Kids start learning math the moment they start exploring the world. Whether it is shapes, counting or finding patterns, little ones are constantly building on what they already know and hitting some major math milestones.
Kids develop their math skills at different rates, but there are some math milestones most kids hit around ROUGHLY the same age. Each skill—from identifying shapes to counting to finding patterns—builds on what kids already know.
Babies (0-12 months)
- Start to understand relative size (baby is small, parents are big)
- Begin to understand words that describe quantities (more, bigger, enough)
- Begin to predict the sequence of events (like setting the table means dinner is coming soon)
- Start to understand basic cause and effect (tickling makes you laugh)
- Begin to classify things in simple ways (play with toys, eat food)
Toddlers (Ages 1-2 years)
- Match basic shapes (triangle to triangle, circle to circle)
- Explore measurement by filling and emptying containers
- Begin reciting numbers, but may skip some of them
- Understand that numbers mean “how many” (using fingers to show how many years old they are)
- Start seeing patterns in daily routines and in things like floor tiles
- Understand words that compare or measure things (under, behind, faster)
Preschoolers (Ages 3-4 years)
- Start predicting cause and effect (what will happen to the ground when it rains)
- Uses spatial awareness to put puzzles together.
- Recognized shapes in the real world
- Start sorting things by shape, color, size, or purpose.
- Compare and contrast using classifications like size, gender, height
- Count to at least 20 and accurately point to and count items in a group.
- Understand that numerals stand for number names (3 stands for three)
Don’t forget that THESE ARE BALLPARK AGES. Don’t worry if your child does not yet have all the skills listed for their age group. Every child is different and progress at their own rate. Your child is on a lifelong learning journey with many stops along the way. Enjoy the journey and see where they have been and where they are going.