by Alix Tonsgard

Almost everything we do is connected to mathematical thinking! Imagine setting a table or preparing a meal without some understanding of math concepts. The foundational understanding of math begins very early in life through everyday experiences.

Building a mathematical vocabulary is an excellent place to start. There are countless opportunities during the day for children to hear new math words and deepen their understanding of math concepts. The more we talk about math and share our enjoyment of the experience with children, the better chance they have to build a positive attitude toward math learning and learning in general.

Below I have included some ideas and strategies for you to try, but the most important thing to remember is to have fun! Following a recipe and measuring ingredients together, seeing who can find the most shapes on the playground, timing who is faster at running up the stairs – there are so many possibilities!

Add, Subtract, Divide

Snack time is the perfect time to begin learning these math concepts.

What happens when you cut an apple in half?

You have 5 puffs. How many are left if you eat 2?

Compare Sizes, Amounts and Weights

Use comparison words to talk about the objects:

Light and heavy; large and small; more and less.

Sort and Group

How many ways can you match and sort things? Shape, color, size–there are so many possibilities! Try creating a matching game with your child and see what happens.


Counting is one of the most important early math skills. How many fun ways can you come up with to count every day? As your child gets older, count higher or try counting by 2’s.

For a list of resources and to learn more, read the full blog at You can also use the hashtag #PlayIQwithDCM on DCM’s social media pages to ask me a question. I would love to hear from you!

Alix Tonsgard is an early learning specialist at the DuPage Children’s Museum.