wilson

How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten by Jane Yolen

Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews

Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins

My Very First Book of Numbers by Eric Carle

numeracy activities toddlers

5. Play with numbers

These number activities are great for helping your toddler explore numbers while also moving, exploring, and playing!

numeracy activities toddlers

Press the Homemade Elevator Buttons

Number Hockey

Number Basketball

Pom Pom Toss game

Number target practice

Count by 2s with sticks

Number Hunt in the Pool

Roll 6 and Splash Number Game

Stroller Math

Put Out the Fire Number Game

Do you have any other simple ways that you like to embed math into everyday life?

Every day ways to embed math into your day.

  • Count cars as you are driving
  • As you collect items at the grocery store, count them up
  • Go on a number hunt at the store, on a walk, or while you are driving
  • Count together and count the eggs that are added, tablespoons, etc.
  • Play "pick up 5" and see if everyone can pick up 5 toys in a messy room and put them away
  • Hunt for specific numbers on license plates
  • Workout together! Count jumping jacks, laps around the kitchen, and push ups!
  • Build with blocks- work together to create a tower with a specific number of blocks and then count them together
  • Count when you are having snack! Encourage your child to eat 5 raisins or 3 slices of apples. Count them up together.

What else do you do?

numeracy activities toddlers

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Awesome Chocolate Chip Apple Math for Kids


Make your life easier with a plan.

The Year of Play is a simple ebook filled with a year of hands-on playful learning activities. It is created for kids ages 2-6 years old and includes 12 monthly calendars and 48 weekly activity plans!

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numeracy activities toddlers

My Bored Toddler

Play Based Math Activities for Toddlers

Why not share this post!

Play Based Math Activities for Toddlers

Are you looking for play based math activities for toddlers? We've got you sorted with this great collection of toddler activities that all have a math theme to them. No worksheets I promise!

Play Based Math Activities for Toddlers

How do I teach my toddler to count? What math activities should my toddler be learning? How do I teach my toddler to add up? These are all questions that often come up in our Facebook Group and on Instagram. The answer is that you don't teach them these things. At least not with flashcards and worksheets. Before the age of 4 or 5 (it varies in each country as to their recommendations) all learning should really be play based.

Teaching math to toddlers is actually really easy. Think about your regular day and the math concepts that you see and explore each day.

  • counting cars
  • Pointing out the color of things
  • Counting how many jumps you can do
  • Pointing to different shapes in the park
  • Counting how many peas are on your plate
  • Looking for numbers on mail boxes

This is just a small sample of how math and number concepts can be explored during your regular day. Giving children, especially toddlers, real experiences of math concepts like numbers, shapes and measurement is a great way to get them to learn (and they don't even know they're doing it!).

If you want to extend on this, there are some fun play based math activities that are perfect for toddlers below.

I've shared some of my favorite math resources for toddlers below:

Please don't stress if your child isn't counting or recognizing numbers at this age. This article gives a good overview of what is expected before starting school and it really is very basic. The  article I mentioned (which is talking about first grade!) states that

"Early mathematical concepts and skills that first-grade mathematics curriculum builds on include: (Bowman et al., 2001, p. 76).

  • Understanding size, shape, and patterns
  • Ability to count verbally (first forward, then backward)
  • Recognizing numerals
  • Identifying more and less of a quantity
  • Understanding one-to-one correspondence (i.e., matching sets, or knowing which group has four and which has five)"

Now first grade is a long way off the toddler age group so enjoy the time you have with them at this age group and have fun with our play based activities!

Play Based Math Activities for Toddlers. 

Play Based Math Activities for Toddlers

Number Stamping Activity - Crafts on Sea

Simple Counting Activity - Teach Me Mommy

Rings on Fingers - School Time Snippets

Painting Shapes

Play Based Math Activities for Toddlers

Montessori Nature Tray Counting and Sorting - Living Montessori Now

Birthday Cake Counting - The Imagination Tree

Counting Math Game for Toddlers - Buggy and Buddy

Magnetic Fishing Number Game - Messy Little Monster

Play Based Math Activities for Toddlers

Counting Kites Fine Motor Activity - Best Toys 4 Toddlers

Number Pocket Game - Toddler Approved

Counting with Race Cars - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Number Chain - Hands On As We Grow

I would love to see how your toddler enjoyed their play based math activities. Share a photo in our  Facebook group  or   Instagram  (follow  @myboredtoddler ) and use  #MyBoredToddler  so we can all see! You can also follow us on  Pinteres t or  Facebook for more great toddler activity ideas.

Some other activities you will enjoy are:

Shape Activities for Toddlers 

Shape Activities for Toddlers 

Counting Activities for Toddlers 

Toddler Counting Activities feature

Deborah McCraney-Jones

Thursday 17th of September 2020

Thank you for gathering math learning activities.

numeracy activities toddlers


Happy Toddler Playtime

50+ Easy Math Activities for Kids

Mandisa Watts

  • Kindergartner
  • Preschooler

Looking for easy counting or early math activities for your toddler or preschooler? Then you’re come to the right place! Scroll down and you will find a collection of the best math activities I’ve done with my daughter when she was 2 and 3 years old and few ones we want to do!

Easy Hands-On Math Activities

Learning math should be fun and these activities will help foster that in your toddler or preschooler. Before your child starts school they will start to develop their early math skills from the things they see and do everyday.

Early math skills include number sense, learning patterns, measurements and spatial sense among other things. It includes learning about shapes, problem solving as well as learning to count.

Here you will find tons of simple to set up activities to help your toddler or preschooler practice their shapes, number recognition and counting.

This amazing resources is organized into 3 key math and early math skills:

  • Counting Activities;
  • Shape Activities; and
  • Pattern Activities.


numeracy activities toddlers

Easy Math Activities for Kids

Counting ice cream sprinkles activity.

Counting Ice Cream Sprinkles is a fun activity that will have your little one practicing their counting and making an ice cream masterpiece.

numeracy activities toddlers

Counting Raindrops: Easy Post-it Math Activity

Looking for a fun and educational rainy day activity for your child? Check out this raindrop counting activity!

numeracy activities toddlers

Apple Seed Counting Board

Apple Seed Counting Board is a fun and easy to create hands-on sensory counting activity for toddlers and preschoolers.

numeracy activities toddlers

Haunted House Counting Activity

We’re diving into a bewitching activity that’s perfect for young learners: the Haunted House Counting Activity.

numeracy activities toddlers

Easy Button Counting Activity

Button Counting is a fun counting and gluing activity for toddlers and preschoolers. Super easy and fun math activity for kids.

numeracy activities toddlers

Plastic Spoon Easter Bunny Counting for Preschoolers

Plastic spoon Easter Bunny counting a fun and easy way for preschoolers to practice counting and early math skills this Easter.

numeracy activities toddlers

Rocket Ship Clothespin Counting Activity

Rocket Ship Clothespin Counting Activity is a fun and easy fine motor counting activity using clothespin that is perfect for preschoolers

numeracy activities toddlers

Easter Egg Number Match Puzzle Sensory Bin

Easter Egg Number Match Sensory Bin is a fun number matching activity for preschoolers. It makes a fun activity for kids to practice counting!

numeracy activities toddlers

Spider Counting: DIY Wipeable Math Board for Kids

DIY Spider Counting Board for Kids is a fun way to practice counting, number recognition as well as prewriting skills this Halloween.

numeracy activities toddlers

Bottle Cap Counting Board

Create a bottle cap counting board for your toddler or preschooler to practice counting. It is a great DIY hands-on counting activity!

numeracy activities toddlers

Skeleton Bones Counting Activity

Skeleton Bone Counting Activity for Kids is a creative and educational idea that’s both fascinating and fun.

numeracy activities toddlers

The Best Counting Activities For Preschoolers

Learning to count with your preschooler need not to be boring or filled with worksheets! Check out these easy counting activities!

numeracy activities toddlers

Hot Chocolate Counting Sensory Bag

Hot chocolate sensory bag is a fun and easy way to practice counting this winter! Count the marshmallows into the cups of hot chocolate.

numeracy activities toddlers

Cotton Ball Apple Tree Counting Activity

Cotton Ball Apple Counting Activity is a fun hands-on math activity for preschoolers. It also a great way to practice fine motor skills.

Apple Tree Q-Tip Counting Activity for Preschoolers

Apple tree q-tip counting for preschoolers is a fun fall learning activity. Great for a fall or apple themed preschool unit.

Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting: Toddler Math

Sensory Rice Caterpillar Counting is a fun early math activity for Spring. This easy and colourful idea is great for preschoolers!

numeracy activities toddlers

Counting Christmas Presents Toddler Activity

Christmas Present Counting is a fun math activity for toddlers & preschoolers. Be Santa and count out the presents for under the tree!

numeracy activities toddlers

Corn Counting Sensory Bag

Corn Counting Sensory Bag preschool activity is a fun and easy fine motor counting activity for toddlers and preschoolers for Fall. Use kernels of corn to practice counting!

numeracy activities toddlers

Spider Bottle Cap Counting Board

Spinning a web of fun and learning, the Spider Bottle Cap Counting Board transforms everyday items into a fun activity for your little one!

numeracy activities toddlers

Fall Tree Counting

Fall Tree Counting preschool activity is a fun fine motor counting activity for Fall. Decorate a mini tree and practice counting!

numeracy activities toddlers

Heart Counting Bags

Heart Counting Bags is an easy counting activity for toddlers & preschoolers! Create counting bags for a fun math activity for Valentine’s.

numeracy activities toddlers

Dot Sticker Cupcake Math: Easy Toddler Activity

Dot Sticker Cupcake Math is a fun and easy way to practice counting and number recognition with your toddler and preschooler.

numeracy activities toddlers

Hedgehog Counting Craft: A Fun Fall Activity

Jump into our delightful Counting Hedgehog Craft, blending the magic of fall with essential number skills!

numeracy activities toddlers

Mushroom Math: Cardboard Counting Board

Transform a cardboard canvas into an interactive learning space. Let your child’s counting skills bloom with this Mushroom Math Board.

numeracy activities toddlers

Jellyfish Counting: Window Foam Activity

Dive into an ocean of learning and creativity with this fun and easy Jellyfish Counting Window Foam Activity!

numeracy activities toddlers

Ice Cream Window Counting

Here we’re taking the sweetness of ice cream and blending it with a fun and educational window Ice Cream counting activity for kids!

numeracy activities toddlers

Bee Counting Sensory Bin

Get ready to create a bee counting sensory bin for kids aged 3 to 5 using vibrant colored rice, soft pompoms, and cardboard tubes.

numeracy activities toddlers

Cupcake Liner Math Activity

Cupcake Liner Math Activity is a fun fine motor counting activity for toddlers and preschooler. Simple math fun for little fingers!

numeracy activities toddlers

Caterpillar Pom Pom Counting: Easy Toddler Math

Caterpillar Pom Pom Counting is a fun early math activity for Spring! This colourful fine motor counting idea is great for preschoolers.

numeracy activities toddlers

Dot Sticker Pot of Gold Math

Dot Sticker Pot of Gold Math is a fun and colourful counting idea for St. Patrick’s Day using dot stickers! And a great fine motor activity!

numeracy activities toddlers

Handprint Counting Mittens: Winter Math

Handprint Counting Mittens is a fun way to practice counting in winter! This fun math activity is a fun way for toddlers and preschoolers.

numeracy activities toddlers

Shamrock Counting Wands: St. Patrick’s Day Math

Shamrock counting wands is a fun and easy math activity for toddlers and preschoolers. Create shamrock wands this St. Patrick’s Day!

numeracy activities toddlers

Feather Counting Wands: Thanksgiving Math

Feather counting wands is a fun and easy math activity for toddlers and preschoolers. Create feather wands for your child this Thanksgiving!

numeracy activities toddlers

100 Counting Box: An Easy Math Activity for Kids

Looking for a fun counting activity for your preschooler or kindergartner? Check out this easy to set up counting activity using a cardboard box!

numeracy activities toddlers

Paper Bag Counting

Age: 2.5 years +

You’ll need: Paper Bag, Black sharpie, counters (such as crayons, Pom Poms, squeeze caps, markers etc.)

TIP: place the objects inside the bag and have your toddler pull them out and count them. Then have them put them back in, counting as they go. You can count for them if they aren’t able to.

numeracy activities toddlers

Flower Counting Sticky Wall

This flower counting sticky wall is so simple to set up and makes a great way to practice number recognition and counting with toddlers!

Age 2.5 years old +

numeracy activities toddlers

Button Counting

Age: 2.5 years old +

numeracy activities toddlers

Counting Fish Sticky Wall

Age: 2 years old +

numeracy activities toddlers

Counting Fish Sensory Bin

numeracy activities toddlers

Back to the Zoo: Counting Activity

numeracy activities toddlers

Mystery Math: A Crayon Resist Activity

Age: 4 years old +

mystery math easy math activities

Rubber Duck Math Race

Rubber duck race easy math activities for toddlers and preschoolers

Rain Drop Counting Sticky Wall

You’ll Need: Contact paper, and colourful foam sheets, black sharpie and masking tape.

Cut out white cloud and rain drops. Write the number on the clouds. Trace the clouds and the raindrops on the sticky wall. Invite your toddler to stick the cloud and the corresponding number of rain drops on the sticky wall counting as they go.

TIP: Count for toddler if they get focused on just sticking the shapes.

numeracy activities toddlers

Pom Pom Number Sweep

Pom Pom number sweep easy math activities for toddlers and preschoolers

Tube Counting Math Game

Age: 3 years old +

tube counting easy math activities for toddler and preschoolers

Dot Sticker Counting UNO Math

numeracy activities toddlers

Acorn Counting: A Fall Counting Activity

ACORN COUNTING for Toddlers fall activity

Pumpkin Counting: A Halloween Math Activity

numeracy activities toddlers

Pom Pom Scoop

numeracy activities toddlers

Number Dig, Wash & Match

numeracy activities toddlers

Rainbow Numbers – A missing number activity

rainbow numbers7

Birthday Math Sensory Bin

Here is a fun happy birthday math sensory bin for toddlers that they will love! It’s an amazing way to practice counting while making colourful birthday cupcakes!

numeracy activities toddlers

Math Sensory Bin

math sensory bin easy math activities for toddlers and preschoolers

Domino Counting Activity

numeracy activities toddlers

Numbers Spray & Water Dump

numeracy activities toddlers

Snowman Button Counting Sticky Wall

numeracy activities toddlers

Sticker Fish Counting

numeracy activities toddlers

Missing Number Window


Counting Hearts Sticky Wall


Count & Stick Numbers


Eye Dropper Dot Counting by Teach Beside Me

Easy preschool counting activity by planning playtime, four math games with magnatiles  by frugal fun 4 boys, fast & easy shape activities, fizzy shapes sensory bin.

Here is a fun science meets early math sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers!! Make fizzy shapes using baking soda and vinegar!!

numeracy activities toddlers

Easy Paint the Shapes Activity

Practice learning shapes with this fun paint the shapes activity. A great hands-on early math activity for preschoolers.

numeracy activities toddlers

Magnetic Tile Shape Match

magnetic tile shape matching toddler and preschooler easy math activities

Find the Heart Shape Activity

numeracy activities toddlers

Button Sticky Arm Shape Matching

Button Shape Match toddlers and preschooler easy math activities

Magnetic Tile Dinosaurs Puzzles

numeracy activities toddlers

Shape Sticky Wall Puzzles


Fridge Magnet Shape Match

numeracy activities toddlers

Giant Shape Painting


Sticky Tape Shapes Activity

numeracy activities toddlers

Shape Matching Sensory Bin

numeracy activities toddlers

Shapes Parking Lot Activity

numeracy activities toddlers

Turkey Shapes Sticky Wall

numeracy activities toddlers

Pumpkin Shapes Sticky Wall: Shape Matching Activity

Pumpkin Shape Activity for Toddlers and preschoolers

Fast and Easy Pattern Activities

Spider patterns sticky wall.

Practice patterns this Halloween with this colourful spider patterns sticky wall. Create patterns on the spiders legs using shapes.

numeracy activities toddlers

Squeeze Pouch Lid Patterns


Fingerprint Patterns

numeracy activities toddlers

GOKI Wooden Cub Puzzle: A Pattern Matching Game


Rainbow Shape Patterns

numeracy activities toddlers

Tube Pattern Matching

numeracy activities toddlers

Candy Cane Patterns

numeracy activities toddlers

Easter Egg Patterns

numeracy activities toddlers

Heart Patterns

numeracy activities toddlers

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About maths and numeracy skills

Numeracy is the  ability to see and use maths concepts in all areas of life .

Numeracy skills involve understanding numbers, counting, solving number problems, measuring, estimating, sorting, noticing patterns, adding and subtracting numbers, and so on.

Children and adults need numeracy and maths skills to do everyday things like:

  • solving problems – for example, how long will it take to walk to school?
  • making sense of information – for example, how many wins does my team need to get to the top of the competition?
  • understanding patterns – for example, what number would the next house in this street be?
  • making choices – for example, which bike is the best value?

Your child’s everyday experiences are full of learning opportunities that lay the foundations for numeracy.

How children start learning numeracy skills

Children start learning numeracy skills from the time they’re born, and you play an important role, especially at home.

For example, you can introduce maths through everyday play and activities by encouraging your child to:

  • compare and order things of different sizes – ‘big’, ‘small’ and ‘medium’
  • group things together and talk about ‘same’ and ‘different’
  • use words to describe where things are – ‘over’, ‘under’ and ‘next to’
  • help with setting the table with the right number of plates, forks, spoons and cups
  • notice and make patterns with everyday items, like shells, leaves or beads.

And when you talk with your child about maths concepts in your everyday activities, it helps your child understand how and why maths is useful . For example, this happens when you point out:

  • big and small (size)
  • high and low (height)
  • long and short (length)
  • heavy and light (weight)
  • fast and slow (speed)
  • close and far (distance)
  • first, second and last (order).

Young children need a lot of practice and hands-on play with everyday objects to develop numeracy and maths skills like matching, sorting, comparing and ordering.

Babies: tips for building numeracy skills

Your baby loves hearing your voice and enjoys stories and songs with repetition, rhyme and numbers. Here are things you can do with your baby to build numeracy skills:

  • Read stories with numbers – for example, ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’.
  • Play counting, sorting and matching games.
  • Sing number songs and rhymes.
  • Change your tone of voice to describe concepts – for example, use a deep, loud voice to describe something big, or a soft, squeaky voice to describe something little.

And here are things you can talk about :

  • Everyday activities – for example, ‘Let’s put half of the bird seed here and half over there’ or ‘Let’s find matching socks’.
  • The environment – for example, ‘Look at the little bird over there’ or ‘That’s a tall tree’.
  • Food – for example, ‘Let’s have 2 pieces of banana’ or ‘How many cups do we need?’
  • Time – for example, ‘7 pm, time for bed’.
  • Shapes and patterns – for example, ‘Let’s look for all the triangles’.

It’s best if you can make these everyday numeracy activities and experiences  playful and relaxed so that they’re fun for your child.

Get words and music for counting songs like ‘Five little ducks’ and ‘One two three four five’ with our  Baby Karaoke .

Toddlers and preschoolers: tips for building numeracy skills

Talking, everyday activities, play and reading help your child develop communication, imagination and other skills for understanding maths concepts. Here are ideas.

Ideas for talking

  • Use maths concepts to describe what you and your child are seeing and doing together. For example, ‘Look at the fast cars’ or ‘This bag is heavy’.
  • When you’re preparing food, talk about what you’re doing. For example, ‘I’m cutting this orange in half’ or ‘Let’s share these sultanas – one for me and one for you’.
  • Point out and name the numbers you see, like the numbers on mailboxes, buses, road signs, catalogues and receipts.
  • When you’re out and about, talk about what’s near or further away. For example, ‘Let’s sit on that bench nearby to have our snack’ or ‘It’s quite far to the lake. Would you like to ride in the stroller?’
  • Talk about activities that happen at certain times of the day. For example, ‘We eat breakfast at 7 am’, or ‘Let’s go to the park before we have dinner at 6 pm’.

Ideas for everyday activities

  • Make counting part of your everyday life. For example, count shells at the beach, fruit at the shop and trees on the street. Or count toys together as your child packs them away.
  • When you’re out and about, encourage your child to describe or compare shapes of leaves, colours of flowers or sizes of birds.
  • Use a growth chart or marks on a wall to measure your child’s growing height, and describe to your child what you’re doing.
  • Involve your child in cooking. Your child can help stir, pour, fill and mix. This helps your child get familiar with concepts like counting, measuring, adding and estimating.

Ideas for play

  • Go for a nature walk and let your child gather a mix of leaves, sticks, pebbles and other natural items. Your child can sort them into groups based on size, colour, shape or function.
  • Sing songs and read books with repeating, rhyming or rhythmic numbers.
  • Play simple board games, card games and puzzles with shapes and numbers, like ‘Snap’, or matching pairs or dominoes.
  • Play outside games like ‘I spy’, hopscotch, skittles and ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’.
  • Play or sing music at different speeds. Your child can dance, jump or shake musical instruments to slow or fast songs. Sing nursery rhymes slowly and then speed up.
  • Race toy cars and talk about which came first, second or third.
  • Help your child to arrange their toys in order from shortest to tallest.
  • Build and stack with blocks and other everyday objects. You can ask your child whether the tower they’re building is tall or short and narrow or wide.

Ideas for books and reading Here are books that feature numbers, counting, shapes and sizes:

  • 123 of Australian Animals by Bronwyn Bancroft
  • Counting kisses by Karen Katz
  • Noni the pony counts to a million by Alison Lester
  • Round is a mooncake: A book of shapes by Roseanne Thong
  • Soup day by Melissa Iwai
  • Ten little dinosaurs by Mike Brownlow
  • The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • We all sleep by Ezekiel Kwaymullina.

Children learn best when they’re interested in something. If your child is doing something they’re particularly interested in – whether it involves dinosaurs, dolls, cars, building, insects and so on – you can use and explore maths concepts with your child while they play.

numeracy activities toddlers

My Little Moppet

Top Parenting blog in India

15 Simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Published: March 19, 2021 | Last Updated on: May 12, 2023 | by Dr Hemapriya

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

When most of us think of Math, we have horrible throwbacks to undone homework, problems that seem impossible to solve, and dreaded exams. Few of us associate Math as something enjoyable and exciting, and a lot of it has to do with our conditioning.

While most parents put a lot of importance on early literacy with books and reading, not many realize the importance of early math skills, and this is a phenomenon seen worldwide. One study found that if young kids spent six hours at preschool, they spent only 58 seconds in developing early math skills. This needs to change.

numeracy activities toddlers

Why are early math skills important?

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Early math skills aren’t just important for understanding numbers; they are crucial for problem solving skills and logical and analytical thinking. An article in Developmental Psychology states that early math skills are more important than reading skills in ensuring future academic success. When kids spend time in mathematical learning, their reading skills and concentration goes up automatically.

Here are the math skills that play the biggest role in good problem solving skills and logical reasoning in the school years:

1. Counting and cardinality – This is regarding basic counting, identification of numbers and understanding that number relates to the quantity of items in a group. Children first learn to count forward and later, backward.

2. Comparison – Comparison helps kids identify which item is bigger or smaller, and to differentiate between more and less. They should be able to do this in terms of numbers and things that can’t be counted.

3. Patterns – Patterns can refer to any sequence that repeats in a certain logical manner. This is important in helping kids make connections and predict outcomes of what happens next.

4. Shapes – What later becomes geometry is the study of shapes in early childhood, and this also includes how different shapes fit against and within each other.

5. Measurement – Measuring various aspects of an item, like weight, height or volume is an important part of early math skills, and for very young children it may start with comparison of less and more.

6. Estimation – Estimation is a skill that enables a child to make a well reasoned guess about the size or quantity of an item. This also begins with being able to compare things and differentiate between less an more.

7. Problem solving – Early math skills don’t just teach how to solve a problem – it also teaches kids that there can be multiple ways around a problem, and we can choose the one that is the best.

Early Math Skills according to Age

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Babies (0–12 months)

  • Understand cause and effect, like shaking a rattle makes noise
  • Classifying, like knowing which toys make noise and which don’t
  • Prediction – being able to tell what’s going to happen based on cues like running water, mother taking out the breast
  • Comparisons, for instance they realize that they’re small and Mom is bigger

Toddlers (1-2 years)

  • Understand that numbers refer to the quantity of an item
  • Start filling and emptying cups and containers
  • Match shapes like circles and triangles
  • Recite a few numbers, not necessarily in the right order
  • Recognize basic patterns
  • Sort items based on type

Preschoolers (3-4 years)

  • Identify shapes in everyday life, like round plates or square crackers
  • Compare items based on size
  • Sort items based on color, shape or size
  • Count up to 20
  • Identify numbers by sight
  • Put simple puzzles together
  • Predict outcomes for actions

After this age, kids are usually at school in kindergarten, and formal education takes over. However, with the pandemic on and kids stuck at home, it is up to us parents to make an effort to help our children develop these crucial early math skills. The best way for kids to learn any skill, not just math, is through play. Here are some simple math activities for toddlers, some of which you can also start when your little one is still a baby. As with everything good, the earlier, the better!

15 Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

1. Sensory Play

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Sensory play has several benefits for very young kids, and it can be used in a multitude of ways. Beginners to sensory bins can simply touch and see how everything in the bin feels when their hands go over them. As they get accustomed to it, they can use scoops and cups to fill, empty and refill their containers to get an idea about measurement, quantity and to be able to estimate how much will fill in a cup.

For older toddlers, you can also give them weight scales so they can try to balance both sides – this is a great way to learn comparison and measurement.

2. Interactive Books

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

This is something you can use even with little babies. There are many books out there with flaps that lift and reveal something underneath, and these teach spatial language – under, over, behind, next etc. These books often integrate many other concepts like shapes and sizes in the process.

Another kind of interactive book is the one which encourages you to perform an action. For instance, Counting Kisses encourages you to count the kisses and cuddles you shower on your little one – can’t think of a more adorable way to learn Math!

3. Shape Sorters

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Shape sorters are great first toys for babies and toddlers. They obviously teach kids about different shapes, but they also have holes in the same shapes and kids will have to try and find which peg goes into which hole. Playing with shape sorters This also encourages spatial skills and reinforces the differences between shapes.

Research shows that kids who learn shapes and develop spatial skills in early childhood have better IQ and score better in math and even writing. Shape sorters also double up as building blocks in some cases, like this set . They are brightly colored and encourage kids to learn primary colors.

4. Cardboard Shapes Activity

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Everyone has some cardboard at home, from cereal boxes or online order cartons. You can put this cardboard to good use by making this simple cardboard shapes activity from My Bored Toddler. Simply Cut out different shapes from cardboard and paint them if you like. Then hand your child the shapes and let them put them together to create any form or image they like.

Another way to use these shapes is to create a pattern. Start with something very simple: square-circle-square-circle. Let your child continue the pattern and you can later take it to the next level by introducing a triangle in the mix. This is ideal for children who do not put everything in their mouth, since cardboard isn’t durable enough to withstand chewing.

5. Sorting Activities

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Being able to see how things are different from each other and how some things are similar to each other is an important part of early math skills. Hand kids a few tubs or baskets and encourage them to sort their toys. Start with an easy sort, like all red toys in this basket, or all cars in that box. As kids learn shapes, you can ask them to sort circle shapes in one and square ones in another.

You can also encourage sorting as you go about your daily chores. For instance, when doing laundry, ask them to sort all shirts in one pile and pants in another. Or when you’re folding, you can ask them to put all the socks in one pile, and later, they can try matching the socks to each other.

6. Building Blocks

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Building blocks are probably the one toy that can be used by kids of all ages, from infancy to well, the teen years and beyond, if adult Lego fans are anything to go by! There are all kinds of blocks, like plain wooden blocks, colored plastic ones, or blocks that interlock, like Lego.

Building blocks are excellent to boost spatial skills and it teaches a host of other math skills too, like balance and symmetry. Kids learn to see how tall they can make a tower before it falls off. They can see that a sturdier base makes it easier to make a taller tower. It also helps them understand spatial language like over, under, behind etc. In fact, research says that playing with Lego during early childhood can be a factor for better success in math at the high school.

7. Pattern Play

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Understanding patterns is an important early math skill for kids to learn, and they also learn more advanced patterns in school. A pattern is just a recurring sequence, and it helps kids learn to make connections and predict what comes next. You can start out by using whatever you have at home to create a pattern – dry pasta, toy cars, animals, and of course, building blocks.

Start really simple, like a row of alternating blocks in different colors. Then introduce a third color or maybe you can alternate a toy car and a toy animal. There are literally a zillion ways to do this, and you can adjust the complexity based on the age of your child.

8. DIY Counting Box

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

The Best Ideas for Kids has a great activity that you can put together with a cardboard box and cardboard tubes. It’s a very simple toy and kids of any age can have fun with it. Very young children or babies can just enjoy dropping things in at one end and seeing it come out the other, reinforcing the concept of cause and effect.

Older kids can get a lot more out of this activity. You can use pom poms and count and drop a specific number down the rolls. As kids start learning mathematical operations, this serves to understand the concept of addition, so kids can see how things that roll down either chute end up in the sum at the bottom.

9. Clothespin Counting Cards

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Another fun activity for toddlers and preschoolers is this one from Toddler at Play, which gets interesting as clothespins enter the picture. You can use wooden clothes pegs for this, and paint them in any color you like. Kids can also help painting the pegs.

There are many ways to use these cards. Kids can match the color of the pegs to the color of the number on the cards. Older kids who can identify numbers can count pegs and fix the appropriate number on the card. This is also a fun fine motor activity to strengthen hand muscles of little kids.

10. Cooking

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

The kitchen is a place where kids can learn all kinds of skills, and math is one of them. Young children can learn about simple measurement, like 1 cup, 2 cups. This is also a more practical implementation of the filling and pouring kids do otherwise. Kids can also count things, like eggs, or tomatoes.

Older kids can also understand different kinds of measures, like cups and spoons, and also read numbers on the weighing scale. The skills don’t end in the kitchen; kids can also help lay out the table, count how many people are there and how many plates are needed.

11. Observation Walk

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

If you look closely, there are many ways to enhance early math skills. To make it more intentional, go on an observation walk, either at home or outdoors. Spot trees and see how one is bigger than the other. You can count things you see – two cats, one dog. You can also use spatial language, by observing a house behind a gate or a cat on top of a fence.

As kids get older, you can spot shapes and colors, like on road signs. You can also count the steps it takes to reach your front door. If you visit the supermarket, there are many more opportunities to count, compare and measure.

12. Pretend Play

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Pretend play fosters several important skills and is also crucial for emotional and social development in children. There are many ways to do this, but usually a play kitchen set is all you need. Kids can pretend to have a cafe/bakery/ice cream shop and you can be a customer and the games can begin!

Children can decide on what to serve, and you can order one or two coffees. You can also cut out cardboard coins, and pay accordingly for each dish served. It also builds early concepts about money. You can also use cardboard to create your own pretend play food, using shapes like square for bread slices, circles for fried eggs or cookies. For older kids, you can use pizza parts to learn the basics of fractions.

13. Board Games

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

While there are complex games like Monopoly and chess that are great to enhance math skills like logic, reasoning and strategy, you don’t need these for developing early math skills in kids. Simple games like Snakes and Ladders are just as effective. Even games that involve a lot of counting, like Ludo, are perfect for preschoolers.

Besides these counting games, memory games are also an excellent way to identify similarities, improve memory and match items based on the similarities. You can either buy memory games online or make your own set by using free printables.

14. Physical Activities with Math

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

While board games are great to enhance math skills, you can also include some physical activity while learning math skills. Jump rope is an excellent way to stay active by jumping and counting the jumps. Little kids can start out by simply clapping a certain number of times, or in sync with number nursery rhymes.

As kids grow older, let them have fun with games like hopscotch, which is great for counting numbers and learning to balance as well. A dart board is also fun, especially if you’re keeping score. You can also use dice to create your own fun game with all kinds of fun actions like jumping, bouncing, hopping on one foot etc.

15. Timed Activities

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

Besides counting and measuring, date and time are also an important part of early math skills. Have a big calendar displayed and let kids come and put a sticker or mark the dates. You can also have those calendars where you have to manually change the date, like this one . Calendars also help to reinforce repeating patterns and routines.

Another way to learn about time is to use a timer. Ask a child to put away his toys and he’ll run, but set a timer and ask him to do it before the timer runs out and he’ll race to finish. It’ll also help kids understand how some tasks take longer than others, and enables them to estimate time for tasks.

These simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers are perfect for developing early Math skills, which are crucial for future academic success.

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70+ Math Activities for Toddlers, Preschoolers and for Kids

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Math Activities are one of my favorite activities to bring forth. And… 

..my girls love math too , math learning games can be fun , incorporating a bit of hands on activities for preschoolers can be loads of fun with the right direction. , we love incorporating a bit of play to learn when it comes to learning the abc’s, math games for kids and more… , i’ll be adding over 70 fun hands on activities that incorporate math learning games below. , the categories will be as follows: , math activities for toddlers, math activities for preschoolers, math activities for kindergarten, play to learn math activities, easy math activities for kids, related: if you are looking for manipulative activities for toddlers and preschoolers and preschool interactive activities, check out our preschool activity binder , what are some activities for preschoolers , pre k math games are so much fun , by incorporating a bit of play to learning for a math center preschool activity, it can really go a long way. , for example, if you are bringing forth a set of star activities for preschoolers, create a dark night sky with a few black sheets of construction paper. , then, cut out 10-20 yellow stars out of yellow construction paper. , add numbers to each of the stars. , then, a creative activity for preschool can look like adding the stars to the night sky and counting them as you add them , not only will your preschoolers be having fun, they will be learning as well , neat, right, how do you teach math to preschoolers , there are many ways you can teach math to preschoolers. , we like incorporating a bit of play as mentioned up above with the starry night activity. , for more fun easy activities that involve math, go here , preschool math activities do not just have to be on worksheets. you can totally make them colorful, bright and fun. , an example of an easy math hands on activity would be: , math activities for preschool and kindergarten, you can also try these 5 simple diy math games within a math center preschool for a fun lesson on counting , why are math activities important for preschoolers , math helps littles learn about math concepts while incorporating many benefits such as: , hand-eye coordination, pre learning of addition/subtraction, skip counting, pre-writing skills, and so much more , preschool large group activities allow for team effort and working with peers to learn about concepts that littles will incorporate throughout their life , how do i teach my 4 year old maths , there are many ways to teach preschoolers and 4 year olds about math., some ideas are to include: , fun hands on activities, play to learn preschool activities, pre k math worksheets, small group activities for preschoolers, diy math games for early learning, playing with math manipulatives for learning math, preschool lesson plans on shapes and how many sides each shape has., counting activities for preschoolers, and many more , what other fun pre k activities can you think of for a fun preschool games and activities set of games for preschoolers and for kids , educational activities for 3 year olds printable , if you are looking for counting and math activities for toddlers, preschool and for kids, check out our shop and here are some awesome math games too: , summer counting mats math activity, spring pattern match, pom pom number match, finger paint lights, related: if you are looking for monthly preschool lesson plans on shapes, check out our shop , fun preschool activities, let’s get into math preschool games and activities you can try with your littles. , math activities for toddlers , math activities for toddlers – active littles, easy maths activity – active littles, activity for preschool and toddlers – active littles, under the sea counting sticky wall – happy toddler playtime, fish counting – play teach repeat , cheerio bubbles – happily ever mom, hammering numbers – happily ever mom, sorting, counting and graphing – frugal fun 4 boys, simple monster counting game – fun a day, winter math counting fun – fun a day, counting 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robot math – no time for flashcards, learn colors and counting – happy tot shelf, pumpkin seed counting craft – stay at home educator, tea time counting activity – fantastic fun and learning, math games for preschoolers – active littles, simple counting activity – days with grey, counting drops – raising dragons, race to lose a tooth counting game – toddler approved, tactile dandelion cards – little pine learners, fireworks counting diy – montessori from the heart, counting fun with ping pong balls – mess for less, sort and count – imagination tree, number activities for preschoolers – hands on as we grow, counting popsicle stick – powerful mothering, counting using five-ten frames – the measured mom, pick and count – engaging littles, counting with marbles – creative play house, planting seeds math sensory bin – fantastic fun and learning, water balloon math – raising dragons, mouse counting free printable – active littles, related products, looking for free printables and 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Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

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25+ Hands-On Number Games for Toddlers (and Preschoolers!)

June 16, 2018 by Sheryl Cooper

Inside: Easy number games for toddlers are a fun way to expose them to number recognition and counting. This collection has something at every toddler level, and even preschoolers will enjoy them. Playful, hands-on learning for the home or classroom!

Games are a great way to help young children build skills. They can be done independently or with a small group of children. They can be adapted for use at home or in the toddler and preschool classroom.

This collection of number games for toddlers helps strengthen simple counting skills and number recognition. Some of the activities also include color sorting and fine motor strengthening.

Most importantly, these number games are fun !

25+ Hands-On Number Games for Toddlers (and Preschoolers!)

This collection of number games for toddlers has a variety of activities for different skill levels. Start with the easier ones and, as your toddler is ready, try more challenging activities. Some of these might be more suitable for preschoolers. If at any time your child seems frustrated, stop and try an easier number activity on another day. The goal of these games is to create a fun, playful experience.

Listen and Spray Counting Game – Write numbers on the sidewalk and have the child listen for how many claps and then spray that number with water. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Counting and Color Sorting Activity – Print out the free color cards and write a number on each one. Children can sort small objects by color and then put the number of objects on the card that matches the number. (Powerful Mothering)

Pipe Cleaner Counting Activity – This activity will take you less than 5 minutes to put together and should cost less than $2! (Planning Playtime)

Count the Coins – A simple 1-3 counting activity with a free printable. (Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds)

Magnetic Fishing Number Game – Toddlers will have fun singing, counting, and ordering numbers as they catch the fish. (Messy Little Monster)

Counting Caterpillar Busy Bag – The main goal of this activity is counting, but it also works on number recognition and word reinforcement. Comes with free printable cards. (Powerful Mothering)

Gross Motor Counting Activity – A fun activity that goes with the book 1,2,3 to the Zoo . (3 Dinosaurs)

Smack the Number – Have your children line up foam numbers and smack the one that you call, using a flyswatter. (Sunny Day Family)

Playdough Cupcakes Counting Activity – How many candles go on each cupcake? A fun way to work on simple counting skills! (Messy Little Monster)

Printable Bear Number Game – After reading the book Time to Sleep , invite your children to play a fun number game that’s about hibernation and a bear. It teaches number recognition while the the children are also moving. (The Educator’s Spin on It)

Ten Apples Up On Top Game – Practice counting as you put the felt apples on the board. (Buggy and Buddy)

Counting Bear Number and Color Matching Activity – After reading the book Brown Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, start counting and sorting the bears by color using the free printable cards. (Fun Learning for Kids)

5 Little Ducks Activity – Make your own duck props using stones and use them while singing the favorite finger play 5 Little Ducks . (Red Ted Art)

Let’s Go on a Counting Walk – This is a fun game to play while taking a walk in your neighborhood. Pick and item and invite your kids to start counting. (Creative Family Fun)

Number Maze Counting Game – Grab your masking tape! This math counting activity can be set up in minutes and played for days. (Days with Grey)

Feed the Lion Counting Game – Create a lion out of construction paper and “feed” it small pieces using tweezers. Children have to count how many pieces go in his mouth. (Rainy Day Mum)

Easy Card Counting Game – All you need is a pack of Uno cards and clothespins, and it works fine motor skills, too. (Planning Playtime)

Roll & Cross Math Game – A great game for number recognition and a bit of fine motor where toddlers will roll a dice and stamp off each number until they roll all 6 numbers. (Busy Toddler)

Simple Counting Activity – This is super easy to make using paper and markers. Can be played with 1 or more children. (Teach Me Mommy)

Car Parking Numbers Game – This game involves numbered cars and a cardboard parking lot with matching numbers that toddlers will match up by driving them into the correct spot. (B-Inspired Mama)

Sticky Number Match – Using contact paper and felt numbers, toddlers will stick the appropriate number onto the square with the matching number of dots for counting practice. (Busy Toddler)

Number Line Missing Numbers – Using popsicle sticks and clothespins, this activity involves preschoolers clipping the numbered clothespin onto the blank spot on the number line. (123 Homeschool 4 Me)

Bean Bag Toss – Combining counting with large motor, kids will attempt to toss the beanbag onto the stair or spot on the ground with the matching number. (Hands On As We Grow)

Race to Fill the Cup – Usings cups, dice, and some kind of small object, kids will take turns rolling the dice and filling their cup with the amount of small objects to race to be the first to fill their cup. (Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls)

Preschool Ice Cream Math – With a bit of fine motor practice, toddlers will use tongs to pick up pom-poms and line up the correct number on each numbered cone. (Fun-A-Day)

Zoo Animal Race to the Top – Using the printable dice, preschoolers will place a flat marble or other small item onto the animal they rolled to see which animal gains the most rolls first. (Playdough to Plato)

Play Dough Number Mats – These free printables include writing, counting, and fine motor play through play-dough. (Life Over C’s)

Number Pocket Game – Toddlers will match the number on their popsicle stick to the correct numbered pocket to practice number recognition. (Toddler Approved)

25+ Hands-On Number Games for Toddlers (and Preschoolers!)

More toddler learning activities:

Toddler Alphabet Activities

Teaching Colors to Toddlers

25+ Toddler Fine Motor Activities


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About Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl Cooper is the founder of Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds, a website full of activities for toddlers and preschoolers. She has been teaching this age group for over 20 years and loves to share her passion with teachers, parents, grandparents, and anyone with young children in their lives.

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12 Hands-On Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Happiest Baby Staff

Kids as young as 12 months can begin to recognize numbers and number patterns, which is one of the amazing things about the human brain. If you’re looking for way to inspire a love of numbers, these math activities for toddlers are the way to go. They’ll entertain your kiddo…while also letting them explore foundational math skills, such as counting, ordering, number recognition, patterns, measurement, and shapes, that will help to set them up for success as future students.

So, if your early math memories are all dusty chalkboards and rote worksheets…think again! Math for toddlers and preschoolers can be far more fun. The proof? These 12 fun activities that you can do at home…with minimal materials!

Rubber Duck Math Race for Preschoolers

toddler math activity: rubber duck math race

Photo & activity: Happy Toddler Playtime

This fun game will help your child learn to read the numbers on a die as well as to count in sequence…all while having a blast. In this toddler math activity, toddlers roll dice, and then build their duck a path with that number of tiles. Bonus: It also teaches taking turns!

Ice Cream Math Activity for Toddlers

toddler math activity: ice cream math activity

Photo & activity: Fun-A-Day

This ice cream math game for toddlers will help kids to sort numbers, giving them great counting skills while also practicing fine motor skills. Here’s how it works: Start with cut-outs of cones, each labeled with a number. Then, tots stack each one high with the right number of “scoops” (aka colorful pompoms).

Number Puzzle Math Activity for Toddlers

numeracy activities toddlers

Photo & activity: mathkidsandchaos.com

A number puzzle—which encourage kids to match a certain number of items to its corresponding numeral or number name—is a wonderfully simple math activity for toddlers. It helps little ones learn the different ways to recognize numbers.

Measuring Volume Math Activity for Toddlers

toddler math activity: volume measuring activity

Photo & activity: theresjustonemommy.com

The kitchen can double as a fantastic math lab! The proof? Math activities for preschoolers and toddlers like this one that introduces the concept of volume. All you need are some measuring cups and spoons and something to measure (like dry rice or beans). From there, there are lots of ways to teach kids about volume, fractions, and more!

Counters and Measuring Math Activity for Preschoolers

toddler math activity: measuring with counter blocks

Photo & activity: Little Bins for Little Hands

Early learners will love any excuse to grab their pile of colorful counters and learn the beginning skills of how to measure objects. Have your child measure their feet and hands and maybe even a family pet.

How Much Does It Weigh? Math Activity for Preschoolers

toddler math activities: how much does it weigh?

Photo & activity: The STEM Laboratory

This STEM activity will have your kids learning that weight can be measured. Even better? They get to put on their thinking caps and practice creating a hypothesis about which objects weigh more or less than another.

Giant Shape Match Math Activity for Toddlers

toddler math activity: great shape hunt

Photo & activity: Busy Toddler

For kids with lots of energy, this giant shape-matching math game for toddlers will help them to get their bodies moving as they crawl around on the floor finding all the objects and matching them to their traced-out shapes. Bonus point if you can have your child learn the names of each shape!

Printable Tangrams Math Activity for Toddlers

toddler math activity: printable tangrams

Image & activity: File Folder Fun

Tangrams are a classic toddler and preschool math activity! For those unfamiliar, it involves combining and moving lots of little shapes to make a complete picture. For example, preschoolers look at an image of a boat or a flower and then try to copy it by using the smooth, colorful, flat pieces of wood or paper (a printable is available here ).

Marshmallow Challenge Math Activity for Toddlers  

math activity for toddlers: marshmallow structure

Photo & activity: Brain Brigade  

The biggest challenge with math activity for toddlers is…not eating all of your materials! Grab some marshmallows (big and small) and a pile of toothpicks and then give your budding engineer some math challenges. Watch as your kids build amazing sculptures all inspired by math.

Nature Pattern Math Activity for Toddlers

math activity for toddlers: nature patterns

Photo & activity: Coffee Cups & Crayons

Recognizing patterns is an important skill for any mini mathematician. Try going on a nature walk to explore the patterns beyond your front door. After you observe patterns in nature, you can create your own patterns using the natural goodies you pick up along the way.

Snowball Math Game for Preschoolers

toddler math activity: snowball math game

Photo & activity: Frugal Fun 4 Boys

Got some energetic kids in your house? Have them get out their energy while thinking about numbers with this fun throwing game that will have your kids adding and subtracting in no time. For little ones who aren’t ready for adding and subtracting, you can adapt the game to help teach number recognition. Instead of pinning an addition or subtraction equation to each bucket, pin a singular number. 

Hopscotch Math Activity for Toddlers

Believe it or not this childhood classic doubles as a math activity for toddlers and preschoolers! Chalk out some fun diagrams and have everyone take a turn as they learn to count and identify numbers while jumping and playing too. See? Math is fun!

 More Toddler Activities: 

  • Indoor Toddler Activities
  • Toddler Art Projects
  • Educational Apps for Toddlers
  • Outdoor Activities for Toddlers

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numeracy activities toddlers

Toddler in Action


These super easy math activities that are designed for 2-year-old and 3-year-old toddlers and can certainly help your toddler to develop their early math skills. You can include them in your toddler daily routine and repeat them over and over again. Remember that children develop at different paces. Some may gain math skills later than other children while others might be advanced for their age.

Whatever your situation is, it is undoubtedly important to focus on early math in the first five years of a child’s life. Research finds that math skills at school entry are very strong predictors of overall school achievement (Duncan et al. 2007) .

If you want to read more about math skills and their development, check out the parenting resource of ZERO TO THREE . According to that, more advanced mathematical skills are based on an early math “foundation”—just like a house is built on a strong foundation. Thus, it is important to help your child begin to develop early math skills in the toddler years by introducing the 7 domains of early math :

  • Number sense
  • Representation
  • Spatial sense
  • Measurement
  • Problem-solving

Math Activities for Toddlers – Number Sense & Representation

1. count goldfishes, 2. count cars.

3. Count Balls on a Drying Rack

4. DIY Abacus

5. match the numbers.

Use a foam puzzle number mat and let your little one match the number to cars, toys, or other objects.

Math activities for toddlers

6. Set the table

Set the table for example for breakfast and dinner together. Make sure that there is a plate and cutlery for everyone and count them.

7. Learn to count with colouring pages and toy cars

Learn numbers and colors with coloring pages and cars

8. One for me, one for you

Always share! Cookies, snacks, fruits, napkins and whatever you can share just do it. One for me, one for you, one for daddy, one for…

When we were in Germany, Aiden used to go with his dad to get fresh eggs from a farm nearby. Counting the hens running around was not easy, but fun. The highlight was to count and put the eggs in the packaging and to pay subsequently. All in all, great activity and he broke only one time one egg!

9. Count the shoes

When you go out, count all of the shoes that go out – one, two, three, four. And count those that stay at home – even when that lasts longer.

Math activities for toddlers – Spatial sense

10. shape sorting.

Beside the toy shape sorters, you can use also empty baskets and ask your child to sort the shapes accordingly.

11. Stacking blocks

Stacking blocks is simple, but quite impressive, because it is one of the first form of geometry that toddlers learn. Make sure, that you have enough blocks at home to build up high.

Stacking Blocks Easy Math Activitites for Toddlers

12. Tunnels

Building tunnels is not only fun. It helps toddlers understand where objects are in space and in relation to other objects.

DIY Tunnels from Eggs Packaging Math Activities for Toddlers

13. Mirror Play

Mirror Play is a great way to understand dimensions and the simplest form of geometric worlds. The world of contemporary mathematics might be complicated , but for us mirror play is just fun way to count and be fascinated by the dimensions of our world.

14. Magnetic Math

Math skills really stick with magnetic math. Super fascinating and fun, these activities are a must for every preschooler.

Math activities for toddlers – Measurement & Estimation

15. check the kitchen scale.

Place different fruits and plates on the scale. Note the weight and explain the difference – that’s heavier, that’s lighter. You can also try out with an empty and full glass of water.

16. What’s cookin’?

Cook together with your toddler. Let them help you to fill, stir, and pour. Those activities are not only great to learn life skills , but also through these activities, your toddler can learn naturally, to count, measure, add, and estimate.

17. What size is it?

Let’s compare what’s more, less, bigger, smaller, more than, less than…Just do it everywhere!

18. The long and the short of it

Always compare what’s longer, what’s shorter.

Long and short Tunnels Easy Math Activities for Toddlers

19. Wait for a second, wait for a minute

Toddlers want instant results. However, making them wait is beneficial. It helps them not only to practice patience, but also to develop a sense of time. Use any opportunity to demonstrate that things take time, some longer than others. We use animal kitchen timer (a monkey) at home to demonstrate time.

Kitchen Timer Easy Math Activities for Toddlers

Math activities for toddlers – Patters & Problem-Solving

20. find similarities and differences.

Does the cat fly like the seagull? Can the duck swim like the jelly fish? Is this car also black? Finding similarities and differences helps your toddler to develop logical thinking and recognise there is more than one path to the answer.

21. Nursery Rhymes

Above all, nursery rhymes reinforce patterns. They can help your child understand what comes next and to make logical connections.

22. Play-Doh Numbers and Patterns

You can use Play-doh in many different ways with your toddler. You can help them to form numbers, shapes and other objects. Help them to put them in logical order and ask them to make predictions what comes next. The simplest form will be to make the numbers from 1 to 10 in different colours for instance. Additionally, you can help your toddler understand one-to-one correspondence, when you let them distribute objects to each number in correspondent color. You can use for example toy cars.

numeracy activities toddlers

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Math4Littles | Early Math Activities for Two- and Three-Year-Olds

  • December 30, 2019

We’ve designed these games to focus on the six key skill areas of early math.

When young children learn early math skills, it isn’t about equations and flashcards—it’s all about having fun while helping your little one’s brain grow. Take some time to browse the play activities below and try some with your 2-to-3 year-old. We’ve designed these games to focus on the six key skill areas of early math:

  • Computation
  • Spatial awareness
  • Measurement

Start with the first set of activities and then move on to the others when your child is ready. As you play, remember that children master skills at different speeds—for example, counting errors are common in the early years. Feel free to adjust the challenge level to suit your child. Remember the goal is having fun, so avoid making a big deal about mistakes. Just explain the correct answer and move on with the activity.

If you are a professional  and would like to use these activities with the families in your program,  check out the User’s Guide  to assist with your planning and implementation.

Math4Littles is a collaboration between American Institutes of Research and ZERO TO THREE.

Starting Out

  • One Cracker, Two  Crackers
  • Counting  Fun
  • Ones and  Twos
  • Basket  Ball
  • Teddy Bear Climbs a  Chair
  • Over Under Obstacle  Course
  • Counting  Rhymes
  • Only  One
  • Now, Listen to Me  Count
  • Step on the  Shape
  • Shape  Sorting
  • Shape  I-Spy
  • Comparing Apples and  Oranges
  • Shape  Hunt
  • Red, Blue, Red,  Blue
  • Counting As You  Go
  • Counting What You  Eat
  • How Many on the  Plate?
  • One Dot, Two  Dots
  • Can You Match  This?
  • Patterns with Forks and  Spoons
  • Tracing  Shapes
  • Find the  Shapes
  • Match the Shapes to Their  Shadows

Ready to Soar

  • Shoe Shoe  Train
  • And the Beat Goes  On
  • Circle, Circle,  Square
  • One More for the  Birds
  • How Many  Fingers?
  • Macaroni  Math
  • Big Spoon, Little  Spoon
  • Warm Soup, Cold  Soup
  • Puppy  Tails
  • Apple Tree  Math
  • What’s in the  Bowl?
  • Matching Sets of  Rocks

Related Resources

Black educators and entrepreneurs inspiring the future, celebrating diverse books: aanhpi heritage month, contar lo que comes, support zero to three.

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Numeracy Number Sort Tray

10 Hands-on Numeracy Ideas For Children

As a teacher of young children, I am aware of the huge benefits of students engaging in hands-on learning. In the early years, it is essential for children to have opportunities to engage in kinaesthetic learning where they can absorb themselves in activities and gain a comprehensive understanding of concepts. When teachers facilitate hands-on, kinaesthetic activities, they are creating engaging and exciting ways for children to master concepts and develop deeper understandings. Read on to find out 10 of my favourite hands-on numeracy ideas that I implement in my Prep classroom.  

1. Number hunt 

Number Hunt Game on clipboard

Earlier in the year, we went on a ‘sight word’ hunt and my students LOVED it, so I knew that I was going to have to organise something similar for maths! We have been focusing on teen numbers this term so this was a fun, hands-on opportunity for us to consolidate this learning. In our number hunt, we walked around the school searching for teen number cards. When we found each number card, we traced the numeral and number word on our sheet and then represented that number using tally marks. It was so much fun finding numbers all around the school! Especially the ones in funny places!

What you’ll need: 

  • Clipboards (one per student)
  • Sheet with numbers and number words to trace (one per student)
  • Number cards (to be placed around school)

As we engaged in this activity, we developed a range of skills including:

  • Recognition of teen numbers
  • Numeral formation practice
  • Knowledge of number words
  • Representing numbers in different ways
  • Gross motor skills

2. Number books 

 Kids drawing number book

Over the first semester of Prep, we have focused heavily on numbers 1-20. At the end of the semester, I thought a great way to consolidate this learning would be to make a number book focusing on these numbers. The nature of this activity has allowed children to be creative and take ownership of their writing. I have loved hearing their creative responses and seeing their knowledge of numbers 1-20!

Numeracy Kids Number Book Inside Spread

  • An example book to show students what the task is
  • ‘Books’ made from 11 pieces of paper folded and stapled
  • Pencils to write and draw with
  • Number posters to refer to if needed
  • Ordering numbers 1-20
  • Numeral formation of the numbers 1-20
  • Representing numerals with collections
  • Knowledge of how books work and what they can be used for
  • Writing skills and pencil grip

3.  Number towers

Numeracy Number Towers game on school desk

My students absolutely LOVE building so integrating this interest into our maths activities was crucial for maximum engagement. In this activity, students build a number tower with stackable counters to represent the numerals. As students are building their towers, they are counting using one to one correspondence as they add each counter.

  • Number tower sheets laminated
  •  Stackable Counters
  • Numeral recognition
  • Ability to represent numerals with a collection
  • One to one correspondence
  • Fine motor skills
  • Hand-eye coordination

4. Rainbow rice number formation

Numeracy Number Formation game in tray with coloured rice

Learning to write numerals properly is a very important skill children should learn in their first year of school. We practice proper numeral formation through a range of tactile experiences including on the interactive smartboard, on our individual whiteboards, making numerals with playdough, and our favourite of all time; writing in rainbow rice. In this activity, students choose a number disc from the table and write the numeral in the rainbow rice with their finger. It’s a maths experience with a sensory twist!

What you’ll need:

  • Rainbow rice (normal rice dyed with food colouring)
  • 1-20 Wooden Number Matching Discs
  • Tray to contain rice
  • Numeral formation
  • Sensory exploration

 5. Rainbow rice number representation

Numeracy Number Representation Game in Active World Tray

As mentioned above, we LOVE using rainbow rice in our maths activities. In this activity, students choose a number card and then represent this number using counters in their bowl. The cards contain number represented in different ways; numerals, number words, tally marks, tens frame etc. Students sift through the rainbow rice to find the counters and place the counters in their bowl by using tweezers.

  • Stackable Counters
  • Coloured Plastic Bowls
  • Printed number cards (representing numbers in different ways)
  • Understanding that numbers can be represented in different ways
  • Number recognition

6. Exploring 2D shapes 

Numeracy Exploring 2d Shapes on School desk

This term, we explored 2D shapes in-depth and learnt about the properties of each shape. One of the main activities we engaged in to reinforce this learning was using our Geoboards to create shapes. As students used the rubber bands to make 2D shapes on their Geoboards, they were encouraged to use mathematical language and discuss the properties of each shape as they made it. For example “I’m making a square… It has 4 vertices and 4 sides that are all equal”.

  • Rubber bands for Geoboards
  • Printed 2D shape cards
  • Shape recognition
  • Knowledge of 2D shape properties
  • Use of mathematical language

 7. Beanbag match up 

Numeracy Bean Bag Match-up Game

Resources that can be used in multiple ways are my absolute favourite! These number beanbags are used a lot in my classroom for various activities. Sometimes it’s as simple as using the beanbags for transitions; throwing a beanbag to each student and they have to say the number before they head to the next activity. We also like using the beanbags for matching activities, such as pairing them with number cards or throwing them in a numbered hula hoop.

  • Printed number cards 1-10
  • Number 1 – 10 beanbags
  • Numeral and number word recognition
  • Matching skills

 8. Number lock match up

Number Lock Match-up Game in kids hand

Representing numbers to 20 in different ways is a big focus for us in the first year of school. One of our favourite ways to explore this key maths concept is engaging with these number locks. I usually set these up as a maths rotation and students are encouraged to find the correct key to unlock the matching lock. Students have to use their knowledge of counting, as well as numeral and word recognition to match the correct key to lock, which reinforces their knowledge of number being able to be represented in different ways.

Numeracy Number Lock Match-up Game in basket

  • Unlock it counting keys and number match
  • Counting skills

9. Exploring direction and location with Beebots 

Exploring Direction and Location with Beebots

One of the components we have been exploring in maths is direction and location. We have been using our Beebots and Beebot mats to explore positional and directional language as well as following and giving directions. When my students were first introduced to Beebots they were SO excited and this mathematical area has been one of the most engaging and enjoyable concepts to explore. We love working in groups and watching our Beebots follow our commands to move around the mats.

Numeracy Beebots Race Track

  • Beebot Fairytale Mat
  • Beebot early number mat
  • Positional and directional language vocabulary
  • Following and giving directions to locations
  • Using mathematical language
  • Digital technology skills
  • Teamwork skills

10. Number sort 

Numeracy Number Sort Game on desk

At the beginning of the year in Prep, a lot of the focus in maths is on numbers to 10. One of our favourite maths activities to explore numbers to 10 was matching maths beads to number cards. The students use the tweezers to pick up the beads and match them to the corresponding number card.

  • Maths beads
  • Printed number cards 0-9
  • Fine motor skills by using the tweezers
  • Number discrimination
  • Knowledge of numbers 0-9
  • Sorting and matching skills

What is your favourite hands-on maths activity to implement in your classroom?


Heidi Overbye from  Learning Through Play  is a Brisbane based, Early Years Teacher who currently teaches Prep, the first year of formal schooling in Queensland. Heidi is an advocate for play-based, hands-on learning experiences and creating stimulating and creative learning spaces. Heidi shares what happens in her classroom daily on her Instagram page, Learning Through Play. See @learning.through.play for a huge range of activities, play spaces and lesson ideas.

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Hands On As We Grow®

Hands on kids activities for hands on moms. Focusing on kids activities perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

40+ Awesome Number Activities for Preschoolers

Math & 123s Popular Preschoolers Counting Numbers Resources 62 Comments

I love math. I’m a nerd, yes. But I love anything to do with numbers.

I really do hope I can pass this along to my kids by making learning activities about numbers and counting fun for them and not a chore.

As I’m typing this, Henry’s shouting excitedly as he’s counting how many things on his sprayer…though I’m not really sure what he’s counting exactly. He made it to 39 though!

Because I’m a huge math nerd I searched for easy and fun number activities for preschoolers.

My Favorite 40+ Number Activities for Preschoolers!

Dive into early learning with 40+ number activities for preschoolers!

Try these activities to help preschoolers learn their ABCs !

Recognizing Numbers Activities for Preschoolers

Identifying numbers can be a learning experience for preschoolers (and younger!). Many of the ABC recognition activities  can also be adjusted for numbers.

My kids love these 12 number activities for preschoolers to recognize numbers.

Recognizing Number Activities for Preschoolers

  • Turn a number into sensory art – perfect for the 100th day of school!
  • Go on a hunt for numbers and match it with the same number!
  • Follow a number from start to finish in a maze.
  • Trace numbers, really big!
  • Little Family Fun created a parking lot with numbers .
  • Pop! Find the number and pop it!
  • Find and match playing cards.
  • Have target practice with water balloons and numbers, like Motherhood on a Dime
  • Make art! Do this paint by number canvas art.
  • Use stickers and printable number cards to play hide and seek , from Teach Mama.
  • Draw and paint over numbers with q-tips , like Toddler at Play!
  • Clip and match with giant numbers from You’ve Got This Math!

Counting Activities for Preschoolers

Learning there’s a sequence to the numbers and what comes next. Try these 18 number activities to help preschoolers learn to count.

Counting Number Activities for Preschoolers

  • Connect the dots!  A simple past-time activity that reinforces the order of numbers.
  • Upcycle a box into  a puzzle of numbers!
  • Create  a maze of numbers  to drive through. Can they count their way to the end?
  • Stacking up boxes  and counting how high you can go!
  • Make a craft together  with multiple pieces. Have your child do the counting!
  • Count cars of a particular color  while on the road, or semis, or vans, whatever suits their interest!
  • Create  a learning game with your ABC mat and number blocks. Choose a number block and pound the corresponding times with a hammer on the corresponding number mat!
  • Let your child run an experiment and  measure how much something holds ! How many cups fit?
  • Make puzzles with a picture.  Cut apart and have your child put it back together again, from Growing in Kids Activities Blog.
  • Use friendly animal crackers to practice counting and number recognition, like I Can Teach My Child.
  • Measure objects  (or yourself!) and count how big they are, from The Imagination Tree
  • Count objects around the house . No Time For Flash Cards wants to know “How many doors do you have?”
  • Play any board game, or make your own! Little Family Fun creates  a fish race  game!
  • Count with LEGO!  Do Play Learn likes to label a paper with numbers and count out the LEGO next to it.
  • Snack time!  Use dice and fruit snacks and play until you eat them all up, like Kids Activities Blog.
  • Have a bean bag toss on the stairs , number them!

One to One Correspondence Activities for Preschoolers

Knowing your numbers is one thing and knowing how to count is another. But being able to put them into context that they each have meaning is done with one to one correspondence.

Get ready for preschool with  35 name activities !

I love these 12 number activities that help a preschool practice one to one correspondence.

One to One Correspondence Number Activities for Preschoolers

  • Head out into nature and explore flowers.  Count and compare flower petals! 
  • Go on a hunt for a number and match it to its corresponding dots.
  • Build towers of blocks on a number mat, with the correct number of blocks high!
  • Spark your child’s interest with their interests! A farming approach of loading grain bins with the corresponding number of pieces of “grain.”
  • Have a newspaper throwing game and count up the newspaper balls, or how many you make, or miss!
  • Make something in the kitchen together, or do an experiment and let your child measure out and do the counting.
  • Sort through objects by color, and count how many you have of each!
  • Fill a dump truck with objects  (like Dominoes!) and count how many you can fit in there, like Inspiration Laboratories.
  • Estimate first for some fun and then count item, from Teach Preschool.
  • Have a counting race in the front yard and pick dandelions in the process!
  • Roll a die (or two!) and practice one to one correspondence as kids build towers with blocks.
  • Use a dice and small objects (like pom poms or corn kernels) and count them and fill up a tray.

Dive into early learning with 40+ number activities for preschoolers!

Counting and number books that will get preschoolers excited about numbers:

  • The Baker’s Dozen: A Counting Book
  • I Spy Numbers
  • One Big Building: A Counting Book About Construction (Know Your Numbers)

Do you actively work on numbers and counting with your child? Share your favorite activities!

Dive into early learning with 40+ number activities for preschoolers!


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About Jamie Reimer

Jamie learned to be a hands on mom by creating activities, crafts and art projects for her three boys to do. Jamie needed the creative outlet that activities provided to get through the early years of parenting with a smile! Follow Jamie on Pinterest and Instagram !

More Hands on Kids Activities to Try

numeracy activities toddlers

Reader Interactions


jemsbond says

March 11, 2023 at 4:49 am

great article it could be help for my 4 years old kids

ritika says

October 1, 2021 at 6:02 am

in this article, all activities are good but I liked Count cars of a particular color. It is an amazing activity. I will teach numbers to my 2 year old baby boy by this way. Thanks for sharing this awesome post.

Brenda says

September 12, 2021 at 7:23 pm

Megan Jia @infoparenting says

September 22, 2021 at 2:45 am

As a preschool teacher i would say These activities are really amazing and kids learn very much from this.

Anita Mahajan says

August 13, 2021 at 9:25 pm

Awesome I appreciate if some activities for the kids who’s parents can’t afford…and reahble to their means in time of pandemic specially when kids are not going out

Paul Flexi says

July 30, 2021 at 11:29 am

The activities you have shared are really very interesting and helps children to learn and grow more. Thank you for sharing!

tanu agarwal says

May 18, 2021 at 6:47 am

This school activites are helpful for every child.

Levitator says

February 1, 2021 at 1:50 am

These activities are really amazing and kids learn very much from this.

is warframe crossplay says

January 22, 2021 at 8:43 am

These activities are love and all 40 activities are really amazing for kids.

f95zone says

January 18, 2021 at 1:56 am

These ideas are really amazing and all 40 activities are really interesting.

Adelaida says

December 9, 2020 at 1:04 pm

Quality posts is the main to be a focus for the visitors to pay a visit the site, that’s what this web site is providing.

Techtipntrick says

May 8, 2020 at 7:31 pm

STEM activities (Science Technology Engineering and Math) are all the buzz in education. Kids love finding out how things work through fun, hands-on projectsand teachers love knowing that they re preparing students for their techy future.

December 31, 2019 at 4:55 am

nice information.

August 21, 2019 at 11:27 am

Thanks for sharing such a long list of number activities for preschoolers.

Sarbinaz says

March 18, 2019 at 7:12 am

Very wonderful

September 14, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Obaapabi Mavis says

September 15, 2017 at 8:09 pm

This’ amazing! Wow! This preschool page is very good for every preschool teachers. In fact I recommend this page to all preschool teachers n mums. Thanks

Aruj Anjum says

July 1, 2017 at 6:26 am

Awesome Simply loved these activities

Bernard Beduya says

June 15, 2017 at 10:40 pm

I’m from the Philippines and I’m in in my initial stage of creating a book which will use Legos in teaching math. I’m scouring the Net for sources and I’m particularly keen on using one of your pictures on your site.

whitley olga says

April 18, 2017 at 1:24 am

Wow, excellent activities!! I can’t wait to try them all!

whitley says

April 18, 2017 at 1:07 am

Teaching your child about numbers is very important and it is an early preschool concept that most kids need to have mastered before they go to kindergarten. Not only will your child need to be able to count from 1 to 10, they will also need to know how to identify each of the numbers. In fact, your child has to learn their numbers before they can perform simple math problems. If you are homeschooling do try to include numbers in home preschool curriculum for toddlers. It’s fun and the right age to learn and enjoy with the wonderful concept of numbers.

Shaila says

March 7, 2017 at 12:39 am

Thank you for your lovely ideas.I loved most of them and going to apply them in my class soon.

Elizabeth Olushola says

January 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

The activities are quite educating & enlightening. well done and more grace to hands on a swegrow.

August 17, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Thank you for making this blog and sharing! Go boy mama go!!

Fahreen says

March 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Hello m looking for activity for identifying bigger numbers and smaller numbers

Bonani Moyo says

March 2, 2016 at 4:28 am

Love counting activities as well as colouring ,,,this is just awesome. Thank you

Ms. Jordan says

January 2, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for sharing your hands-on activities . I needed more for this year’s smarties.

Melissa says

November 23, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Great ideas! :)

elizabeth titus says

September 21, 2015 at 12:40 am


Shelly says

September 1, 2015 at 6:06 am

Looking forward to some great ideas pre K to start our new year..

August 27, 2015 at 7:30 am

Useful material at last! Great job!

July 19, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I am so happy to find website . Thanks guys

Evanescentkook684.Yolasite.Com says

January 26, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Saved as a favorite, I really like yor web site!

December 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Very useful methods. Thanks for sharing.

Rosalyn L Smith says

July 10, 2014 at 9:47 am

Great ideals on math lessons with a great low cost in mind!

Jamie Reimer says

July 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Rosalyn!

Darshana Bhatt says

December 20, 2013 at 3:36 am

I am learning Diplomacy in Early Childhood …..I found the activities useful for my project….thanks

December 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

You’re welcome!

August 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm

There are so many great ideas in your list. I need to use a few of them with my Sassyfras. My boys are great with math, but she struggles some concepts.

August 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm

So many great ideas! Thanks for sharing =-) Say… how did you get the super cool Pinterest icon to appear over the pictures!! I LOVE it & would LOVE to do it as well =-) Beth

August 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Beth, its a WordPress Plugin. I’m not sure how to do it on Blogger, I’ve looked for it without any luck yet.

Margaret says

August 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm

My son shocked me the other day with counting. I was measuring using a tablespoon and he counted for me. He would say the number first and I would repeat, then he would say the next number and so on. He made it to 13 before stopping! To that point, he had counted to ten. He just turned 2 this week and doesn’t know numerals but counting is coming along quickly. So, a child doesn’t necessarily need to be able to identify numerals before starting to count.

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numeracy activities toddlers

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Math Talk with Infants and Toddlers

Two fathers playing with son outside

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Will feeds Maya, his 8-month-old daughter. He pauses for a moment and Maya signs “ more .” Will laughs. “You want  more ? Okay, here it comes!” When the bowl is empty, Will says and signs, “All  gone . Maya ate her food. All  gone .” Maya looks at him and smiles.

Children develop math concepts and skills very early in life. From the moment they are born, babies begin to form ideas about math through everyday experiences and, most important, through interactions with trusted adults. Language—how we talk with infants and toddlers about math ideas like  more, empty,  and  full —matters.

Math is everywhere!

We use basic math language all the time, without realizing it. For example, when we separate clothes by color, we’re using the math concepts of sorting and classifying. When we keep score during a game and determine how much our team is ahead or behind (number and operations), or give someone directions to get from one place to another (spatial relationships)—that’s math. We constantly use comparison words (measurement) such as  big  and  little  and use patterns to explain the order of daily routines and activities (“We brush our teeth  after  breakfast”). With our children, we play games and sing songs that use numbers and counting (such as ”One, Two, Buckle My Shoe”).

Even without our support, infants and toddlers use math concepts to make sense of their world. For example, infants like Maya signal when they want more food.  More  is one of the first math concepts understood by children. Babies tell us—often dramatically—that they know the difference between familiar and unfamiliar adults (sorting and classifying). Toddlers try to climb into boxes of various sizes (spatial relationships) and say words and phrases from familiar stories or songs that use repetition (patterns).

We can make the math that occurs in daily life visible to children through math talk. Each day offers us countless opportunities to help children deepen their understanding of math concepts. The more we talk math, the better chance infants and toddlers have to build a positive attitude toward math learning and learning in general.

Basic math concepts  

When we are aware of early math concepts, we can be more thoughtful in our everyday interactions with infants and toddlers. Here are five basic math concepts that can be woven into our everyday conversations with infants and toddlers.

1. Number and operations —understanding the concept of number, quantity, order, ways of representing numbers, one-to-one correspondence (that one object corresponds to one number), and counting.

  • “You have  two  eyes, and so does your bear. Let’s count:--1, 2.”
  • “I have  more  crackers than you do. See, I have 1, 2, 3,  and you have 1, 2. I’m going to eat one of mine. Now I have the  same  as you!”
  • “That’s the  third  time I’ve heard you say mama. You’ve said mama three times!”

2. Shapes and spatial relationships (geometry) —recognizing and naming shapes, understanding the physical relationship between yourself and other objects and the relationships between objects.

  • “Look, Jason went  under  the climber and Aliyah is on  top !”
  • “You’re sitting  next to  your brother.”
  • “Some of the crackers we have today are  square , and some are  round .”

3. Measurement —size, weight, quantity, volume, and time.

  • “Moving that chair is hard. It’s  heavy .”
  • “Your nap lasted a  long  time today!”
  •  “Let’s count how  many  steps it takes to reach the mailbox.”

4. Patterns, relationships, and change —recognizing (seeing the relationships that make up a pattern) and/or creating repetitions of objects, events, colors, lines, textures, and sounds; understanding that things change over time and that change can be described with math words. These are the basic building blocks of algebra!

  • “Daddy has stripes on his shirt— white, blue, white, blue, white, blue .”
  • ”Let’s clap to the  beat  of this song.”
  • “I put the blocks  in  the bucket; you dump them  out . I put the blocks back  in  the bucket; you dump them  out !”
  • “Our plant looks  taller  today. I think it grew overnight.”

5. Collecting and organizing information —gathering, sorting, classifying, and analyzing information (data) to help make sense of what is happening in the environment.

  • “Let’s put the  big  lid on the  big  bowl and the  small  lid on the  small  bowl.”
  • “You  always  smile when Mommy sings to you!”
  • “Let’s put the  dolls in the basket  and the  balls in the box .”
  • Talk math with your child as a matter of routine. For example, diapering, meal and bath times, neighborhood walks, and shopping trips are ideal times to count, point out shapes and sizes, talk about patterns, and describe how things are the  same  and different. 
  • Make a list of math talk words and phrases. Post it on the refrigerator or somewhere else handy to remind you to take advantage of math talk opportunities.

Math talk enriches everyday learning experiences for infants and toddlers. You’ll be surprised at how much they know and can learn. Your math talk today can help your children be successful in math as they get older.

Source: Adapted from a Rocking and Rolling column written by Jan Greenberg and published in the May 2012 issue of  Young Children . The full article is available at  www.naeyc.org/yc/files/yc/file/201205/RockingAndRolling_YC0512.pdf .

For more information on early math learning, see the joint position statement of NAEYC and NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics): “Early Childhood Mathematics: Promoting Good Beginnings” (2002, updated 2010) at  www.naeyc.org/positionstatements/mathematics .

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35 Active Math Games and Activities for Kids Who Love To Move

For all those kids who think math is boring…

Collage of Active Math Games

Tired of hearing groans when you announce it’s time for math? These active math games and activities will spice up your learning game. They get kids up and moving, using their whole bodies to learn facts and skills. Lots of these ideas can be adapted to suit a variety of math concepts, so choose a few to try out with your own math students.

1. Throw snowballs inside or out

Four plastic buckets with math flashcards clothespinned to them, with large white pom poms in each (Active Math Games)

Clip flash cards to plastic tubs, then challenge kids to throw the correct number of large white pom-poms (“snowballs”) in from a distance. If there’s snow on the ground, bundle up and take this one outside to use real snowballs!

Learn more: Frugal Fun 4 Boys and Girls

2. Stack sticks to practice tally marks

Number cards on the sidewalk with piles of small sticks representing tally marks

Small sticks are perfect for practicing tally marks. Kids will have fun checking the ground under trees for twigs, then breaking them into pieces and creating tally piles.

Learn more: @amysam623

3. Fish for numbers

Child using a wood fishing pole to catch foam numbered fish in a kiddie pool

It’s so easy to make your own magnet fishing pole. Float some numbered foam fish with paper clips attached, then try to catch the numbers in the right order! (Don’t want to get wet? Just lay the fish on the ground instead.)

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Fishing Math

4. Draw and measure shapes on the sidewalk

Students using a measuring tape to measure shapes drawn on the ground with sidewalk chalk

First, give kids some sidewalk chalk and let them draw a variety of shapes, as big or small as they like. Then, arm them with measuring tapes and have them practice taking measurements.

Learn more: @playexploregrow

5. Stomp and smash on a number line

Student stomping on paper bags labeled with numbers (Active Math Games)

Grab some paper bags and number them, then shake them out and lay them in a number line. Now, call out an addition or subtraction problem, like 3 + 2. Have a student stomp on the bag labeled three, then on the next two to arrive at an answer of five. (Feeling brave? Try this one with balloons!)

Learn more: Schooltime Snippets

6. Grow fact-family flowers

Flowers made of rocks and leaves with math facts written on the leaves and answers on the stones (Active Math Games)

Pick up colorful fall leaves and write math facts on them. Gather them around a numbered rock to make pretty flowers.

Learn more: @discoverwildlearning

7. Toss beanbags to learn place value

Plastic bins labeled thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones sitting on the grass with beanbags (Active Math Games)

Label bins with place values like ones, tens, and hundreds. Kids toss beanbags into the bins, then count them and see what number they’ve created.

Learn more: Saddle Up for Second Grade/Place Value Toss

8. Form paper-plate number bonds

Students and teacher holding up numbered paper plates to form a number bond

Pass out numbered paper plates, then have students mix and mingle to see how many number bonds they can form.

Learn more: The Schroeder Page

9. Create a life-size number line

Young student running along a number line drawn on the sidewalk

Number lines are wonderful for all sorts of math games and activities. Make one big enough for kids to stand and jump around on using sidewalk chalk (or painter’s tape indoors). You’ll use it over and over again.

Learn more: Childhood Beckons

10. Hit the target and graph

Red yellow and blue target with Target Toss worksheet (Active Math Games)

You can teach graphing in lots of ways, so why not make it active? Students throw balls onto a target, graphing and analyzing their throws as they go.

Learn more: Amy Lemons

11. Head out on a plot graph scavenger hunt

Student holding a piece of graph paper with a map drawn on it

Create a map of your school, playground, or other area using graph paper (or even better, have kids help you do it). Then choose plot points for them to visit to find notes or small prizes. They’ll feel like real treasure hunters!

Learn more: Edventures With Kids

12. Roll the dice to count and move

Pair of dice with a wooden die with sides labeled jump, spin, and other activities (Active Math Games)

Get practice with low-number counting and addition using action dice. Write activities like “jump,” “clap,” or “stomp” on a small wooden block, then roll it along with a pair of dice. Kids add them up (or subtract if you prefer) and complete the activity the number of times shown.

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Math Dice

13. Whack a ball to subtract

Student's hand holding a wood mallet and card saying 8 minus 3 over a box with ping pong balls resting in holes

You know your elementary math students are going to love this! Build your own whack-a-mole 10-frame with a shoebox and Ping-Pong balls. Then, have kids whack the balls to practice their subtraction facts. So fun!

Learn more: Planning Playtime

14. Make a splash with water balloons

Young student splashing a water balloon onto the number ten drawn on the sidewalk (Active Math Games)

You’re going to need to be willing to get a little wet for this one, but kids simply adore math games (or any games!) with water balloons. Fill and label balloons numbered 1 through 20 (or whatever numbers you’re working on). Draw the numbers in a big circle on the playground. Then, have a student choose a balloon, find the matching number, and head off to make a splash!

Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands

15. Tell time on a giant clock

Students standing on a large clock drawn on the sidewalk; text reads Sidewalk Chalk Clock Games

Draw a giant clock face with hours and minutes on the playground with sidewalk chalk. Choose two students to be the hour and minute hands, then call out a time and send them out to become the clock. Add more complicated elements by having them add to or subtract from the initial time too. (“Now it’s 23 minutes later!”)

Learn more: Creative Family Fun/Sidewalk Chalk Clock

16. Measure your frog jumps

Two children measuring tape lines on the floor

Have your students hop like frogs, leap like gazelles, or jump like kangaroos. Then, pull out the ruler or measuring tape so they can measure the distances they’ve covered.

Learn more: Coffee Cups and Crayons

17. Jump to math facts practice

Student jumping on a large number grid made of masking tape on the floor (Active Math Games)

Lay out a grid like the one shown that has the answers to whatever set of math flash cards you’re currently working with. (This teacher used masking tape; you could also do sidewalk chalk on the playground.) Two players face off, one on each side of the board. Show the flash card, and kids race to be the first to jump to the correct square with both feet inside the lines. Get all the rules at the link below.

Learn more: Teaching and Tapas

18. Run a flash-card race

Children walk along a line of flashcards on the floor

Tape a series of flash cards to the floor and challenge kids to see who can correctly make their way from start to finish the fastest. They can call out the answers or write them down, but they have to get it right before they move on. Kids can race side by side or work independently to beat their own best time.

Learn more: There’s Just One Mommy

19. Catch a math beach ball

Student holding a beach ball marked with numbers (Active Math Games)

Beach balls are so much fun in the classroom. Scribble numbers all over one with a Sharpie, then toss it to a student. Wherever their thumbs land, they add (or subtract or multiply) those two numbers together before tossing the ball to the next student.

Learn more: Saddle Up for Second Grade/Beach Ball Math

20. Do a number dance

Large mats with the numbers 0 to 9 laid out on the floor

Kids who love “Dance Dance Revolution” will get into this one. Make a number mat for each student like the ones shown. Flash an equation with an answer between 10 and 99 on the screen. Kids figure out the answer and jump to put their left foot on the correct tens place, right foot on the ones. They’ll be dancing and spinning as they learn!

Learn more: Number Loving

21. Groove with angles

numeracy activities toddlers

Teach kids about transversals and the angles they create with some fun dance moves! Get the details for “Dance Dance Transversal” at the link below.

Learn more: Communicating Mathematically

22. Add and subtract by stacking cups

Plastic cups with math problems and numbers, stacked into a pyramid (Active Math Games)

We’re not sure why, but kids simply  love stacking cups. Label yours with math problems and answers, then have kids build pyramids and towers galore!

Learn more: The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

23. Measure the height of a tree (no ladder needed)

numeracy activities toddlers

Kids will be amazed to learn they can measure the tallest tree while keeping their feet on the ground. The link below walks you through the steps with a free printable.

Learn more: From ABCs to ACTs

24. Count and learn on a nature walk

Field of flowers with text You already have 3 flowers. Count the rest of the pink flowers to find out how many you have altogether.

Take an outdoor stroll and practice basic math along the way. This works indoors too—walk the school hallways (quietly) and count doors, windows, posters, and more.

Learn more: Creative Family Fun/Math Walk

25. Hunt for shapes in the world around you

Clipboards with Shape Hunt worksheets showing colorful pictures of circles, triangles, and more (Active Math Games)

Looking for super-simple and fun active math games? Give students a sheet with shapes to find as you walk around the school or playground. Each time they find the shape, have them trace it on their worksheet and then make a mark to keep track of how many times they’ve seen it.

Learn more: Hands-On Teaching Ideas

26. Steal the balls with addition robbery

Collage of pictures showing colorful balls and a boy running with the text Addition Robbery: An Active Group Math Game

Kids compete to see whose basket of balls will add up to the highest amount. The trick? They don’t know at the beginning which balls are worth the most. Learn how to play at the link below.

Learn more: That After School Life

27. Puddle-jump from number to number

Student jumping around on construction paper puddles labeled with numbers (Active Math Games)

Lay out a series of construction paper puddles labeled with numbers. You can call out numbers and have kids jump to the correct one, or have them jump from one to the next in order forward or backward, or even try some skip counting.

Learn more: NurtureStore

28. Paint and hide number rocks

Colorful rocks painted with 19, plus sign, 34, and equals sign

Painted rocks are always a big hit! Have your class help you make these, then hide them around the playground and send kids off to find and answer equations.

Learn more: The OT Toolbox

29. Skip-count along a hopscotch board

Student playing hopscotch on the sidewalk

A hopscotch board can be used for a lot of fun and active math games. Try it for skip counting: Kids hop along counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, or whatever you’re currently working on. Learn more at the link below.

Learn more: Math Geek Mama/Skip-Counting Hopscotch

30. Aim and throw to practice math skills

Two hand-drawn dartboards with darts on the 70 ring and 40 ring (Active Math Games)

Pick up a set of Sticky Darts and draw two dartboards side by side. You can label the rings with any numbers you like. Kids throw the darts and then add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers—your choice!

Learn more: Inspiration Labs

31. Design an outdoor board game

Curved path drawn on the sidewalk with math problems and a pair of dice

Draw a winding path and fill the spaces with math equations. Kids roll the dice and move from space to space (have them jump, skip, or twirl to mix things up). If they get the answer right, they move to the new space. If not, their turn is over. Customizable math games like this can be used at any level.

Learn more: Look! We’re Learning!

32. Turn UNO into an active math game

Active Math Games Uno

Grab your UNO deck and get ready to move! Assign each color a movement (hop, touch toes, etc.). As kids draw the cards, everyone completes the movement the correct number of times. Skip and Reverse work as usual, but anyone who gets Draw Two has to draw two more cards and complete the actions on their own while others cheer them on. See more at the link below.

Learn more: Still Playing School

33. Bowl them over while learning math facts

Plastic bottles with numbers set up like bowling pins with a beach ball (Active Math Games)

Active math games using recycled materials are economical and good for the environment. Set up empty plastic bottles labeled 1 through 10, then roll the ball to see how many you can knock down. Add up the numbers of the knocked-over bottles to get your score.

Learn more: Learn With Play at Home

34. Compete to win at putt-putt math

numeracy activities toddlers

Pick up a few dollar-store supplies and make your own putt-putt course. This can be a simple game where kids simply shoot for the highest (or lowest) number. But you can also drive up the complexity by putting equations on the cups that kids have to solve first to determine which is the best cup to aim for.

Learn more: My Catch a Star Classroom!

35. Give a classic game a math twist

Students playing Twister with sticky note numbers on each circle

Create active math games that give new life to existing resources. For example, add numbers to Twister! For more advanced players, instead of saying “Right hand 5,” try saying “Right hand 14 – 9” to make them think.

Learn more: Math Geek Mama/Twister Math

If you like these active math games and are looking for more ways to move in the classroom, try these 21 Kinesthetic Reading Activities for your most active learners.

Plus, sign up for our free newsletters to get all the best teaching tips and ideas.

35 Active Math Games and Activities for Kids Who Love To Move

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10 Playful Math Activities for Preschoolers

Prepare your child for school success with these fun math activities to do at home.

JGI / Jamie Grill / Blend Images / Corbis

Preschoolers aren't too young to develop their math skills—and doing so can be fun! Learning math promotes working memory, improves attention , and increases other basic cognitive skills. Additionally, studies have shown that a child's math skills upon entering kindergarten can strongly predict their future academic performance in both math and reading throughout the elementary grades.

But don't head to the store to buy flash cards and worksheets, which might squelch your child's natural interest in the subject. Instead, engage them in these playful math activities to help them develop a strong foundation in basic math skills.

Number Concept Activities

Counting helps children learn number sequence—but they need to develop a basic understanding of numbers first. Three important number concepts are one-to-one correspondence (each object is counted only once); cardinality (the last object counted is the total number of objects); and invariance (the number of objects doesn't change if they are configured differently—for instance, spread out or placed in a circle). Here are math activities for preschoolers to help develop these concepts.

Count objects in everyday contexts

Count the buttons on your child's shirt, the oranges you put in the grocery bag, the forks needed to set the table, or the stairs to the front door. Start with small numbers (no more than five) and add a few as your child is ready for more of a challenge.

Put small objects in a row

Gather some coins and ask your child how many there are. After they have counted them, rearrange them in a circle or row, and ask them again. Don't be surprised if they have to count them for a second time. But if they automatically answer without counting, you'll know they have mastered number invariance.

Find objects that go together

If your child has difficulty with one-to-one correspondence, find objects that correlate—such as spoons and forks, cups and saucers, and horse and cowboy figurines—and ask them to pair them together. As they do, have them count each set of objects to help reinforce the idea that each pair consists of the same number.

Play board games that involve counting

Simple board games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders help preschoolers recognize numbers and count moves. More complex games involve two dice instead or one or doubling the number that comes up for each move.

Geometry and Spatial Understanding Activities

Children develop a basic understanding of geometry and spatial relations by playing with building toys like blocks. Encourage geometry-related skills with these math activities to do at home.

Identify shapes in your home

Find basic shapes around the home, such as rectangles in light switches, squares in window panes, and circles in clocks. Ask your child to explain how they differentiate each shape by their defining features (for instance, a triangle has three connected sides) and non-defining features (such as the position or size of the triangle).

Talk about picture placement in a book

When reading a storybook , use spatial language to discuss the placement of pictures. Ask related questions, such as "Where is the moon? Is it above the tree? Is it under the tree?" Or reference sizes by asking, "Is the hippopotamus bigger than the monkey? Which animal is bigger? Which flower is smaller?"

Make a map of your home

Practice spatial language by helping your child make a map of their bedroom . As they place and space out furniture, windows, and closets, ask them questions about where they're located and how close together they are.

Measurement Activities

Your child will learn many forms of measurement (length, height, weight, size, and quantity). Embed these concepts into everyday life with these activities for preschoolers.

Measure while you cook or bake

Cooking with your child offers a wealth of opportunities to learn math. Fill measuring cups and spoons with water or flour to introduce your kids to whole numbers and fractions. Ask questions such as "Can you fill a half cup? Can you fill one teaspoon?"

Guess weight at the supermarket

The next time you visit the grocery store, pull two different items from the shelves and ask your child which one is heavier: "Is it the can of soup or the box of crackers?" Children will learn how to understand the concepts of heaviness and lightness.

Compare feet sizes

Place your foot next to your child's foot and ask them which is longer or bigger. Have a ruler or tape measure on hand to compare the sizes and help them differentiate between long and short, large and small.

Deborah Stipek, Ph.D., is a professor at Stanford University and a Parents advisor. She is also the author of Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning.

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21 Best Number Activities for Preschoolers: Count on Fun!

A handmade counting game

1. Number Hunt

2. number match-up, 3. number fishing, 4. number hopscotch, 5. number collage, 6. number line jump, 7. number train, 8. number ladder climb, 9. number puzzle sequence, 10. number song and dance.

We often focus on literacy, teaching kids to read and write. But numeracy, the ability to understand and work with numbers , is equally crucial. It’s not just about being able to do math in school; it’s about setting the foundation for a lifetime of learning, understanding, and problem-solving .

SplashLearn: Most Comprehensive Learning Program for PreK-5

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SplashLearn inspires lifelong curiosity with its game-based PreK-5 learning program loved by over 40 million children. With over 4,000 fun games and activities, it’s the perfect balance of learning and play for your little one.

In this blog, we’ll explore some engaging number activities for preschoolers . These activities are designed to make learning fun and interactive, ensuring that our little ones develop a strong foundation in numeracy that will benefit them for years to come. So, let’s dive in and discover the exciting world of numbers together!

Importance of Number Activities for Preschoolers

Did you know that a child’s ability to count, recognize numbers , and understand quantities during their preschool years can significantly influence their mathematical performance in school? According to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information , early numeracy skills are not just fun activities for kids ; they are powerful predictors of school-age mathematical learning and performance. In fact, children’s mathematical knowledge when they start school is the strongest predictor of their later math success and even success in other academic areas. This highlights the immense importance of nurturing these skills from a young age.

5 Number Recognition Activities for Preschoolers

Recognizing numbers is one of the foundational steps in a child’s mathematical journey. As they begin to familiarize themselves with the shapes and names of numbers, they lay the groundwork for more advanced mathematical concepts. These number recognition activities are designed to make this learning process engaging and fun. Let’s dive in!

Transform playtime into a number-finding adventure. This preschool number activities idea not only sharpens observational skills but also reinforces number recognition. As kids excitedly search and identify numbers, they simultaneously build a strong foundation in numeracy.

Materials Needed:

  • Number flashcards or printed numbers
  • Tape or pins for securing numbers

How to Do It:

Hide the number flashcards around your garden or play area. Ask the child to find and identify each number they discover.

Number matchup flashcards

A tactile way to introduce numbers for kids, this activity combines counting with number recognition. By matching tangible objects to their corresponding numbers, children develop a deeper understanding of quantities and their numeric representations .

  • Number flashcards
  • Objects like buttons, beads, or toy cars

Lay out the number flashcards. Ask the child to place the corresponding number of objects on each card.

A boy using a fishing rod to catch numbered fish

Marry the thrill of fishing with activities with numbers. As children fish out numbers and shout them out, they not only refine their motor skills but also enhance their number recognition abilities in a playful setting.

  • Paper or cardboard cutouts of numbers
  • A small magnet attached to each number
  • A toy fishing rod or a stick with a string and magnet attached

Spread the number cutouts on the floor. Ask the child to “fish” for numbers and identify each one they catch.

A hopscotch drawn on the road

A timeless game revamped as one of the most dynamic number activities for toddlers. Hopping on numbers sequentially, children not only get a good physical workout but also reinforce their number recognition and sequencing skills.

  • Chalk or tape for drawing
  • A small stone or beanbag

Draw a hopscotch grid with numbers. Ask the child to throw the stone and hop to the number it lands on, saying the number aloud.

Colorful paper number collage

In this number activity, creativity meets numeracy. Crafting numbers using various materials, kids not only recognize numbers but also understand their shapes, all while indulging their artistic side.

  • Craft paper
  • Craft materials like buttons, ribbons and beads

Draw numbers on craft paper. Ask the child to decorate each number using the craft materials.

You can also explore such number recognition games online . They are not only easily accessible but also engage children in a fun way.

CTA: Add card layout like this here of this page  

5 Number Sequence Activities for Preschoolers

Sequencing numbers is a crucial step in understanding the order and progression of numerals. As children begin to recognize patterns and sequences, they develop a deeper comprehension of the mathematical world around them. These number activities for preschoolers are tailored to enhance their sequencing skills in an interactive and enjoyable manner. Let’s explore them.

Parents and kids making a number line on the sidewalk

Turn a simple number line into a hopping adventure. This activity encourages kids to jump from one number to the next, understanding the sequence in a physical way. It’s one of the most dynamic number activities for preschoolers that combines movement with learning.

Draw a number line on the ground. Ask the child to jump and call out numbers in sequence, either forwards or backwards.

A DIY number train art

All aboard the number train! Children line up toy trains or cars in the sequence of numbers, understanding the progression visually. This hands-on activity is perfect for tactile learners and makes number activities for preschoolers engaging.

You can also explore a collection of number sequence games online . These online games offer a similar sequencing experience, enhancing the child’s understanding of number progression.

  • Toy trains or cars
  • Number stickers or markers

Label each toy with a number. Ask the child to line them up in the correct sequence.

Kids climbing a ladder

Using ladders, children can climb their way through number sequences. As they step on each rung, they call out the number, reinforcing the sequence both physically and verbally.

  • A toy ladder or a drawn ladder on paper

Place numbers on each rung of the ladder. Ask the child to climb or trace the ladder, calling out numbers in sequence.

Sequencing worksheet

Puzzles are a fantastic way to introduce sequencing. Children piece together number puzzles, understanding the order as they fit each piece. It’s a delightful blend of problem-solving and number activities for preschoolers.

  • Number puzzles

Scramble the puzzle pieces. Ask the child to piece them together in the correct number sequence.

Related Reading: Best Math Puzzles for Kids

Music and movement make learning sequences memorable. Children can sing and dance to number songs, understanding sequences in a rhythmic pattern. This activity adds a musical twist to number activities for preschoolers.

  • A Music player or a singing voice
  • Number songs

Play or sing number songs that involve sequences. Encourage the child to sing along and dance, emphasizing the order of numbers.

6 Number Counting Activities for Kids

11. counting nature walk.

Mother walking in the park with a child

Take a stroll outdoors and turn nature into a counting classroom. This counting activity for preschoolers encourages kids to explore their environment, counting leaves, stones, flowers, or even insects. It’s a perfect blend of physical exploration and cognitive learning, making nature walks educational and fun.

  • A basket or bag
  • Nature checklist

During a walk, ask the child to collect and count specific natural items.

12. Counting Bead String

A kid counting beads

Crafting meets counting in this hands-on activity. Children string beads, counting each one as they go. This tactile counting game for preschoolers not only enhances fine motor skills but also reinforces number recognition and counting in a fun, creative way.

  • String or yarn

Provide beads and ask the child to string and count each one.

13. Count and Jump

Illustration of numbers and kids

Transform your living space into a counting playground. By jumping on numbered spots, children actively engage in counting math activities for preschoolers . It’s a dynamic way to reinforce number recognition, sequence, and counting while also promoting physical activity. 

For those who enjoy this activity and are looking for a digital counterpart, check out some amazing number counting games online ! These games offer a similar interactive experience, making counting even more engaging.

  • Number flashcards or markers

Lay out number cards. Ask the child to jump on each, counting aloud.

14. Counting Treasure Hunt

Two kids looking at a treasure hunt map

Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt? In this engaging counting activity for kindergarten , children search for hidden treasures, counting each find. It’s an adventurous way to blend the excitement of discovery with the educational aspect of counting.

  • Small toys or treasures
  • A list of items to find

Hide treasures and provide a list. Ask kids to find and count each item.

Related Reading: Make Learning Fun With These 15 Math Activities for Kindergarten

15. Counting Tower Challenge

Two kids building a tower

Building becomes an educational game in this activity. Children are challenged to build towers with blocks, counting each block as they stack. This hands-on counting activity for preschool not only promotes architectural creativity but also reinforces counting in a tangible manner.

  • Building blocks

Ask the child to build a tower, counting each block as they stack.

16. Counting Abacus

A girl counting an an abacus

Children are instantly attracted to the colorful beads of an abacus. Once you have acquired their attention, you can string learning with their curiosity. It works as a great counting activity as they move the beads in one direction and count numbers. 

  • A wooden or a plastic abacus

Create a counting abacus game by placing a certain number of beads on each row of the abacus, then ask children to move beads while counting aloud, reinforcing numerical concepts and fine motor skills.

5 Number Formation and Writing Activities for Kids

Writing numbers is a significant milestone in a child’s mathematical journey. It’s not just about putting pen to paper; it’s about understanding the form and structure of numbers. These activities are designed to make the process of number formation and writing interactive, tactile, and enjoyable.

17. Tracing Numbers with Fingers or Writing Tools

Kid tracing

Tracing is a foundational step in number writing. Children can start by using their fingers to trace numbers on paper, sand, or even in the air. As they become more confident, they can transition to using pencils, crayons, or markers. This activity enhances muscle memory , helping kids recognize and form numbers with ease.

  • Number tracing sheets or cards
  • Writing tools like pencils or crayons

18. Sand, Finger Paint, or Playdough Number Writing Activities

A kid using color sand to write numbers

Engage the senses with tactile writing experiences. Whether it’s writing numbers in sand, painting them with fingers, or molding them with playdough, these activities offer a hands-on approach to number formation. They not only reinforce number shapes but also provide a sensory-rich learning experience .

  • Sand tray or finger paint or playdough
  • Number templates or cards

19. Guided Writing Practice Using Number Worksheets or Workbooks

Structured practice is key to mastering number writing. Using worksheets or workbooks, children can practice writing numbers under guidance. These resources often come with dotted numbers, allowing kids to trace and then practice writing on their own.

For those who enjoy this structured approach and are looking for additional resources, this collection of number writing games and worksheets for kids online offers a plethora of interactive exercises to further hone their skills.

  • Number worksheets or workbooks

20. Incorporating Numbers in Arts and Crafts Projects

Creativity meets numeracy in this activity. Children can create art projects that incorporate numbers, such as number collages, number-themed greeting cards, or even number masks. This approach makes learning numbers an artistic and imaginative endeavor.

  • Craft supplies like colored paper, glue, scissors
  • Number templates or stencils

21. Water Writing

A girl writing with water on road

Water writing is a mess-free and eco-friendly way to practice number writing. Using a brush dipped in water, children can write numbers on a dry surface like a chalkboard or pavement. As the water evaporates, they can practice again, making it a sustainable practice method.

  • A brush or sponge
  • A dry surface like a chalkboard or pavement

For those looking for digital alternatives, consider exploring online number writing games . These interactive platforms offer dynamic ways to practice number formation and writing, combining technology with learning.

7 Benefits of Number Activities for Preschoolers

A kid playing math game

The term “number sense” might sound new to many, but its importance in early childhood education is undeniable. As described in a study by NRICH , number sense refers to a conceptual framework that enables a person to understand numbers and their relationships. This understanding is foundational for more advanced mathematical skills. Let’s delve into the benefits of number activities for preschoolers:

  • Cognitive Development: Engaging in number activities stimulates the young brain, promoting cognitive growth and development.
  • Foundation for Math: Early exposure to numbers helps in laying a strong foundation for more complex mathematical concepts in the future.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Number activities teach preschoolers to think critically and approach problems with a solution-oriented mindset.
  • Logical Reasoning: These activities enhance logical reasoning , helping kids make connections and understand sequences.
  • Enhances Memory: Remembering numbers, sequences, and patterns can improve a child’s memory and recall abilities.
  • Promotes Curiosity: Number activities can spark curiosity, encouraging kids to ask questions and explore the world of math further.
  • Development of Subitising Skills: Subitising, as mentioned in the study , is the ability to instantly recognize the number of objects in a small group without counting. This skill is foundational for understanding operations and developing valuable mental calculation strategies.

Incorporating number activities into a preschooler’s routine is not just about teaching them to count. It’s about nurturing their innate number sense, which plays a pivotal role in their overall cognitive and academic development. 

Introducing numbers to preschoolers doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right activities, it becomes a playful and memorable experience. From recognizing numbers in nature to tracing them with their little fingers, every activity adds a brick to their foundation of math. As they grow, these early lessons will shape their understanding and approach to more complex mathematical challenges. So, let’s take it one number at a time, ensuring our kids find joy in every count, trace, and sequence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What age is ideal to start these number activities with kids.

It’s great to start as early as the preschool age. Introducing numbers early helps kids develop a natural comfort and curiosity with math concepts.

Do I need special materials for these activities?

Most activities use everyday items or simple craft supplies. The idea is to make learning accessible and not dependent on resources.

How can I measure my child's progress with these activities?

Observe their confidence and ease in recognizing, sequencing, and writing numbers. Regular practice will show gradual improvement in their skills.

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How Wee Learn

Out of the box learning ideas, playful art, exploring nature, and simple living - that is How We Learn!

A Review of How Wee Learn's Playful Days Toddler Program

Playful Days Toddler Program Review

January 15, 2024 by Sarah Leave a Comment

Let’s dive into a full and complete review of How Wee Learn’s Playful Days Toddler Program! In this review, I am going to break down exactly what Playful Days includes, the learning skills covered, any pre-requisite skills your little one will need, and how you will know if your child is ready. I will also…

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These felt numbers make such a great homemade gift

Stuffed Felt Numbers

November 24, 2017 by Sarah 6 Comments

It’s that time of year – the time when I begin to wonder why on earth I did not start my holiday crafting earlier. Good grief! This Mama will be busy for the next few weeks. Here is a post I did last year on making felt numbers. I was aiming for the alphabet for…

Such a cute idea for 5 Little Pumpkins

5 Little Pumpkins

October 7, 2015 by Sarah Leave a Comment

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Wooden Blocks Made from Our Old Tree

July 21, 2014 by Sarah 18 Comments

Wooden blocks are wonderful learning toys for kids.  Wooden blocks can come in all different shapes and sizes and can be very easily homemade.  My 3 year old absolutely loves playing with blocks right now, so we decided to make him some wooden blocks for outdoors.                  …

parking lot small world play

Benefits of Small World Play

December 30, 2013 by Sarah 4 Comments

When I posted about Toy Truck Games, I mentioned that Sammy turned it into his own ‘Small World’ in a way.  I decided to take that idea and run with it! This parking lot small world was a bigger hit then I had imagined! In a nut shell, small world play involves creating a scene…

Halloween Spider Legs counting games

Creepy Crawly Spider Legs Counting

October 9, 2013 by Sarah 10 Comments

Halloween is just around the corner (well, I suppose around the corner and down the street a bit).  But we are already getting into the Halloween Spirit at our house!  Jamie, form Hands on as we Grow has been on a Spider kick lately, which inspired me to do a spider activity too.  We have…

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The Great Gourd Competition!

September 15, 2013 by Sarah Leave a Comment

Math sorting games with a fall twist – that is just what we needed!  We went on a trip to our local apple orchard and pumpkin patch yesterday.  We found some great gourds of all different shapes and sizes.  Simply perfect for Fall math sorting, comparing, and contrasting! These Fall math sorting games were very…

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September 12, 2013 by Sarah 2 Comments

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Recipes for Kids: Pizza

September 8, 2013 by Sarah 5 Comments

I love math, and love doing math games with my kids.  In our home, math games come in all shapes and sizes!  This preschool activity is full of math – and teaches self-help skills and reading too.  Following a visual recipe is a wonderful activity for toddlers and preschoolers.  This one single activity gives you…

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50 Fantastic Number Activities for Preschoolers

September 5, 2013 by Sarah 6 Comments

I was busy, busy creating a blog post about number activities for preschoolers. I want to share awesome resources with you, after all! But then, the Mama in me got to thinking. How do you teach preschoolers numbers? Luckily, the teacher in me jumped out right then.  Why through PLAY of course! It was at…

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80+ of the Best Math Activities for Preschoolers

These math activities for preschoolers are sure to engage the kids as they explore early math. They run the gamut from counting to colors to one-to-one correspondence and include hands-on, multi-sensory ideas. Plus, there are even some free printables focused on math!

The Best Preschool Math Activities for Preschoolers

Children naturally explore math throughout their day. We, as adults, may not realize this at first. But take a few moments today to sit back and observe.

As you’re watching the kids build a structure with blocks, you’ll see them delve into math. They might count the blocks they used to make a castle. Perhaps they’ll comment on the shape or color of the blocks. The children might even say that they’re taller than what they’ve built.

Watch them as they’re playing outside. They might be counting or sorting the leaves they’ve collected . Maybe they’ll use some sticks to measure the playground fence. I’m sure you’ll hear some observations about the colors all around them.

Those are just a few instances of kids bringing math into their everyday lives. Because that’s the thing . . . math IS in their everyday lives. It’s in OUR everyday lives too. We’re just so used to it that it doesn’t phase us much.

Below you will find a slew of hands-on preschool math activities to try with your students or your own kids. Each and every one has been a hit in my classroom or my home (or both!).

Table of Contents

Math Activities for Preschoolers

While many of these math ideas are invitations I came up with, you’ll also find a variety that the kids put together themselves.

Keep that in mind when you’re mapping out your math lesson plans – kids can (and do!) delve into math learning on their own. So sometimes simpler is better. And you never know . . . they might create a new math lesson for you to use in later years.

I’ve broken the math activities for preschoolers into a few different categories. This way, you can find just what you’re looking for! I’ll be updating this page as I share more math ideas, so be sure to pin or bookmark it.

Calendar Numbers and Number Cards

I’ve got a variety of free printable calendar numbers for you and the kids, as well as number cards. The calendar numbers are squares and can be used as part of your linear or traditional calendar. Both the calendar numbers and the number cards can be used to practice a multitude of early math skills. Either way, they’re items you should include with the rest of your math activities for preschoolers.

Winter Calendar Numbers

Christmas Calendar Numbers

Valentine Calendar Numbers

Spring Calendar Numbers

St. Patrick’s Day Calendar Numbers

Fall Calendar Numbers

Monster Number Cards

Train Number Cards

Popcorn Number Cards

Apple Printable Numbers

Valentine Number Cards

Robot Number Cards

Sorting Math Activities for Preschoolers

Teaching kids to sort is an important part of preschool math. Below you’ll find sorting math activities to try with the kids.

Corn Color Sorting Mats

Magnetic Letter Sorting

Pumpkin Sorting Activity

Firework Math Activity

Dinosaur Sorting Busy Bag

Sorting Coins

Shape Activities

Now let’s take a peek at some shape math activities for preschoolers! Little kids get really excited about learning to identify shapes, don’t they?

Rainbow Shape Rocks

Simple Preschool Shape Activities

Circle Painting

Watermelon Geoboard

Pumpkin Geoboard

Bunny Shape Mats

Pumpkin Shape Mats

Turkey Shape Mats

Gingerbread Man Shape Mats

Ice and Penguin Shape Mats

One-to-One Correspondence Math Activities

Helping children move from rote counting to one-to-one correspondence is a big part of preschool math. It encompasses the understanding that each object in a set can be counted, as well as matching one item to one corresponding item. Children learn that numerals represent a specific quantity. This is important because numerals themselves are an abstract concept. One-to-one correspondence bridges the gap to understanding the abstract.

Click on the links below for each of the 1-to-1 correspondence math activities for preschoolers:

Number Rocks

Pumpkin Seed Counting Activity

Gingerbread Ten Frames

Earth Day Math Sensory Bin

Outdoor Number Activities

Lion Ten Frames

Blocks One-to-One Activity

Ice Cream Math

Fine Motor Number Activity

Pumpkin STEM Challenge

Broken Heart Numbers

Acorn Numbers Fall Math

Counting Snowballs

Rainbow Ten Frames

Math Printable Books

Printable emergent readers aren’t just for practicing early literacy skills! They can also be a great way to explore early math skills like counting, colors, number identification, and more. Below are printable books I created to pair with my other math activities for preschoolers.

Spider Counting Book

Counting Flowers Printable Book

Counting Hearts Printable Book

Dinosaur Emergent Reader

Christmas Lights Printable Book

Thanksgiving Emergent Reader

Bat Emergent Reader

Counting Watermelon Seeds Printable Book

Apple Counting Book

Preschool Subitizing Activities

Subitizing is knowing how many items are in a group without counting them. It’s how we can look at the dots on the face of a die and just know how many there are, for example. Games involving dice are one of the ways we teach children about subitizing.

Farm Math Games

Snowman Roll and Cover

Roll A Snowman

Valentine Dice Games

Spring Flower Dice Game

Christmas Math Game with Jingle Bells

Fine Motor Turkey Math

Fine Motor Apple Math Game

Color Activities for Preschool

We can’t talk about math activities for preschoolers without talking about learning colors, right?! And you can use almost anything to explore color identification with the kids, including using the environment around you. But if you’re looking for more ideas, I have some suggestions:

Learn how to dye pumpkin seeds and use them in your math fun.

Make some rainbow sensory bottles with corn syrup (or your other favorite sensory jar ingredients).

Use rainbow rocks for teaching colors.

Set up a scented rainbow science experiment for the kids.

Put together a colorful corn sensory bin .

An “I See” rainbow book combines literacy and math in the form of colors.

Help the kids make a color collage .

This fall colors modeled writing activity can be used to discuss colors throughout the year.

Set up a colored ice sensory invitation.

Even More Math Activities for Preschoolers

As I said earlier, Fun-A-Day houses a lot of engaging math activities. Many of them fit into the above categories, but there are a few that just don’t. I suppose I need to write about more ideas like those below!

Apple Graphing Activity

Weather Chart for Kids

Melting Snowman

Bear Patterns Printable

Symmetry Snowflake Craft

Themed Math Activities for Preschoolers

I told you we had a ton of math ideas to talk about, right?! So you’re probably not surprised I have even more to share with you! Below are collections of math activities based around holidays, seasons, or themes. They come in handy when planning, let me tell you!

Click on the links below for the individual collections:

Transportation Math Activities for Preschoolers

Winter Math Activities for Preschoolers

Valentine Math Activities

Spring Math Activities for Preschool

St. Patrick’s Day Math

Fall Activities for Preschoolers

Geoboard Activities

Kid-Tested Preschool Math Books

Since we’re chatting about math right now, I thought I’d share some children’s math books with you. They’re all books I’ve read with my students to resounding successes.

Some Preschool Math Supplies You Should Check Out

No, kids don’t need a lot of things to learn math. In fact, grab some rocks and sticks and you’re probably good to go!

That being said, I do have some favorite math supplies . These are items I like using in the classroom for a wide variety of math activities for preschoolers and kindergartners (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):

Printable Math Activities for Preschoolers

We have a variety of early math games and activities perfect for small groups and center time. I’d suggest you check out the roll and color bundle first , especially if you want a math resource that works for a variety of themes and holidays.

numeracy activities toddlers

The roll and color bundle has 11 sets of math games that would work with different levels of children in early childhood classrooms.

This bundle includes Fall Pumpkin Roll and Color, Fall Apples Roll and Color, Back to School Crayon Roll and Color, Summer Fish Roll and Color, Spring Flower Roll and Color, Easter Egg Roll and Color, St. Patrick’s Day Roll and Color, Hearts Roll and Color, Christmas Tree Roll and Color, Fall Leaves Roll and Color, and Turkey Feather Roll and Color.

Each bundle comes with up to 9 game cube configurations and up to 16 game mats. Different game mats focus on the following skills:

  • Color Matching
  • Shape Matching
  • Matching Sets to Numbers (0-5)
  • Sets to Numbers (5-10)
  • Matching Numbers (0-5)
  • Matching Numbers (6-10)
  • One More (0-5)
  • One More (5-10)
  • One Less (5-10)
  • Addition Facts (0-5)
  • Doubles Facts (0-5)
  • Doubles Facts (5-10)
  • Writing Doubles Facts (0-10)
  • Color Words
  • Number Words (0-5)
  • Number Words (5-10)

It’s Your Turn

Okay, now that I have talked (and talked and talked!) about math activities for preschoolers, it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite early math ideas and lessons? Be sure to pop over to Fun-A-Day’s Facebook page and let me know.

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Early Childhood Development

Last modified on February 15th, 2024

Literacy And Numeracy Activities For Toddlers and pre-schoolers

14 literacy and numeracy activities for toddlers.

This article is for parents who are into play based literacy and numeracy activities for their young kids.

Reading, speaking, listening and writing fall under literacy and numeracy skills.

In early childhood learning, play based learning is recommended to teach these essential skills to children.

Experts say that literacy and numeracy activities need not be formal learning experience for kids. Because sitting down in one place and learning letters and numbers may bore the little ones and may not be as effective as play based learning.

Imagine a 4 year old sitting in a classroom and learning to count. A teacher may write numbers on the board and ask to copy them down. Or the teacher may write numbers on the book and ask the child to copy them.

This kind of teacher-based learning can seriously block the child from thinking creatively and building a lifelong love for learning.

literacy and numeracy activities

What is play based learning?

Instead of that we can use a coloured and numbered staircase and ask the child to count while stepping on the stair.

Stepping stones are also an interesting way to teach numeracy. These are amazing ways to teach simple numeracy lessons while letting the kids be kids and enjoying their childhood. Not to mention the development of their gross-motor skills, communication skills, social skills that improve along with it.

If you were a kid yourself, what would you choose for yourself? Yes , the answer is obvious.

As we try to give the best for our children, let’s learn some fun and effective activities to improve literacy and numeracy in our kids.

If you are wondering when you should start, remember that there’s no particular time for a child to start learning. They are ready as soon as they are born. Listening to our sounds, songs the newborns headstart their literacy skills.

Having said that, let’s use some discretion in introducing different stimulations to our kids. For example few words and more pictures for babies and then gradually adding new wordy stories , songs as they grow up.

Related articles : 

  • Math activities for kindergarten
  • Measurement activities for preschoolers

Fun literacy and numeracy activities

activities to improve literacy and numeracy skills

1. The very first step I took to literacy was the “A B C Song” when my baby was just a newborn

Murmuring this song as a lullaby is really calming and relaxing and my beautiful baby would stare at my murmuring lips for the longest time and fall asleep. Now as a pre schooler, she still sings different versions of that song and still loves it. It is definitely the easiest way to teach them the English alphabet.


We had so many fun ways to learn counting (never as a formal lesson) – counting steps, counting fingers, counting birds in the sky etc.

3. Local library

Local library is one of our favourite places. We went to rhyme time, story telling and it gave her a lot of opportunities to meet new people, read new books, listen to nursery rhymes and basically have a fun filled time spending some quality time.


This is one of our favourite things to do together.

We discuss the story, encourage her to talk about the pictures. Sometimes change the story a bit so that she is more interested. Change the names to her name and brother name and sometimes make up my own fun story.

If I dislike a particular story, explain to her why I don’t like it using simple language she can understand.

We have a set of wordless picture books, flashcards to develop her imagination and vocabulary by describing things in the books. Always try changing your voice for different characters. It works they love it.

We reread our favourite books. Yes there are some books that I can read. She loves it so why not. Read my article on how to encourage your child to read books.


Wordless picture books have pictures that portray a meaningful story. But without any words, it gives so much flexibility for the reader to use their creativity and imagination.

We love these books because every time we read them, we can come up with a new story and I can add more and more new words to children’s vocabulary.

Not to mention the colourful images that gives kids a pleasing experience to kids.


Arts and crafts are a great way for children to express themselves while learning literacy and numeracy.

Counting, measuring, reading, listening to instructions and explaining their art work are some of the literacy and numeracy activities for toddlers.


This is the most natural way of introducing new words to children’s vocabulary. Start with simple and short songs. Use your gestures and expressions to give meaning to the words.


This is another great play based literacy and numeracy activity to do with kids. Some examples,

  • Find 3 puzzle pieces
  • Find 5 soft toys
  • Find a book that has the letter “S” on the front page
  • Find a book with an author whose first name has the letter “R”
  • Find 2 vehicles with wheels
  • Collect 10 leaves from the garden

See more indoor activities and scavenger hunt printable.


Using white boards to draw and write or letting the kids draw and write will encourage a lot of creativity in children. You can do games with letters, draw on dotted lines and draw shapes while having so much fun.


Natural world offers heaps of learning opportunities for children while embracing them with a soothing and relaxing aura. Simple activities like collecting acorns, pinecones, feathers or looking for circles, triangles, rectangles or diamond shapes will open a whole new world of exploration and discovery for young kids. Learn more about the innate connection between children and Nature.  


This is a fantastic activity to improve numeracy skills. We love to make muffins, pizza and banana bread together and we don’t forget to get the kids’ help. Learning about measuring tools, counting the number of tools and checking temperature using kitchen thermometers is super exciting for them. Bonus they improve their numeracy skills. Plus, our snack drawer is full for a couple of days!


Write a script, make your own consumes, be their makeup artist and hairdresser. Now it’s time to enjoy their acting skills.


This is an excellent way for children to learn new words that they may not encounter in their daily lives.

Example: After showing my daughter the life-cycle of a butterfly with the help of a caterpillar found in the yard, the words like larva, cocoon, transformation and life cycle became so familiar to her. It’s amazing how much they learn from simple experiences.


Flash cards are a fun and effective way to improve literacy skills by introducing new words.

Not only words but you can also build up on any word they say. For example, if your child says “Car”, then you can say yes, a blue car. (describing the picture) Run your fingers under the print when you read a book. That way the kids may learn that letters are symbols that are used to communicate.

flash cards to introduce new words

Read more..  10-tips-that-use-arts-and-crafts-to-develop-math-and-literacy-skills

Things We Have To Remember

Every child is different and the moment you try to force it on them it definitely is not “play based learning”

For example with my daughter, I did a lot of play based activities and I thought she had really good numeracy skills at the age of 2 years. But with my son who is my second, I couldn’t do as much but he’s showing the same skills around 18 months with no real effort from my side.

Learn to know more about Juggling Toddler And Newborn ?

Remember that play based learning is not just for improving literacy and numeracy skills. It improves social skills, gross motor skills and fine motor skills which are equally important as literacy and numeracy skills.

Be patient with children . Use repetition simple language and consistency to see good results.

Make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for both you and your children. 

Final Thoughts About Literacy And Numeracy Activities

In conclusion, Play based learning gives ample opportunities for your kids to learn a whole new set of skills while enjoying the moment to the fullest.

All these literacy and numeracy activities mentioned by me can be arranged by any adult your child is spending time with. These are simple, easy yet very effective learning opportunities that the child can participate in.

Let us know what types of activities your child likes best and how effective they are. Share your views with our community.

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  1. 25+ Hands-On Math Activities for Toddlers

    25+ Hands-On Math Activities for Toddlers Author: KristinaPublished: 05/07/2018Updated: 06/30/2020 Math for toddlers? You might wonder what I mean. It is not like toddlers are doing addition or subtraction... right? Did you know that you begin teaching simple math concepts to children long before they ever enter a classroom?

  2. Play Based Math Activities for Toddlers

    Recognizing numerals Identifying more and less of a quantity Understanding one-to-one correspondence (i.e., matching sets, or knowing which group has four and which has five)" Now first grade is a long way off the toddler age group so enjoy the time you have with them at this age group and have fun with our play based activities!

  3. 50+ Easy Math Activities for Kids

    Looking for easy counting or early math activities for your toddler or preschooler? Then you're come to the right place! Scroll down and you will find a collection of the best math activities I've done with my daughter when she was 2 and 3 years old and few ones we want to do! Easy Hands-On Math Activities

  4. 15 Toddler Math Activities

    A terrific round up of 15 toddler math activities perfect for introducing concepts like sorting, number recognition and patterning to early learners.

  5. Help Your Child Develop Early Math Skills

    Help Your Child Develop Early Math Skills Most children develop an understanding of math through everyday interactions and informal activities. Help your child develop math skills.

  6. Maths & numeracy skills: babies & toddlers

    Here are things you can do with your baby to build numeracy skills: Read stories with numbers - for example, 'Goldilocks and the three bears'. Play counting, sorting and matching games. Sing number songs and rhymes.

  7. 15 Simple Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

    15 Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers 1. Sensory Play 2. Interactive Books 3. Shape Sorters 4. Cardboard Shapes Activity 5. Sorting Activities 6. Building Blocks 7. Pattern Play 8. DIY Counting Box 9. Clothespin Counting Cards 10. Cooking 11. Observation Walk 12. Pretend Play 13. Board Games 14. Physical Activities with Math 15.

  8. 70+ Math Activities for Toddlers, Preschoolers and for Kids

    I'll be adding over 70 fun hands on activities that incorporate math learning games below. The categories will be as follows: Math Activities for Toddlers; Math Activities for Preschoolers; Math Activities for Kindergarten; Play to Learn Math Activities; Easy Math Activities for Kids

  9. 25+ Hands-On Number Games for Toddlers (and Preschoolers!)

    Magnetic Fishing Number Game - Toddlers will have fun singing, counting, and ordering numbers as they catch the fish. (Messy Little Monster) Counting Caterpillar Busy Bag - The main goal of this activity is counting, but it also works on number recognition and word reinforcement. Comes with free printable cards. (Powerful Mothering)

  10. 8 Easy Math Games for Toddlers

    To teach them important concepts and prepare them for school, consider playing the following eight games that double as math lessons for toddlers . 1. Count Together. Learning to count is a great ...

  11. Math Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

    Photo & activity: Fun-A-Day. This ice cream math game for toddlers will help kids to sort numbers, giving them great counting skills while also practicing fine motor skills. Here's how it works: Start with cut-outs of cones, each labeled with a number. Then, tots stack each one high with the right number of "scoops" (aka colorful pompoms).

  12. 20+ Easy, No-prep, Everyday Math Activities for Toddlers

    Math activities for toddlers - Spatial sense. 10. Shape sorting. Beside the toy shape sorters, you can use also empty baskets and ask your child to sort the shapes accordingly. 11. Stacking blocks. Stacking blocks is simple, but quite impressive, because it is one of the first form of geometry that toddlers learn.

  13. Math4Littles

    We've designed these games to focus on the six key skill areas of early math: Counting. Computation. Shapes. Spatial awareness. Measurement. Patterns. Start with the first set of activities and then move on to the others when your child is ready. As you play, remember that children master skills at different speeds—for example, counting ...

  14. 10 Hands-on Numeracy Ideas For Children

    1. Number hunt Earlier in the year, we went on a 'sight word' hunt and my students LOVED it, so I knew that I was going to have to organise something similar for maths! We have been focusing on teen numbers this term so this was a fun, hands-on opportunity for us to consolidate this learning.

  15. 40+ Awesome Number Activities for Preschoolers

    I love these 12 number activities that help a preschool practice one to one correspondence. Head out into nature and explore flowers. Count and compare flower petals! Go on a hunt for a number and match it to its corresponding dots. Build towers of blocks on a number mat, with the correct number of blocks high!

  16. Math Talk with Infants and Toddlers

    Here are five basic math concepts that can be woven into our everyday conversations with infants and toddlers. 1. Number and operations —understanding the concept of number, quantity, order, ways of representing numbers, one-to-one correspondence (that one object corresponds to one number), and counting. "You have two eyes, and so does your ...

  17. 50 Math Activities for Preschoolers

    Why teach kids math? Teaching your kids math is one of the most fun and useful skill sets you can teach them because it is part of our every day. Toddlers and preschoolers absorb information through hands-on learning, not through worksheets. And since math is all around us, we can incorporate it into things we are already doing together at home.

  18. 35 Active Math Games and Activities for Kids Who Love To Move

    1. Throw snowballs inside or out Clip flash cards to plastic tubs, then challenge kids to throw the correct number of large white pom-poms ("snowballs") in from a distance. If there's snow on the ground, bundle up and take this one outside to use real snowballs! Learn more: Frugal Fun 4 Boys and Girls 2. Stack sticks to practice tally marks

  19. 10 Playful Math Activities for Preschoolers

    Put small objects in a row. Gather some coins and ask your child how many there are. After they have counted them, rearrange them in a circle or row, and ask them again. Don't be surprised if they ...

  20. 21 Best Fun Number Activities for Preschoolers

    13. Count and Jump. Transform your living space into a counting playground. By jumping on numbered spots, children actively engage in counting math activities for preschoolers. It's a dynamic way to reinforce number recognition, sequence, and counting while also promoting physical activity.

  21. Activities for Toddlers

    I love math, and love doing math games with my kids. In our home, math games come in all shapes and sizes! This preschool activity is full of math - and teaches self-help skills and reading too. Following a visual recipe is a wonderful activity for toddlers and preschoolers. This one single activity gives you….

  22. 80+ of the Best Math Activities for Preschoolers

    Sorting Math Activities for Preschoolers. Teaching kids to sort is an important part of preschool math. Below you'll find sorting math activities to try with the kids. Corn Color Sorting Mats. Magnetic Letter Sorting. Pumpkin Sorting Activity. Firework Math Activity. Dinosaur Sorting Busy Bag. Sorting Coins.

  23. Literacy And Numeracy Activities For Toddlers and pre-schoolers

    1. The very first step I took to literacy was the "A B C Song" when my baby was just a newborn Murmuring this song as a lullaby is really calming and relaxing and my beautiful baby would stare at my murmuring lips for the longest time and fall asleep. Now as a pre schooler, she still sings different versions of that song and still loves it.