Parents and caregivers help toddlers learn about numbers through every day activities such as counting stairs as they climb up or down. Toddlers are also exploring simple concepts such as understanding that the numeral or word “one” means a single item. These ideas are so important as they build the foundation for future math skills. Learning toys for 2 year olds, such as pegboards for toddlers, can help and so can simple counting games. Here are some counting games for toddlers to have fun with your little one:
- Make up silly songs with your child as he washes or gets dressed: “I’ve got two eyes; one, two. I’ve got one nose, here it is. I have one zipper; pull it up……”
- Design a vinyl placemat with a circle for the cup and plate, with the number one in each sketch. The outlines of cutlery can be numbered one, two and three. Your child can set his place using one to one correspondence.
- Use cookie cutter number shapes with playdough or when you are baking sugar cookies.
- Colored Popsicle sticks are fun. Write the numbers 1 to 5 on the sticks and help your toddler glue the right number of cotton balls onto the stick.
- Plant scarlet runner beans in clear plastic cups; one bean in the cup labelled one, etc. If you put the bean right between the cup and soil, you can check daily to see the bean take root and grow. If things go well, one day you will have more beans to count.
- Draw a number with matching dots on a small colorful paper plate. Have your child match animal crackers to the dots for snack time.
- Learning toys for 2 year olds such as colorful plastic counting bears with matching sorting cups are just right for many of these counting games.
- Use large sized dice to play games. Roll the dice and line up the right number of small plastic dinosaurs or stars or whatever is of interest to your youngster.
- Draw a tree trunk with branches and number the end of the branches with 1, 2, 3…….. Have your child match the proper number of cut out leaves to the branch and glue them on. Yes, it may make a lopsided tree.
- Egg cartons are super for counting and sorting. Write a number in each cup and write a matching number on a plastic egg.
- Use sidewalk chalk to play hopscotch or to match stones or leaves to the numbers.
- Stacking cups with numbers on them are a great toddler toy. Stack them up in order and knock them down!
- Go on a nature walk and collect some pine cones or seashells for counting.
- Don’t forget good old fashioned nursery rhymes or counting songs (“The ants go marching one by one….”).
- Help your toddler cut cardboard shapes of mittens in winter, leaves in fall, flowers in spring and suns in summer; number them, decorate them with the right number dots and make a mobile.
- Large stringing beads are perfect to count as the toddler strings. Make a game by counting only the red or blue ones.
- Pegs and pegboards for toddlers are excellent toys for counting games. Count the pegs as they are placed on the board or make a tower. Use the pegs with numbered paper cups for matching and counting.
- Nontoxic liquid bingo markers or daubers are great fun to make counting dots. Use them on numbered paper plates.
- Cut or buy sponges in number shapes and do some sponge painting.
- Use teachable moments at lunchtime. Cut the sandwich in two one day and in three pieces the next day.
And finally count kisses when you say goodnight.
Counting games for toddlers need to be simple and fun. Only your imagination limits the opportunities for learning.