Boost your little ones maths, science and literacy skills with these fun, inexpensive brain games for toddlers that you can create with objects from around your home!
Make your own colour matching toys
Sorting and matching is such an important early math skill that helps in classification of objects. We always start with learning to sort by colour, and then move onto other sorting, such as sorting by beginning sounds, sorting by quantity and sorting by pattern.
Kitchen tube with pegs
This activity is perfect for little hands to develop their pincer grasp, improve concentration, hand-eye coordination, as well as begin to be able to sort by colour!
All you need is kitchen roll, coloured pegs (or coloured match sticks) – readily available in all craft shops and coloured pens.
- Use a tooth pick to create small holes in your kitchen roll tube
- Colour around each hole using different colours
- You’re all set and ready to play!
Alternatively you could use a box with craft sticks:
You will need:
- A box
- Crafts sticks in various colours
- Colouring pens
Create a grid of squares on the top of your box and colour each of them different colours that are also found on your crafts sticks. Use a Stanley knife to cut small slits big enough to insert a stick.
Ask your child to match the colours of the sticks to the ones in the box by sticking them in the holes!
A perfect science activity to talk about changes in tempreture.
To make this melting ice science and sensory play for your little ones, follow these easy steps:
- Place animals into a small container
- Cover with coloured water and place in freezer
- Once frozen, remove ice block and place into larger container
- Add some warm water and a baster
- Help the animals to escape by using the baster to pour warm water over the trapped animals!
Construction truck phonics
Create a construction themed small world play scene with trucks soil, sticks pebbles and cardboard tubes and boxes. On each of the pebbles write letters.
Play games such as I-spy and encourage your little ones to find the letters or search for letter in their name.
As well as engaging them in imaginative play, your little ones will be recognising, naming and matching phonemes and graphemes.
Threading beads is a great way to have fun with maths, it provides the opportunity to talk about sequencing and explore patterns. Draw patterns that your child can copy or start a pattern and encourage your child to continue it.
It also offers lots of fine motor skills, building opportunities too!
Top tip: If you don’t have beads to thread, use pasta and paint the tubes different colours.
Counting with loose parts
Loose parts can be used to encourage number recognition, counting and one-one correspondence. We love this activity which provides a visual number and together with tweezers and pom poms explore each number value.
You can send your little mathematician on a scavenger hunt to collect objects for each number value!
Mark making in flour
Mark making is an important pre-writing skill.
For young toddlers who are not yet ready for formal writing, encourage them to mark make with their fingers with this simple activity using just a tray and some flour!
A puzzle teaches young children about the concept of a ‘whole’ and that each piece is a fraction of the bigger picture. It also helps develop basic skills such as shape recognition, concentration, goal setting, patience and a sense of achievement, which will stand children in good preparation for school.
Mini beast hunt
Science is learning about nature and the world around us. With a magnifying glass and some paper go for search for mini beasts, in your garden or local park. Record your finding and research the names of the insects when you get home.
Let us know how you got on with these brain games for toddlers in the comments below!