Toddlers are learning so many new skills everyday. They’re gaining and knowledge and becoming smarter with each month that passes.
There are so many learning opportunities available to your little ones. Most skills and concepts they will begin teaching themselves through their natural environment, but others you’ll have to help them along with.
Learning numbers and counting is a skill that can start to emerge around 18 months old. Your child may first learn to count from the repetition of hearing you counting to 10. However, they won’t have any understanding of what those numbers actually mean.
Around 2, they will begin to associate numbers with counting objects. This is a skill that you will be able to teach them by consistently counting and introducing numbers to them during everyday life.
Once you start showing your toddler how and what to count, you’ll see how simple it is to teach your little one and how quickly they’ll catch on. Talking to your child about how many cars are in the driveway, how many carrots are on his plate, or how many cups are on the table are easy ways to make numbers part of daily conversation.
Tips to Teach Counting and Numbers to Toddlers
Follow these tips during the activities listed below and your child will be on their way to counting in no time!
- Be consistent. Once you start teaching your child all about numbers and counting, don’t stop! Do it every day in all the situations you can.
- You count first. When you’re first teaching your child to count, don’t expect them to do it right away. Simply clouting yourself so that they can hear you will benefit them greatly.
- Let them count when they’re ready. After you’ve been counting with them consistently, make sure they’re repeating the numbers with you.
16 Everyday Activities to Introduce Counting to Your Toddler
Here are some simple activities using muffin tins and other household items for your toddler or preschooler:
1. Count snacks
If your child is motivated by snacks (and what kid isn’t?), this is a great way to work on counting. If your child asks for Goldfish, pretzels, gummies, crackers, etc., have them count how many you are giving them. Have them ask you for a certain number and you will give them that number as they count.
For example, How many goldfish do you want? 5! Ok, Here’s 5 Goldfish. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. As they start understanding to count, they can start saying the numbers with you.
2. Count toys
While playing, have your child count the toys that they’re using. If they’re playing with blocks, Legos, dolls, etc. there are always things to be counted!
Tell them to pull out all the red toys or blue toys and just count those. Identify a certain shape or items that they should find and count.
3. Count their steps
As you walk up the stairs with your child, have them count each stair they climb. You can start saying numbers every time they step up and as they learn to count, make sure they are saying the numbers with you.
4. Count stickers or stamps on paper
Have your toddler place stickers or stamps on a piece of paper and count them as they put them down. Once completed, have them count the stickers all together. Make sure they are using their finger to point to each one as they assign it a number.
5. Count ball throwing/rolling
Roll or throw a ball back and forth with your toddler. Count with them each time the ball leaves their hands or your hands.
6. Count jumps
If you can safely have your child cup on the couch, bed, trampoline, or even ground, have them say a number each time they jump.
7. Count things outside on a walk
When you take a walk outside with your toddler, point out all the things in nature or around your neighborhood that you can count. Ask your child how many cars are in the driveway, how many houses are on the street, how many trees are in your yard, how many flowers are in the garden, etc. There are so many counting opportunities outside!
8. Count items to make a tower
Using blocks, stacking cups, or Legos your child can build a tower. Tell them to count the blocks in the tower and make it as tall as they can.
9. Count dots or shapes on paper
Draw some circles, squares, or triangles on paper and have your child count them as they color or scribble.
10. Count stacking cups
Stacking cups are great for so many learning activities. Counting is one of them! Have your child count the cups as they stack them, insert them, place them in a row, etc.
11. Show more or less
Make two piles of different items (snacks or toys)- one with more and one with less. Tell your child which pile has more items and which has less. This is an important concept to learn as they understand what numbers mean. Therefore, if they see 5 of something or 2 of something, they will know which one has more or less.
12. Count in books
When you’re reading to your child, pick out items that your child can count. Ask them how many flowers are on this page or how many kids are on that page.
13. Make patterns
Patterns are an important math concept. Use blocks or toys to organize a pattern. Teach your child about color patterns first with blue, red, blue, red, blue, etc.
14. Recognize shapes
Shapes are also part of math as children will recognize shapes by their number of sides. Teach your child how to distinguish between shapes by counting their sides.
15. Divide and sort in muffin tins
Muffin tins are an awesome household item to use for a variety of activities. Take objects or toys and place them into different cups of the muffin tin. Have you child count how many are in each cup or sort items by color or shape by dividing them into different cups.
Related Post: 12 Muffin Tin Activities for Learning and Development
16. Count food
Use meal time as a learning experience! Count the blueberries, carrots, or chicken nuggets on their plate!
I hope you enjoyed all of these counting activities for your toddler. As you can say, they are all simple ways to incorporate numbers and counting into their everyday life.
As always, be consistent with your approach to teaching new skills and your child will catch on quickly!