Is there anything I can do to teach my toddler numbers, or will she just pick them up over time?
Your toddler is exposed to numbers everywhere, from restaurants and supermarkets to elevators and sporting events. But when it comes to early childhood development, you’re still her No. 1 (pun intended) teacher. If you show curiosity and enthusiasm for teaching your toddler numbers, she’ll mirror that when learning them.
Start by pointing out numbers to your child whenever you see them. Be on the lookout during daily errands and outings, which may mean finding numerals on license plates, in recipes, and on price tags at the store. Challenge your toddler to go on her own number hunt. For example, ask her to find the number three while you’re driving, or the number one while you’re grocery shopping.
Next, create a number book. Print or draw oversized block numbers, cut them out, and laminate them. Punch one hole in the top left corner of each number, and connect the cards in consecutive order with a metal or plastic ring. Refer to the book when you bring up numbers, such as explaining that you are cooking two pizzas for dinner or that you have to wait five days until Grandma and Grandpa arrive. Challenge your toddler to find the corresponding number in her book.
Your child may not quite grasp what numbers mean yet, and that’s OK. Activities like these will help highlight the presence of numbers in her everyday life and prepare her to learn more about them soon.