Babies doing math? That’s right! The roots of early math skills begin developing from birth, through babies’ everyday play and interactions with parents and caregivers. These early math skills have a big impact on children’s school readiness—in fact, research has found that a strong understanding of early math concepts predicts both a child’s future math and literacy skills.
The great news is that math is all around us. Check out our new resources for simple ways to introduce early math concepts to your child during everyday activities.
Let's Talk About STEM Video Series
ZERO TO THREE and Too Small to Fail have partnered to develop a series of videos highlighting the development of STEM skills in the first five years of life.
Everyday Fun With Engineering and Technology
From birth to five, children develop an understanding of engineering and technology as they:
- Experiment with solving the problems they encounter in their world
- Test how things work, like turning a light switch on and off
- Use information about what works and what doesn't work to improve their creations
Watch the video (English | Spanish) or download our handout (English | Spanish) with fun activities designed to support young children’s growing knowledge of engineering and technology from birth to five.
Everyday Fun With Science
Young children, from birth to age five, are naturally curious about science. In the early years, children use scientific practices like:
- Asking questions
- Describing animals and plants, and natural processes like rainstorms
- Predicting what will happen next in a process
Watch the video (English | Spanish) or download our handout (English | Spanish) with fun activities designed to support young children’s growing knowledge of science from birth to five.
Let's Talk, Read and Sing About STEM!
Too Small to Fail partnered with The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) on a set of early science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) resources for families and educators of young children. The “Let’s Talk, Read and Sing About STEM!” resources provide fun, concrete tips for families, caregivers, and early educators on easy ways to incorporate STEM concepts and vocabulary into everyday routines, and suggestions for activities to engage young children in STEM learning.
- Tips for Families with Young Children English | Spanish
- Tips for Infant/Toddler Teachers and Providers English | Spanish
- Tips for Preschool Teachers and Providers English | Spanish
- "Let's Talk About the World" Poster English | Spanish
Let's Talk About Math Video Series
Too Small to Fail partnered with ZERO TO THREE on a series of videos (in English and Spanish) highlighting the foundation of early math skills in the first five years of life, and fun, everyday activities parents and caregivers can use to support this learning. Each video focuses and a specific math concept.
Everyday Fun With Addition and Subtraction
An early understanding of addition and subtraction can be seen when children experiment with:
- Counting the number of items in a group of objects
- Adding objects to a group
- Removing objects from a group
- Comparing groups of objects to figure out which has more or if they have the same amount.
Watch the video or download our handout with fun activities designed to support young children’s growing knowledge of addition and subtraction from birth to 5.
Everyday Fun With Measurement
Children develop an early understanding of measurement by learning about:
- The size, length, height, and weight of people or objects—like when they describe a baby sibling as “short” and themselves as “tall”
- The concept of capacity—as they “fill” and “empty” a container with sand or water
- The idea of distance—whether a favorite toy is “far away” or “close by”
- The idea of time—concepts like before, after, later, soon and “in a minute.”
Watch the video or download our handout with fun activities to support young children's growing measurement skills.
Everyday Fun With Patterns
Pattern awareness emerges as children explore:
- Daily patterns like a familiar bedtime routine or the predictable green, yellow, red of a traffic light;
- Matching and sorting objects by shape, size or color;
- Creating their own patterns using toys or materials they find in the world in around them;
- Describing the patterns they see and create; and
- Knowing what comes next in a pattern—placing a blue block on a red-blue-red-blue-red stack.
Watch the video or download our handout with activities about patterns.
Everyday Fun With Shapes
Shape awareness is an understanding of:
- Shape characteristics—noticing what makes each shape different, like knowing that a triangle has three points.
- Matching—recognizing common elements of shapes and matching pairs (circles, triangles, and squares).
- Positioning shapes—understanding how shapes fit together and can be combined, like completing a puzzle.
Watch the video or download our handout with activities about shapes.
Everyday Fun With Spatial Awareness
Children learn spacial awareness skills as they explore and learn to talk about:
- Shape and size—noticing, describing and comparing shapes and sizes of objects.
- Space and position—recognizing where a person or object is in relation to other people and objects and understanding concepts like “on top of” or “under.”
- Direction and movement—following and predicting the path of a moving object, like a rolling ball.
Watch the video or download our handout with spacial awareness activities.
Everyday Fun With Counting
Your child learns about counting by:
- Hearing the number sequence and, with experience, learning number names and repeating them in order.
- Observing adults counting objects and, in time, practicing how to count by saying the number sequence themselves.
- Talking about the amount of things by using number words or words like “more” or “a lot.”
Watch the video or download our handout with counting activities.
Let's Talk About Math Highlights Guide
Too Small to Fail partnered with Highlights on a resource kit with easy, fun ways to incorporate math conversations and exercises into everyday conversation.