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Teaching Math to Young Children for Families and Caregivers

These videos and activities provide families with information about how to support children as they practice math skills at home.



Early childhood, between the ages of 2-8, is an important period for developing math skills. From the first years of life, your child is learning math and developing interest in the subject through everyday routines and play. Your support for the development of math knowledge and skills will help prepare your child for future success in school and life. Check out this infographic title, Supporting Your Child in Developing Math Skills for Future Success, to learn more about how early math success opens doors for future success in college and careers.

These family and caregiver resources and activities, organized by math topics such as counting or shapes, include research-based and easy-to-follow steps to help you support your child’s math skills during a typical day.

The activities and resources are organized under five different sections. The first two sections cover number, shape, pattern, measurement, and data analysis. In these sections the activities and resources support the development of specific math skills. The next three sections provide activities and resources that can be used to support the development of all math skills more broadly, such as suggestions for ways to include math learning during a typical day or trip to the grocery store (section three). Check out the At A Glance table below for a quick overview of the sections and what you will find in each one. To get started you might review each section and think about what areas your child needs more support in. Alternately, you might start in an area that your child is most interested in and build on their engagement with math!

Using the activities will be a fun way to spend time together!

Resources at a Glance

Section What You Will Find
1. Numbers and Operations
  • Recognizing small numbers
  • Counting
  • Comparing
  • Identifying numerals
  • Problem-solving
2. Geometry, patterns, measurement, and data analysis
  • Recognizing, naming, and comparing shapes
  • Identifying and creating patterns
  • Measuring
  • Collecting and organizing information
3. Support math throughout the day
  • Embed math in everyday routines and activities
  • Make a math-rich environment
  • Play games to teach math concepts
4. View and describe the world mathematically
  • Model problem-solving
  • Use math language
  • Ask open-ended questions
5. Observe and build on what your child knows
  • Build on what your child knows


Wherever you start, we encourage you to select appropriate activities for your child. The goal is to engage your child in activities that promote learning in a positive environment, not to induce frustration or math anxiety that can discourage participation in math-related activities throughout school. To learn more about math anxiety watch this short video.

Two Classroom Strategies to Reduce Students’ Math Anxiety

Additional Resources

The family and caregiver activities were excerpted from the following resources:
(all free online)

This information was prepared by Regional Educational Laboratories Appalachia, Central, and Northwest