The 12 Best Montessori Math & Counting Activities for Toddlers

Maria Montessori believed in the importance of giving children concrete experiences with math concepts. This can be done in a way that is interactive and fun for your toddlers. 

Learning through play provides your child a concrete foundation for math that they will benefit from later on. The best way to do this is through play and work with objects.

Math concepts are taught through everyday interactions in early years. Your toddler can learn about non-standard measurement as they compare different objects. 

How Math is Taught in Montessori

Math concepts are taught through everyday interactions in early childhood. Toddlers can learn about non-standard measurement as they compare different objects.  

As your toddler gets older materials are used to help bring concepts to life. Counting animal figurines, blocks, and balls in line helps children practice important math concepts in a structured way. 

Once your child enters kindergarten and early elementary they will begin to use these same concrete objects in new ways that help to solve more complex problems and will continue to learn and develop a deeper mathematical understanding.

#1 Counting

Have your toddler count while you push them on the swings or as they walk up stairs. Count with your child while pushing or stepping and give them a number to get up to. If they enjoy it enough they won't be disappointed when the game ends.

#2 Tracing and Stamping Work

 Tracing and Stamping Work

When your toddler is a little older they can begin counting the numbers 0-10 and even working on counting to 100. They can begin by having fun writing and tracing. There are mats that can be used for writing and tracing using a dry erase marker over a laminated pocket. Or you can try using a regular marker over tracing paper.

#3 Helping in the Kitchen

Helping in the Kitchen

Toddlers love to be helpful in the kitchen. You can take advantage of this time to teach your child some math skills. Ask them to bring you 5 potatoes or 2 onions when putting dinner together. They will love helping while they learn to count.

#4 Number Line

Number Line

A number line activity helps your child learn the shape and order of each number by matching the symbol with the picture. You can hand write each number on white paper with a red magic marker or use a printer to print them up. Use with number objects to match the number that's in the picture

#5 Playing with Dice

Playing with Dice

An oversized dice is a great hands on way for your toddler to learn to count. It is great for games like clapping the amount of dots rolled or jumping. You can find these toys in oversized plush materials or soft wood.

#6 Number and Object Matching

Number and Object Matching

Once your toddler is getting better at counting they can move up to playing a number/object matching game with printable cards and /or objects. This is a bit more complicated because each number corresponds to a different kind of object. Its always best to start out slow with three or four cards and an object, and then add on if and when your toddler is up for the challenge.

#7 Counting Trays

counting trays

Your toddler will enjoy you setting up counting trays for them to explore. The tray can be a combination of the Montessori counting (number) cards and stack toys and sort boards. Your toddler can count the shapes and match them with number cards.

#8 Measuring

Measuring

You can teach your toddler about non-standard measurement by having them bring you something large in size or find something small. It’s like a scavenger hunt for toddlers. 

#9 Sensory Sand Tray

Sensory Sand Tray

Toddlers love the sensory experience of a sand tray and it is another fun way for them to learn their numbers. Some get a kick out of the number mats hidden under the sand in a writing sand tray. They can carefully uncovered each dot and then trace the number seen in the sand.

#10 Color Wooden Ring Stacker

Wooden Ring Stacker

This activity is so simple and it works for toddlers who are also developing their stacking and fine motor skills. This toy usually involves matching colors and stacking them in order. This helps with matching and counting.

#11 Peg Number Boards

Peg Number Boards

There are quite a few toys made with different objects like this. Some are made with pegging materials and your toddler can just insert the pegs. The setting of these pegs can be inserted into holes on a peg board or smaller peg cards with numbers. This allows your toddler to practice one-to-one correspondence while identifying the corresponding number symbol.

#12 Sandpaper Numbers

Sandpaper Numbers

Sandpaper numbers are a big part of Montessori math learning. They provide your toddler with a concrete tactile way to experience numbers. You can prepare your child for handwriting by having them trace each sandpaper number with their fingers. It’s an excellent way for toddlers to get familiar with numbers and how they are written.

Final Thoughts

As with all Montessori learning, toddlers can be introduced to math and counting using tangible objects. It is much easier for young children to grasp new concepts when they can touch, see, and experience them with physical objects and activities.

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