Mathematics Slides

Illinois Early Learning has created a bank of slides based on Standards Start at Home: A Guide to Early Learning for Parents/Families. These slides contain simple suggestions for parents of young children. The Standards Start at Home slides are available in PDF format (31MB). Feel free to share the full document.

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Tips for Teaching Children About Patterning and Sequencing (slide 1) 

  • Provide open-ended materials, such as blocks, Legos, beads, or dry macaroni to encourage your child to explore and create patterns 
  • Play rhythm games with claps, snaps, and pats 

Tips for Teaching Children About Patterning and Sequencing (slide 2) 

  • Collect pairs of similar but different objects, then describe (e.g., “this book is bigger”) 
  • Use everyday items (shoes, cans, rocks, etc.) and put them in order from smallest to largest 

Tips for Teaching Children How to Classify  

  • Match and sort real objects first. When that becomes easy, use pictures of objects. 
  • Collect interesting things (shells, rocks, leaves, etc.). Talk about how objects are alike and how they are different. 
  • Classify stuffed animals by movement (hop vs. swim) or home (farm vs. jungle). Have your child help you sort the laundry or match the socks into pairs. 

Tips for Teaching Your Child About Measurement and Time (slide 1)  

  • Discuss weights of various foods when putting away groceries. The watermelon is heavy, but the popcorn is light. 
  • Let your child put spoons or bowls in order of size or nest and stack them 
  • Talk about how many teaspoons or cups of a certain item are needed in a recipe 

Tips for Teaching Your Child About Measurement and Time (slide 2)  

  • See how many cups of water it takes to fill a bowl 
  • Help your child learn about time by using time words, such as “yesterday we went to the park; we will go to the store after lunch” 
  • Ask questions to help your child estimate or measure as they play. “How many blocks do you think it will take to make your road reach the wall?” or “Will it take more rocks to fill up the bucket or the basket?”

Tips for Teaching Your Child About Numbers

  • Be positive. Your attitude about math will help your child. 
  • Count out loud as you climb steps, button clothes, stack books, etc. Use counting books with your child. 
  • Sing songs or say rhymes that include numbers (e.g., one, two, buckle my shoe) 

Tips for Teaching Your Child About Shapes  

  • Provide solid objects that represent shapes for your child to play with. For example, note that cans are cylinders, balls are spheres, and some blocks are cubes.  
  • Help your child trace around solid objects to see how they look on paper 
  • Talk about the location of objects. Use words such as “on,” “under,” “near,” and “inside” to describe where you see shapes. 
Mathematics Slide

Math Activities: Counting Bean Bags

What your child will learn: Counting; comparisons 

Materials: Coffee cans or buckets; permanent marker, bean bags (you can make bean bags by putting dry beans in the toe of a large old sock and knotting it tightly); paper and/or tape 


  • Place a large piece of tape or paper on the can or bucket 
  • Make dots on the tape or paper and have the child count the dots 
  • Have them throw that many bean bags into the bucket 
  • Check them together to see that the number of objects in the bucket matches the number of dots on its outside 
  • Ask your child which container has more? Which has less? 

Math Activities: Shape Hunt 

What your child will learn: Recognizing geometric shapes and structures in the environment 

Materials: Four empty toilet paper rolls; tape  


  • Tape two toilet paper rolls together to make “binoculars.” Repeat so you and your child each have one pair. 
  • Using your binoculars, go on a shape hunt around the house looking for different shapes. For example, a clock is a circle. 
  • Count how many different shapes you can find. Discuss with your child how many circles or squares you found in the room or in the house. 

Math Activities: Sort the Noodles 

What your child will learn: Sorting; counting skills; classifying 

Materials: Paper plates; crayons or markers; bag of different-colored dry noodles or macaroni; yarn and strong (if using macaroni) 


  • Label the plates with colors by coloring the plate 
  • Ask your child to sort the noodles into the right plates; that is, all the green noodles go on the green plate, etc. 
  • You and your child can count how many green noodles, etc. 

Math Activities: Waiting Games 

What your child will learn: Gathering data about your surroundings; recognizing geometric shapes; recognizing patterns and order 

Materials: None 


  • If you have to wait in line in a public space, help your child notice their surroundings 
  • Count and discuss order (e.g., “we are third in line”) 
  • Look for shapes nearby 
  • Find simple patterns together (e.g., the colors of floor tiles) 

Math Activities: Watch Me Grow  

What your child will learn: Gathering data about themselves; representing data using pictures or graphs; describing qualitative change  

Materials: Pencil; paper (optional) 


  • Measure and chart your child’s growth by taping up a long piece of paper as a growth chart or just make pencil marks on the inside of a closet door 
  • Date each mark and compare the growth over time 
  • Discuss the child’s growth using -er words such as “taller” 

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Family Child Care
  • Home

Intended audience(s):
  • Parents / Family

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
Related Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards:
Reviewed: 2021