Birth - Age 3 Math

What Do I Need To Know About My Child’s Development?

Mathematical learning in the early years relies on children's opportunities to describe and explore the relationship of objects and materials. Children's knowledge and understanding of mathematics is built through active manipulation where children use their senses to build concept knowledge in the areas of numbers and operations, patterns, algebra, geometry, measurement, and comparison.

Caregivers can facilitate mathematical learning when they encourage children to problem solve, reason, communicate, connect and represent. When engaged in manipulative mathematical activities, children better understand the world around them, begin able to use number concepts to communicate their own thoughts and ideas which means they are beginning to think and reason.


Children at this age...

  • The ability to respond and engage in reciprocal interactions.
  • An increasing ability to play an active part in the day to day activities of the program.
  • Begin to develop strategies for exploring and satisfying their curiosity
  • Increasing control over their bodies, including increasing abilities in the use of large and small muscles, balance and coordination of eye-hand movements, and increasing agility, coordination, and balance.
  • A baby can start to judge the distance towards another object and will adjust their reach to grab it
  • Motor development like lifting head, rolling over, sitting-up, crawling, and walking begin to develop
  • Will try strategies repetitively to understand them and to help build memory


Children at this age...

  • Begin to imitate rote counting (counting aloud from memory) using some sort of names for numbers
  • Participate in activities that have cause and effect
  • Display strategies for actively exploring and making sense of the world by using their bodies, including active exploration with all the senses and the use of tools, materials, and equipment to extend skills
  • Show skills and confidence with tools that create art (e.g. crayons, paint, blocks, musical instruments, and body movements)
  • Shows awareness that music, art, drama, and dance can be expressions of feeling, mood, situation, and culture


Department of Education
PBS Parents