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  • This Simple But Effective Play Activity Hones Your Toddler's Pre-Math Skills!

    When can you introduce your toddler to sorting and matching play activities?
    by Rachel Perez .
This Simple But Effective Play Activity Hones Your Toddler's Pre-Math Skills!
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    It makes every parent proud when they hear their child count from one to ten and beyond at such an early age.  While number awareness if a good jump-off point to learning math, it doesn't necessarily start with it.

    Learning math starts even before your child can count. It begins with matching, sorting, and comparing objects and classifying by shape, color, and size. You may see these as simple activities, but these skills help toddlers recognize patterns or things and concepts that repeat logically. 

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    How to support your toddler's sorting skills

    As young as age 2, toddlers can already recognize patterns in everything they see, hear, or touch. Their developing brains are always looking for what is new, different, or changed. This leads them to find order in things, compare and contrast, and pay attention to what remains the same.

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    Between 18 months and age 2, your toddler can start sorting and matching identical objects. At 30 months, they may be able to recognize basic geometric shapes. Here's how you can begin honing your child's sorting skills from the parent blog Lovevery.

    Sorting similar shapes

    • Gather six shapes in total, with two of each shape. Make sure the identical shapes are also different, perhaps in size, color, or something else.
    • Place a circle-shaped item into a container. Hand your child the second circle-shaped item and ask him to put it in the container with the same shape. Do this with the other shapes, too.
    • Once your child can match all three shapes, gather all pieces and ask your child to sort all the same-shaped items together. 

    When your child has mastered this exercise, add more complex shapes into the mix. You can ask your child to do a scavenger hunt for shapes all around him. 

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    Sorting shapes and colors

    • Repeat the activity described above. First, ask your toddler to sort the objects by shape.
    • Next, start with a pair of circles and a pair of squares, with matching colors and all mixed together. See if your child can group the circles and the squares.
    • Then, ask your child to sort same-color objects. It will teach your child that one set of items can be sorted in a variety of ways. 

    Do not ask your child to sort colors and shapes at the same time. Switching from one sorting challenge to another is an executive function exercise. Try also asking your child to sort objects that are the same and see if they match by color, shape, or something else.

    You don't need unique objects to teach your child to sort. Try having him help you sort the socks from the laundry or his toys. You can do this activity at home or on the road. 

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    Check out other pre-math skills you can teach your toddler here.

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