Essential Pre-Math Skills

It is often easier for toddlers to understand a math concept if they experience it concretely first and if they can connect it to their daily life experiences.  I’ve seen this approach work with my kids. Therefore, I try to avoid worksheets when they are little until they have a good grasp of pre-math concepts. 

Checklist for your toddler:

  • Knows shapes and can identify shapes in his environment.
  • Identifies numbers (1 to 10 or more) and understands that numbers are symbols that represent how many. For example: * * * is 3.
  • Makes comparisons (ex. fewer or more)
  • Understands positions (inside and outside, left and right, left, middle and right, above and below, top and bottom, under)
  • Classifies based on attributes (ex. sorting by same color, same size, same texture, etc.)
  • Can follow a simple sequence or pattern
  • Familiar enough with local currency to identify 25 cents, 1 peso, ten pesos, etc.
  • Differentiates between size (long and short, tall and short, light and heavy, holds more or less, wide and narrow)



Ideas for you (videos):

Some examples of materials that encourage pre-math skills in our home: (Most of these images are linked. Just click on the image.)

Marbles as counters

Bath numbers and shapes

Magna Tiles

Shapes and Sorting - Turn the Wheel Book

Number Peg Board

Matching Shapes and Colors

Geometric Stacker

Magnetic Numbers

Beginner Pattern Blocks

Helpful Resources:

How to teach position and direction

See also…Essential Pre-writing Skills and Homeschooling the Toddler Years



  1. What’s up, I log on to your blog daily. Your humoristic style is witty,
    keep it up!

Speak Your Mind

Like this article?
Good thing we have a button for that
Essential Pre-Math Skills