Why?Count, Group, and Compare logo -- three stacked green blocks, numbered 1, 2, and 3

Becoming good at math begins long before a child enters school. Each one of us is born to be a “math person.” Even babies can do simple math, such as noticing amounts and patterns. Toddlers love learning math concepts and games, such as comparing sizes and shapes. These concepts help them make sense of the world. You can help your child learn math as you play and talk together during everyday moments. By building on their natural skills and interests, you will be boosting their brain development and preparing them to do well in school.

Why?Count, Group, and Compare logo -- three stacked green blocks, numbered 1, 2, and 3

Becoming good at math begins long before a child enters school. Each one of us is born to be a “math person.” Even babies can do simple math, such as noticing amounts and patterns. Toddlers love learning math concepts and games, such as comparing sizes and shapes. These concepts help them make sense of the world. You can help your child learn math as you play and talk together during everyday moments. By building on their natural skills and interests, you will be boosting their brain development and preparing them to do well in school.

Explore through Movement and Play

Tips to Count, Group, and Compare

With Your Infant (0-12 Months Old)

Move to the beat. Tap your baby’s tummy or clap their hands together to the rhythm of a song. Or rock them as you sing a lullaby.

Count. For example, count and wiggle each of their toes. Or count as you gently bounce them in your lap.

Compare objects. Help your baby explore things that are the same and different. Let them shake containers that make different sounds. Or give them different types of fabrics to touch (like smooth and scratchy). Talk about the differences.

Fill up and dump out. For example, use a container to scoop and dump water in the bathtub. Use words like “in,” “out,” “full,” and “empty.”

With Your Toddler (12-36 Months Old)

Compare sizes and amounts. Your toddler may be interested which things are “big” or “little.” You can also talk to them about whether they want “more” or “less.”

Look for shapes. Point out shapes and describe them to your child. “Look, that window is a square with four sides.” See if they can find and name shapes around them.

Match and sort. Make a game of matching and sorting objects into groups. Arrange them by color, shape, or size. For example, find as many green things as you can, then sort them from smallest to largest.

Measure while cooking. Find safe ways for your toddler to participate while you are in the kitchen, like counting and helping to measure ingredients.

Stack blocks. Encourage your toddler to stack blocks or other objects like plastic cups. Talk to them about what they’re doing.

Count objects then regroup them. Point to each object as you count and say how many there are. Split the objects into two groups. Then count each group separately. Try it again with different groupings.

Clap in a pattern. Have your toddler repeat the pattern and dance with you.