nothing complicated. no algebra. no calculus. just some simple activities to do in our everyday routine that can expose our little ones to numbers, counting, sizes...
- count your snacks!: have your child help get snack ready. count the goldfish as they're put on the plate. once they're there, eat one... now how many are there? how many will there be if i put one more on the plate?
- set the table: this is great for one to one correspondence (only one item goes with one item... for example, one cup for daddy, one cup for mommy, etc.) let your child help by putting one of each item (cup, fork, plate, etc.) at the table for each person.
- how many toys?: leo LOVES trucks. we have a couple of garbage cans and garbage trucks. we'll get some rocks or other small items, and with the garbage cans, get counting! put three rocks in the blue trash can, and one in the yellow. do it with doll clothing... give this doll two shirts to choose from, and this doll three. or blocks... let's make four towers!
- gross motor counting: how many steps does it take to get to the front door? how many to the car? was that more or less than to the door? let's take four big jumps, and then three little jumps!
- sort objects: this is not only great for learning about similar properties, but also gets in some little chores! let your child help you sort your utensils into the utensil drawer. have them sort the laundry by colors. start by matching shoe pairs, and then put the big shoes in one pile, and the little shoes in another.
- make patterns: ABAB patterns (red, blue, red, blue...) ABCABC patterns (red, blue, yellow, red, blue, yellow...) are something that a little guy might just start to be understanding at this age (but it's still really hard, so don't worry if your child doesn't quite get it yet!). food is a great way to work on this... grape, cracker, grape, cracker along the plate! (or try it by making some patterned fruit kabobs!) do it with painting, too... hand print/foot print, or green blob/purple blob :)
- play with containers: gather some empty containers... yogurts, pasta sauces, spices... fill them up, empty them out. use water, sand, dirt, rice, pasta... whatever you have on hand. and talk about them... which one is full? which one is empty? bigger/smaller? heavier/lighter? the options are endless!
see? it's not too bad. just a little bit o' math here and there :) what other ways can you think of?