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Numbers by Joni Levine, M.Ed.

Children develop a mathematical awareness at an early age. Although your toddler is not ready for mathematical equations, you can start to introduce her to the concepts of quantity and the symbolic representation of quantity.

Count Through the Day

You do not need to plan a formal activity to help your child develop number and counting concepts.

• As you go through the day with your child, count with her. Point out things in her environment and encourage her to count with you. “Let's count how many cookies are on the plate.” “Look, Anna, there are a lot of birds on the tree, let's count them!”

Activity for an individual child

Age group: 30–40 months

Three Little Kittens

Use this popular rhyme to reinforce number concepts with your toddler. You can also do this activity with The Three Bears and their bowls of porridge.

• Recite the following rhyme for your toddler:

Three little kittens,

They lost their mittens,

And they began to cry,

Oh, mother dear,

Our mittens we have lost.

You naughty kittens!

Then you shall have no pie.

Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.

You shall have no pie.

The three little kittens,

They found their mittens,

And they began to cry,

Oh, mother dear,

See here, see here,

Our mittens we have found.

You darling kittens!

Then you shall have some pie.

Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.

You shall have some pie.

• Set up the three pictures and have your child count and distribute the mittens for each cat.

Activity for an individual child

Age group: 30–40 months

Duration of activity: 10 minutes

3 photos of different cats

6 mittens (or paper cutouts of mittens)

Birthday Cake

• Cut the construction paper in the shape of a cake. Repeat to make five cakes.

• Mark the assigned number on the side of the cake.

• Cut out 15 thin rectangle shapes for candles. Cut out tiny yellow teardrop shapes for flames and glue them onto the candles.

• For each cake, help your child identify the number and glue on the appropriate number of candles.

Activity for an individual child

Age group: 30–40 months

Duration of activity: 15 minutes

Construction paper

Scissors

Markers

White craft glue

Number Bag

Here is a fun outdoor activity that will reinforce number concepts and counting skills.

• Mark each bag with a number, starting simply with just 1, 2, and 3.

• Take your child outdoors where she can find things to collect, such as leaves or stones. Direct her to put the appropriate number of items in each bag.

Activity for an individual child

Age group: 30–40 months

Duration of activity: 10 minutes

Small brown-paper lunch bags

Marker

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By Joni Levine, M.Ed.