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It’s an exciting new world when all the numbers start making sense.

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Just ask your toddler! As he begins to better understand numbers, patterns, shapes and sizes, the world opens up in so many ways. From recognizing numbers to counting to grasping routines, his brain is expanding to allow for more knowledge…and more fun!

Your 2-Year-Old

Boost that growth with lots of stimuli: puzzles, number-focused books, games that involve more and less. Let him watch you cut a whole sandwich into halves or quarters. Then, explain to him what’s happening. And when he eats it all — both halves or all four quarters — he’ll recognize that it’s “all gone!”

  • One for You, and One for Me!

    If you ask your toddler to share a cracker, she’ll probably give you one. If you ask for them all, she might not! But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t understand what you’re asking for. She does. She’s beginning to understand the differences between first and last, between some and all. And her number recognition is also improving. If you write the numbers 1, 2 and 3, she’ll most likely know what they mean. And count from 1-5 with her. Then she’ll count it back to you!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Are numbers visible on the walls as well as throughout the classroom? Also, listen for counting out loud. Do the children participate? Do the teachers help?

  • I Understand Basic Patterns

    Banana, apple, banana, apple, banana… what comes next? Your toddler knows! He’s beginning to understand basic patterns in his environment and can identify when something has been added… and when something has been taken away. If he’s playing with two trucks, he’ll most definitely notice if a friend decides to borrow one from him!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    When the children and teachers communicate, listen for mathematical language such as more and less, bigger and smaller and this many or that many. Look to see whether teachers are pointing out patterns in routines, in the classroom or in nature.

  • I Know the Difference Between Dogs and Cats… and Other Things!

    Try this game with your toddler: Ask her to put all her stuffed animals in one pile, all her blankets in another, and all her toy cars in another. Chances are, she’ll know exactly what to do! She’s understanding how some things are similar and how others are different. As she learns, notice how eager she is to share that knowledge with you!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Do you hear differences between described? Different shapes, different colors, different sizes? Are there discussions about similarities, too? Classroom materials should provide ample opportunities for children to explore those comparisons!

  • I Understand Different Shapes and Sizes

    Does your toddler love puzzles? That’s because he’s beginning to understand how different shapes fit together. He can probably even complete an age-appropriate puzzle all — or almost all — on his own! Watch as he twists and turns each piece to make sure the fit is just right. And if he needs a little help, that’s okay. You’re still his best teacher!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Look for a variety of puzzles and manipulative toys, and make sure children are given opportunities to engage in both structured and unstructured play.

  • Keep Me on a Schedule, Please

    “It’s bath time!” Watch your toddler run excitedly when you announce one of her favorite activities. And if you tell her she needs to wait a few minutes before you can get to her snack, she understands. (Even though she might not be happy about it!) The concept of time gains more meaning as your toddler better understands all the steps in her simple routines. Snack, bath, bedtime…check!

    Look for Signs of Learning at Your Child's Care

    Are daily classroom routines established? Are there pictures to help describe when transitions occur? Have you noticed the teacher using a picture schedule to help children better understand the timing of how their day unfolds?

Ideas to Learn and Play Together!

From bedtime to playtime your child is always learning. Check out these family-time ideas for building their skills -- and your family connections. All children learn and grow at their own pace and in their own way. For more information about the skills and milestones for your child's age check out our developmental milestones resource page. If you continue to have concerns or questions please give us a call at 1-800-299-1627.

  • More or Less

    Your child is beginning to understand and use early math concepts. During the day, add comparison words to family chatter. Some great ones to work in: more, less, some, none, many, big, small, tall, short… “Oh there are none left! We ate all the blueberries. Yum.”

  • Now You See It! Now You Don't!

    Place a small number of toys out to count. “Look we have three stuffed animals here.” Ask your child to turn around. Then, remove or add an animal. Have him turn back around briefly. Then, when he turns back to the toys ask him what changed. This game builds an understanding of the ideas of more or less and adding and subtracting.

  • Fingers & Toes!

    Counting toes and fingers is a natural way to reinforce counting skills — hands-on. Think about other items you can count during your daily routines. While you eat, count bites of food. When you travel, count cars that zoom by. When you read, add counting as you talk about pictures. “Let’s count the little puppies in your book. One, two, three!”

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