An Easy, Fun, Learning Activity for Toddlers
My four-year-old, David, loves dogs, so my mother-in-law found pictures of dogs for him to use as counting tools. Each card had the pictures of the dogs pasted on the card already with the words, "1 dog, 2 dogs, 3 dogs," etc. He had to take little Milk Bones, count them to match the number, and paste them on each card.
Studies have shown that, yes, it is great if your kids can count to ten, but what really matters is that they can actually point out objects while they count. This skill is what will help them in their early elementary math classes.
Periodically, we ask David to count the bones on each card and to reference the number written on each card. We have even started to hold up the 1 and 2 dog cards to work on simple math problems. In just a week, he can recall what problems like 1+2 and 2+3 are.
This can be done with any pictures and objects. You could even draw fish on a card and have the child paste on goldfish crackers, or any other little objects you have around the house. Remember, the key is to have them point to the objects while they count. (Not just memorize counting 1-10)