8 Math Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers with Numberpals

The things kids learn early on have a lasting impact on their future success. Early math education that teaches children crucial math skills like number recognition, sorting, and counting provides the foundation for later academic achievement. These seemingly basic skills are the building blocks for more complex math concepts such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication. 

Math games and interactive activities that use hands-on learning tools like Numberpals can help kids more easily understand numbers, math, and arithmetic. Simple counting games, shape identification, measurement comparison, and storytelling using numbers all give kids much-needed exposure to common math concepts. Even getting children to help in the kitchen is a perfect opportunity to include some math-oriented activities in their day. Learn more about these engaging math activities for preschoolers that help teach young children about numbers in an entertaining way. 

1. Counting and Number Recognition 

Number recognition, or the ability to recognize a number by its appearance and name, is one of the first math skills children learn. It's essential that they master this core skill before moving on to writing numbers and understanding the quantities each represents. 

Math games for toddlers are an excellent way to introduce numbers to young children and begin to teach them number recognition. These games don't have to be elaborate. Simply counting everyday objects or counting Numberpals is helpful. Or, have your child identify the correct number from a set of Numberpals. Another great activity that reinforces number recognition and counting is organizing numbers in sequence. 

Your child can learn number recognition anywhere, not just at home. Try having your kid spot specific numbers on mailboxes or signs when you're out for a walk together. Make counting part of normal tasks to get your child familiar with the value each number represents. You could have them count out crackers or strawberries for their snack. Spend some time working on these every day until your child is comfortable with these concepts. 

2. Shapes and Patterns 

Pointing out shapes is a great approach to math for 2 year olds. Discuss the shapes you see in the environment around you. Exclaim over a brightly colored door shaped like a rectangle, or ask your child to name the shape made by a sign or sidewalk tile. Playing shape recognition games out in the world shows children how numbers and math show up everywhere in their environment. It also introduces spatial sense skills; the concepts of shape, size, direction, and space. 

Next, you can start to identify patterns that occur in everyday life. Encourage your child to look for patterns in the pictures they see, the music they listen to, their home, and out in nature. Kids love to search for patterns, so this is an easy game you can do anytime and anywhere. 

3. Measurement and Comparison 

Comparing and contrasting the measurements of different objects is another wonderful method to introduce math for 3 year olds. You can play this game anywhere, whether you are at home, at the park, or out shopping together. All you need to do is verbally comment on the size difference between two objects, such as pointing out that one apple is bigger than the other. 

A different approach is to ask your child to identify which object in a set is the smallest or largest. Make the games more complex by focusing on height, weight, and length of each object to teach children more about spatial sense so they understand the size of various objects. Get started by having your child compare the shape of Alphapals or Numberpals

4. Story Time Math 

Using Numberpals is one of the simplest ways to introduce children to numbers, counting, adding, and subtracting. However, the math applications for these colorful number plushies don't end there. Parents and educators can use Numberpals to accomplish storytelling with simple math problems. 

Whether you read your favorite books together or encourage your child's imaginative skills by creating an original story, Numberpals help you promote recognition of numbers and math concepts. Use them to represent the number of characters, to count pictures on the page, and other math-related story elements. You can even create a story around Numberpals. For example, choose the "2" to prompt your child to come up with two main characters. 

5. Fun in the Kitchen 

The opportunity to include more math activities for toddlers is everywhere, even in the kitchen. Cooking and baking incorporates a lot of counting and measuring, making it a fun and interactive way for kids to get exposed to numbers and practice their counting and measuring skills. 

  • Ask your child to count out ingredients one by one. 

  • Have your kids add a specific number or amount of ingredients to the bowl. 

  • Count the steps in making a sandwich. 

  • Arrange berries or cheese and crackers into patterns. 

  • Add or take away ingredients from separate piles to practice addition and subtraction. 

Cooking together is an excellent way to spend some quality time as a family. It's also a wonderful activity that you can modify to include more difficult tasks as your child gets older. 

6. Building with Blocks

Playing with blocks is enjoyable and helps develop spatial awareness and mathematical thinking.

Encourage your toddler to build towers using blocks or with something like Leggos of various sizes and shapes. Discuss concepts like a building being tall. short, wide, or narrow.

You can also introduce basic math by asking them to add or remove blocks, teaching simple addition and subtraction.

7. Rings on Finger

Place the rings on a tray and invite the child to explore. Encourage the child to put one ring on each finger, which helps reinforce 1:1 correspondence.

Use this opportunity to count the rings as they are placed on and removed from fingers, count forwards and backwards, and introduce simple story problems. Although sorting by shapes and colors was initially suggested, the primary focus remained on counting.

8. Fun in the Kitchen 

Another fun learning activity to engage your kiddo includes: library card holders, craft sticks, painter's tape, and printable circle numbers or fish numbers. Start by writing numbers 1-12 on the craft sticks.

Then, use painter's tape to stick the card holders on the wall and add the numbers to the outside of each pocket using the printable circles or fish numbers. Encourage your child to pick up a stick, identify the number, and match it to the corresponding number on the wall.

This activity enhances visual differentiation and number recognition, making it ideal for toddlers who can match shapes and designs even if they don't recognize the numbers yet. Preschoolers can practice simple number recognition and matching. For advanced learning, you can incorporate addition or counting up activities. The activity promotes independence and cooperation as children take turns matching the numbers!

Learning Numbers with Numberpals 

Enjoy the time you spend with your toddler by playing some entertaining games with an educational twist! Similar to our alphabet toys are number plsuh toys are just as fun and educational. It's easy to involve your child in household tasks like meal prep and baking, or to emphasize numbers and counting during story time. Make a game out of spotting similar patterns, compare objects by size, or ask your child to count various objects to practice their numbers. All of these activities help to gradually build your child's math skills and set them up for success in school and beyond. 

Make learning numbers more fun with Numberpals. These plush, interactive numbers are easily incorporated into many math activities. Plus, children of all ages enjoy Numberpals. You can adapt games from basic number recognition for very young toddlers to counting games and then more complicated math like addition as your child grows and their abilities expand. Get your set of Numberpals plush numbers today!