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Teaching Toddlers Math and Critical Thinking Skills Using an At Home Curriculum- Part Two

Teaching Toddlers Math and Critical Thinking Skills Using an At Home Curriculum

In part one of this two part mini series we looked at the need for toddlers to build a strong math foundation as well as some of the first steps in improving their understanding of numerals, quantities, and number manipulation. If you missed that, I encourage you to go back and review that post first. In part two of the two part series, we will be exploring teaching toddlers patterns, logic, shapes and spatial relationships such as geometry, and measurements such a size, weight, and volume.

Teaching Toddlers Patterns

While your child is learning quantities, numerals, and how to manipulate them, you can begin introducing your toddler to repeating patterns. We recommend starting with a basic ABAB repeating pattern and moving on to other repeating patterns such as ABC, ABCD, ABBA, and so on. Ask your child to copy repeating patterns as well as encourage them to create their own. Just as before, this can be done using everyday items and favorite toys- cultery, colored blocks, and anything else that will maintain your toddler’s interest. My daughter’s favorite items to use are tableware. We count plates, forks, spoons, and napkins each night while she is completing her nightly chore of setting the table for dinner. Some nights we use these items for quantity manipulation as well. An example of this is when my husband is traveling for work. Instead of needing four of each time for dinner, we now need three of each item. When we have grandparents visiting for dinner, instead of needing our usual four place settings, we now need six. This game can be played to practice quantity manipulation, but it also can be used for patterns. For example, ask your toddler to make a pattern using only grandma and grandpa’s place setting. It might look something like this- plate, fork, spoon, plate, fork, spoon.

 Teaching Toddlers Logic

One of the challenging phases as a parent of a toddler is the “why” phase. “Why is the grass green?” “Why does food make us grow?” “Why do people cough?” You find yourself as a parent continuously stopping what you are doing to explain the basics of life to your toddler. In case you missed it, we discussed the importance of thoughtfully answering these questions to your little one in an earlier blog post. I encourage your to go back and read that post if you haven’t had a chance to do so yet.

As your toddler develops a deeper understanding for the world around them, you can begin adding more logic inducing questions to their day. Finally, the tables have turned! Instead of your child asking you all the questions, you can begin asking them questions. The purpose of this isn’t to stump your child and see how complicated of a question they can answer. The goal is to begin allowing them to logically think through situations. If a child is always being fed the answer, they are never encouraged to think of their own solutions and come up with their own explanations and reasonings. They aren’t given the chance to fully understand what is going on in the world around them. They only know what they are told. We want each and every child to understand ‘why’ the world is the way it is. And the best chance they have for that is when they are allowed to explore and think through their own problems and find their own solutions.

Just recently my toddler asked me why we have to stop at red lights when driving. Instead of giving her an answer, I asked her what she thought. Her answer was “So we don’t bonk into another car”. Exactly! I told her “When everyone follows the rules of the road, we all can stay safe.”. 

Teaching Toddlers Shapes and Spatial Relationships (Geometry)

Puzzles are a easy way to begin teaching toddlers shapes and geometry. 

At Masterminds Early Learning, we encourage you to introduce shapes- both 2D and 3D- in a similar way to how we discussed teaching quantities. Present the material in a quick and exciting manner. Present one shape at a time and ideally not in the same order. After the child has been exposed to the shape, we encourage you to begin finding those shapes in the world around them. This will allow your child to not only know their shapes, but also learn how to apply and understand those shapes in the world. The goal is that not only is your child learning their shapes, but they are understanding the shapes. Does your child understand the difference between a square and a rectangle? This will ideally translate into more complicated concepts later in their life. Your child will not only learn concepts throughout elementary school, middle school, and eventually college but your child will also then be able to apply these principles to their life and use the information to help them navigate their career.

Teaching Toddlers Measurement Such as Size, Weight, Volume, and Time

At Masterminds, we begin teaching some measurement concepts as early as our Preschool level which is designed for children as young as 18 months. Just as was suggested in teaching toddlers patterns, I encourage you to meet your child where they are at. You can compare the size of their favorite stuffed animals just as easily as you can lines on a paper. And let’s be honest, comparing teddy bears is always more enjoyable than little lines on a paper!

Weight and volume can be extremely enjoyable for children to learn and can be taught in a hands-on way. Your child will likely enjoy playing in the sand or water and comparing volume in two glasses or watering cans. Water tables, sandboxes, and even sensory bins can be great environments to not only learn sensory play, but also can be used in a way that begins teaching volume comparison.

We begin teaching time in our Kindergarten program. Teaching time on an analog clock allows for your child to be introduced to the concept of skip counting by 5s and 15s. It is also a great time to begin introducing quarters and halves- hello fractions! Children can learn a lot of mathematic concepts from a clock. We encourage you to teach it with the same enthusiasm as you are teaching all the other math concepts we previously discussed. 

Coming Soon- Teaching Toddlers Reading and Encyclopedic Knowledge

Be sure to check back for the next post in our series,Teaching Toddlers, for guidance on how we recommend to begin teaching toddlers to read.

Looking for your toddler to instantly recognize quantities up to 100 and complete calculations, fractions, and problem sets? Check out Masterminds Early Learning’s curriculum. We offer seven unique subjects including Math and Critical Thinking. Our Math curriculum surpassing traditional learning outcomes of typical math programs offered. Our students learn to understand numbers and quantities in a way that far exceeds simply counting and identifying numerals to 20 before Kindergarten.


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