Learning to count is one of the first skills toddlers work on, from counting as you go up and down (and up and down) the stairs, to spotting and categorizing and counting animals on the street, leaves in the yard, scooters at the park, etc. it can be easy to incorporate math into your everyday life. So I thought I would put together some fun and perhaps new-to-you math and counting activities that can help cement and encourage an early interest in math (and maintain/continue your Spanish!).
Laughing Kids Learn has some great ideas for counting with beads and pom poms, which kids LOVE. Of course, if your little is still mouthing, I would hold off on this one until they’re a little older or use Cheerios (or something similar) instead. We’re only just getting to the point where E (2) is willing to play with something small and not immediately put it in her mouth.
She also suggests a counting activity using pom poms and cupcake liners (these are silicone and my kids love the feel of them, plus they are reusable!). If you haven’t already, I also highly suggest incorporating tongs or large tweezers. For whatever reason, kids LOVE to use them and they can work on their fine motor skills while they count.
Since I have your attention, may I make one small suggestion for storing all the little bits and pieces (and especially puzzle pieces) you acquire over the years, such as beads, etc.? Use use pencil pouches. I know, that’s random and has nothing to do with learning to count, but it’s something I started doing a few years ago and it’s made transitioning between activities and keeping a semblance of organization in the play area somewhat achievable. So, there you go. I hope they serve you as well as they’ve served me.
If you’re not one for setting up activities, or if you’re looking for something to help preschoolers start to recognize numbers written out both in Spanish and numerically, then these printables may be up your alley. All you really need are (i) access to a printer, (ii) something to color or manipulate with (such as play doh), and (iii) your child(ren).
You should know by now that I will never pass up an opportunity to provide some reading suggestions for books. The ones I’ve linked to below incorporate math, counting, and numbers in an easy and fun way, and can help add mathematical literacy to your nighttime routine.
Abuelita fue al mercado (This book is well-read and loved in our house. The kids go through stages where we’ll read it every.single.night.)
The next few aren’t in Spanish, but they aren’t difficult to translate and would also be a fine addition to your library if you’re looking to add more mathematically-inclined books to your shelves.
Goodnight, Numbers (I think one of my favorite parts of this book is just how rich each of the illustrations is with opportunities to count and spot numbers.)
Bedtime Math (This series of books is made to grow with your child, which I love. Some of the concepts were a little hard for me to translate on the spot, but once you’ve translated one or two you can sort of just make it up on the fly, with the book as your guide.)
How Many Bugs in a Box? A Pop-Up Counting Book (I just have to say, my kids really love this series of books, but they are pop-ups so if your kids aren’t ready to enjoy them without ripping them apart, I’d wait. That’s a lesson I learned about 4-5 destroyed pop-ups later.)
Did I miss anything?
What else do you do to help teach your kids math (in Spanish or otherwise)?
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