When you hear the word "math," you probably think about adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. To solve these operations — and more complicated ones down the road — kids need problem-solving skills and number sense. Number sense is the ability to understand what numbers mean, how they relate to one another and how they can be used in real-world situations. Young children are learning basic, foundational math concepts: when we put cookies in a jar, the amount gets larger (addition); when we take cookies out of the jar, the amount gets smaller (subtraction).
Math Developing Your Two-Year-Old's Problem-Solving Skills
Encourage early problem-solving skills:
Practice Comparing Amounts
Making comparisons is a great start to thinking mathematically. If you give your child two animal crackers and yourself four, no doubt your child can tell who has more and who has less! Throughout the day, ask him to compare the number of blocks in two towers, books in piles, stickers on a chart or food on plates. Build his brainpower by using the words "more," "less" and "the same."
Curious George wants to share an equal number of treats between dogs. Your child can practice counting and comparison skills while helping George distribute the treats.Play This Game
Use Subtraction at Mealtime
Your child is learning about subtraction all the time. Consider using mealtimes as a launchpad for discovery. Say something like: "I see you have three apple slices. How many will you have if you eat one?" When she eats one, help her figure out how many are left.
Count Ladybug Spots With Your Child
Your child can practice addition and subtraction by helping you create a ladybug with up to 10 spots!Do This Activity
Create a Tower of Blocks
Building with blocks is a great way to explore addition with your child. Have her start with one block and add one block more. Ask: "How many blocks are in this tower? How many will we have if we add one more?" See how high the tower can go!
Play "How Many Ways Old Are You?"
Does your child love to tell people his age? Together with your child, explore numbers and counting by figuring out how many ways your child can express his age.Do This Activity
Start with Two
Help your child do some mental addition and subtraction with the number 2. While you are playing with toys (such as blocks, dolls, etc.) hold one up and point out that there is one item. Then ask your child how many there would be if you added another. If you put one behind your back, how many are left? It might take him a while to do the mental math, so start by counting together.
PBS Parents Play & Learn
Designed specifically with parents in mind, this app provides more than a dozen math and literacy games that parents can play with their kids. Each game builds on the natural curiosity of children and is themed around a familiar location like the garden or grocery store.Play This Game
Help Your Child Learn to Love Math with Curious George
Curious George is a little monkey who wants to explore and discover new things. Like George, children are always learning! And his interactions with patterns, measurements, and shapes can help your child begin to see math in the world around them.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Two-Year-Old
ActivitiesView All Activities
Piggy Bank Saving
Creating a piggy bank and counting money can help your child better understand the concept of saving.
AppsView All Apps
Wild Kratts Creature Math
Creature Math helps children learn valuable ecology and science concepts while practicing addition and subtraction as they create their very own animal habitat, filled with cool creature pals!
GamesView All Games
Ruff's Cookie Creator
Ruff Ruffman is creating new kinds of cookies by experimenting with how much of each of 4 ingredients to add to the recipe. Choose the number of ingredients and how long to bake the cookies to find out what kinds of cookies you can make and serve to customers.