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Fun With Math

The parent of any toddler who says, "I'm three!" while holding up two fingers can tell you: Kids this age know a few numbers, but they don't really get 'em. Some crafty ways to help your child learn the difference between the digits:

Counting collage. Cut out numbers from old magazines and newspapers, then glue them all over a sheet of construction paper together. Using your new collage, have your child find specific numbers, look for matching ones, or count in numerical order.

Play clay numbers. Help your toddler roll out long snakes of clay and then form them into numerals. If you allow the clay to dry for two to three days, or bake for one to two hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, you can paint them and number items around the house with them.

Touch and tell. Cut out numbers from several different kinds of tactile materials, such as felt, bubble wrap, and corrugated cardboard. After your child touches all the numbers to get to know them, have her close her eyes and try to figure out which one you hand her by its shape and texture alone.

Magic math. Use a dry bar of soap or a wax candle to draw numerals onto a sheet of white paper (press down hard so that you're sure to make a mark). Then your child can lightly brush dark-hued watercolor paint over the paper to reveal the numbers.