How To Teach Your Toddler To Count


Maths and numeral recognition are important skills for children to begin learning as soon as possible to help them through their every day life as they age. It’s good to begin exploring informal exposure to mathematics for your child in their day-to-day activities.

There are also many workbooks and activity books available for your child to develop their maths skills further in preparation for school.

1Number Recognition

Number recognition up to 10, to start, and then subsequently up to 20 is a key part of early math skills. A great way to introduce your child to numbers is to use an indoor/outdoor foam number puzzle or to begin using hopscotch games.
By talking about numbers around you, your child will develop the ability to recognize numbers more quickly. As an example, you can start mentioning the number bus you are catching, the numbers on houses, number of dogs or telephone numbers. Give them the opportunity to see the different contexts in which numbers are used around them.

2Number Formation

Correct number formation should be encouraged often and practiced carefully. Numbers should be practiced and refined so that they are easily recognizable. Simply writing numbers together with your child can do this until they are comfortably to do it independently. Consider a fun whiteboard so that your child can practice without the worry of mistakes.
You may want to introduce number formation by writing numbers in different fun contexts such as sand, twigs or glitter. This informal context makes it more enjoyable and relaxed and will not put pressure on your child to write numbers correctly the first time. Colored chunky chalks are also great for outdoor number practice.

3Clean Up By The Numbers

When clean-up time rolls around, don’t just whisk the toys away. Use the few minutes to stimulate some math skills. For example, encourage your little one to guess with you which toys represent the largest portion of the mess. Are there more cars? More books? More action figures? Then count up the toys as you go.
For an older toddler, work together to make a chart of their favorite playthings and keep a running tally of what shows up most at clean-up time. This will help them to start associating written numbers with the amounts they represent.

4Singing Along

Children love nursery rhymes and the easy cadence that the rhyming allows. This becomes doubly useful when the nursery rhymes include counting.
Focus on songs that allow you to hold up items or your fingers to represent the characters or amount of times something happens. The repetition of the song will help your toddler associate numbers to specific events. Favorites include One To Make Ready, Five Brown Reindeer and This Old Man.