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Everyday Early Math

By Too Small to Fail

During the early years when children begin to learn language and social skills, they’re also learning math through playtime and everyday interactions with their parents and caregivers. Simple, everyday activities like counting toes during bath time or stacking blocks can help children develop early math skills which can have a big impact on school readiness. 

To help support early math skills for young learners, Too Small to Fail partnered with ZERO TO THREE on a series of videos highlighting the foundation of early math skills in the first five years of life, and fun activities parents and caregivers can use to support this learning as part of a regular daily routine. Our latest videos focus on patterns, measurement, addition and subtraction, and are available in both Spanish and English!

Here are a few fun and easy ways to help turn everyday moments into opportunities to support children’s early math skills: 

Everyday Fun with Patterns

Creating patterns is the ability to put objects, colors, sounds or actions in a repeated order. It is as easy as lining up leaves and rocks at the park. Learning to notice, create and continue patterns can help children understand more advanced math concepts later on.

Activity: You and your child can make patterns together by putting objects in order by size or quantity, or stacking different colored blocks. For example, you might say, “Red block, blue block, red block, blue block. What comes next?

For more tips on patterns, watch this video or download our handout.



Everyday Fun with Measurement

As early as 12 months old, babies can begin to understand comparison and measurement concepts, such as distance and size. You can help your child develop these skills by using simple measurement words like wide, tall, short or tiny when you play, talk and sing together.

Activity: Preschoolers enjoy comparing. At the grocery store ask your child, “Which one is wider, the apple or the lime?”

For more tips on measurement, watch this video or download our handout.


Everyday fun with Addition and Subtraction

During the early years, young children begin to build an understanding of numbers and math concepts like adding and subtracting. They learn these early math concepts through play and everyday routines. You can help your child learn early math by pointing out differences in quantity as you play and talk together, using words like plus, add, or take away.

Activity: When unpacking groceries, you can play “How many” with your toddler and ask, “How many boxes of cereals did we buy? Let’s count them together.” 

For more tips on addition and subtraction, watch this video or download our handout.


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