For parents who are wondering what’s the best time to teach math to children, the simple answer is the earlier, the better. Counting is fundamental in young kids because it will be the foundation of their numerical literacy. And when it comes to teaching children how to count, counting & math toys are one of the most effective tools.
Why teach children how to count early on?
Math is more than just a school subject; it is a life skill, which means the sooner a child learns about math, the more he/she can incorporate it into his/her daily routines. Apart from counting, there are also other benefits he/she can explore when learning mathematics early on, such as:
- Spotting numbers naturally
- Solving problems that involve numbers
- Understanding and identifying shapes
- Developing spatial awareness
- Recognizing patterns
- Predicting sequences
- Measuring quantities
All of these improve a child’s problem-solving skills early on and will really boost his/her numerical comprehension. Whatever the child does, he/she can naturally identify numbers and shapes, which will help the child when playing with toys like building blocks. Being able to measure quantities will help in activities where he/she has to mix paint or glue or even when doing cooking activities. Further, recognizing and predicting patterns and sequences will be very helpful for children when studying a hobby or learning a musical instrument.
Parents, children, and math
Children can only do so much as they are limited to the things they have or presented with. Your role as a parent is to challenge them and at the same time, give them opportunities for learning continuously.
Children are often intimidated by something new. Take, for example, the alphabet—when children are first introduced to letters, they feel intimidated by them. It’s the same feeling with numbers. Children feel hesitant and scared because these are concepts they don’t fully understand. This is where parents step in to harness the innate curiosity in children and turn that into persistent interest.
Parents must do their part in improving the competence and boosting the confidence of their children. This means motivating the child, keeping the child engaged, and letting the child think critically by himself/herself.
Parents have to explain math in a way that children can understand them. And one of the most effective tools parents can use are counting & math toys.
The benefits of counting & math toys
Math educational toys for toddlers is a great way to introduce numbers to young children. These toys are often designed to attract children and pique their interest. The learning is made fun, thanks to the appropriate challenges these toys present.
More importantly, the best math toys help in improving the bond between parent and child. A parent will help a child in the beginning, preparing him/her for the challenge ahead. Later on, the now confident child can solve the problem on his/her own, with a parent by his/her side cheering the child on.
Counting & math toys for babies to one-year-old
Parents can expose babies to numbers by simply showing them shapes and numbers, reading to them, or singing songs with numbers. Shape puzzles and shape toys are great toys to start with. These will stimulate the baby’s pattern recognition as well as early problem-solving skills. Here are some of the toys we recommend:
The Numbers Game is a game that parents can play with their babies until toddlerhood. With proper guidance, babies will be more familiar with how numbers look like. It’s a number puzzle board with poles on the middle for when a child is ready to start counting.
But for now, parents can help their babies grab a specific number or shape, and then put in the right holes provided accordingly. The child may have to twist and turn the shapes to put them in correctly, and that’s the fun part! This game will help improve pattern recognition in babies, too.
Another counting & math toy babies can start with is the Cartoons Letter and Number Puzzle. Parents can teach their children how to identify numbers with this one. The puzzles are quite big, so babies and young tots can easily remember them. The colours are bright and attractive, which will surely keep the child interested. Do note though that it will still be difficult for babies to form the puzzles on their own. The parent should assemble the puzzles first and then introduce the numbers to the child.
Counting & math toys for two to three-year-olds
At this stage, a child can do more than just identify numbers; children are either learning to count or refining his/her counting skills. These are the best counting & math toys for this age group:
The Learn to Count Puzzle is an all-in-one counting toy for children. There are the number and picture puzzles where children have to connect. There are sticks which will be very helpful in counting. And there are the smaller cards for when a child is ready to learn mathematical processes like addition and subtraction.
Combine writing and counting together in the Write & Wipe Learning Cards. It’s a great introduction to children who are already learning to write letters and numbers. The cards have dotted lines the child can trace when writing. Further, the cards also have images to help a child count. Best of all, just wipe it clean and reuse!
Counting & math toys for older kids
Whoever said older kids can’t enjoy math toys are mistaken. These toys we recommend will still make learning math fun!
The IQ Math Toy Box is an excellent toy for children who are already doing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and those who are working on bigger numbers already. It comes with wooden squares and sticks that parents and children can put together to form equations.
Looking at a multiplication table is intimidating and overwhelming enough. Make multiplication learning fun and interesting with the Montessori Math Chart. The bright and kid-friendly colours will easily capture the interest of the child.
But what truly makes this chart special is the child can learn at his/her own pace. Just remove the wooden cubes that are not part of his/her lessons yet. This way, the child can focus on what he/she is currently learning and also understand how things add up when the other cubes are gradually put back in.
Counting & math toys are considered a parent’s partner in teaching numbers and math to their children. It’s hard to imagine introducing math to a young tot without the help of these educational toys. Children are curious little creatures, and these toys will definitely explore that curiosity and leave a child wanting to explore more!