This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you make a purchase using one of these links.
Mathematics may not seem like a toddler Tot School activity, but it most certainly is! Counting toys and pieces with your baby helps them to develop a curiosity about numbers, which builds foundational life skills.
A study by Boston College showed that mothers who helped their tiniest tots to count objects during playtime ended up having better math skills when they started school. Oh, the power of counting even when your little one doesn’t seem to understand it! This is why early math skills that are fashioned as playtime are so incredibly crucial in tot school.
The Timberdoodle Birth to Two Tiny Tots kit features two math materials directed at toddlers. Of course, so many other items in the curriculum kit can be used for counting and sorting, but these two are designed specifically for those skills.
A special thanks to Timberdoodle Company for sponsoring this homeschool series of posts by graciously sending us this complimentary curriculum kit to see what we think. All opinions are our own!
Junior Rainbow Pebbles
Beginning around 18 months, a toddler can manipulate the pieces in Junior Rainbow Pebbles to develop fine motor skills while sorting, stacking, and sequencing the pebbles.
On opening the box, I was impressed by the quality of the earth-toned pebbles, and also fascinated that they are made of eco-friendly rice stems and husks. The kit includes 36 pebbles with 3 different shapes and 6 color shades, in addition to 8 sturdy double-sided activity cards to promote order, patterns, and creativity.
As toddlers manipulate the smooth pebbles, they can sort or match by color, shape, or size, line them up biggest to smallest (or smallest to biggest), stack them in a tower, count them, and create designs. The possibilities abound!
For littles under 18 months, you could let them hold the pebbles (with supervision), drop into a box or basket, all while discussing and showing color, shape and counting. As their skills progress, you can show them stacking, and then begin working with the activity cards.
I really love that the cards are colorful, but serene, nature scenes. Some feature specific shapes to match particular pebble sizes, and others offer more open ended exercises, like adding the pebbles as leaves on a small tree.
Fine motor skills are absolutely foundational to cognitive development, and activities like FantaColor Baby make it fun and interactive. Designed for 1-4 year olds, this set contains 21 toddler-sized cap buttons, 6 mosaic cardboards, and one plastic board with round pegs on it.
The buttons come in 3 different colors and toddlers can creatively place the buttons on the plastic peg board alone, or slip a mosaic cardboard on top and create a guided design. This allows for both structured play and free-play, appealing to both divergent and convergent thinking skills!
The mosaic cardboards are thin, and must be used with care to avoid ripping, but the plastic board and the cap buttons are thick and sturdy. I like that the set is fairly compact and easy to store (you can keep it in the box, or I slip it into a gallon sized bag and put into my math bin). See more on how I store all our Timberdoodle materials here.
I like that FantaColor offers a guided activity to help toddlers work on their fine motor skills, visual discrimination, color recognition and creativity.
Final Thoughts on Math Skills for Toddlers
Math skills for infants and toddlers can be enhanced with other counting and sorting activities from the Tiny Tots kit as well. The HABA Wooden Pegging Game, Usborne Very First Book of Things to Spot, and Match the Buddies Puzzles are among the additional materials that offer color matching, counting, reading and discussion opportunities surrounding beginning math skills.
Check out the Birth to 2 Tiny Tots Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle here.
More Articles on Tot Schooling:
- How We Schedule Tot School || Day in the Life with Timberdoodle Curriculum Kits
- STEM for Infants & Toddlers || Timberdoodle Tiny Tots Kit
- Motor Skills for Infants || Timberdoodle Tiny Tots Kit Review