You may not realize it, but young children are already using early math skills throughout their daily routines and activities.  Through these everyday interactions, children are developing math skills, even before they start school!

You can help the process along by using “math language” as you interact with your child while cooking, doing laundry and even as they play. Here’s some activities that play with shapes and suggest “math language” to use during the play.

Play with shapes!

Playing with shapes is important for math skills, but it is also helpful with Letter Knowledge (an early literacy skill that children need before they learn to read).

For the activity shown below, you will need some shapes and can easily make some out of cardboard. Let your preschooler play with each shape, help them count the sides and have them describe the shapes.  Play a matching game and let them be a scientist by experimenting with the shapes by making mistakes and discoveries.

Cardboard Shapes

Cut out lots of shapes from construction paper, using the same color for each shape.  Tape them to the floor in a random order. The game begins when you call out which shape your child should find and stand on. Continue to call out shapes and watch him hop from shape to shape.  Let your child call out the shapes and they can watch you hop too! Match shapes with items in your house by finding things that are round, square or rectangular and placing them near the shape on the floor.

Want more information on how to incorporate math into your day? Visit the Zero to Three Parent Resource page.

Math activities broken down by age for children 2 to 8 years (PBS Kids for Parents)