According to Scholastic, your child will be able to understand mental representations, recognize that something is missing when it is taken away, match simple shapes and understand concepts like over and under in the first two years of life alone. While your older infant is still a few months away from grasping a lot of these ideas, you can still engage her in simple activities that will help her learn basic concepts to establish a foundation for math skills later in childhood.
Object permanence, the understanding that items still exist even when they cannot be seen, is a developmental concept that paves the way for developing number skills, according to early childhood development professionals writing for Scholastic. Babies gain a sense of object permanence at around 5 to 6 months of age. You can encourage this development by playing simple games with your baby, like peek-a-boo, or by hiding toys under containers and giving him a chance to discover that the hidden toy exists.
Simply playing with water and empty containers can help your baby begin to understand the mathematical concepts of weight and mass, in addition to the difference between empty and full. PBS Parents recommends that you place your baby in the bathtub with clean bowls and cups and allow her to play freely, with supervision. You can join in the play with her and take the time to explain when your cup or bowl is full and empty.
According to Scholastic Teachers, an infant as young as 3 months old can anticipate regular events in his routine. Predictable daily routines can help him understand patterns and develop thinking skills that lead to mathematical thinking. You can encourage this development by establishing predictable routines in his day-to-day life as often as possible, such as always reading a story or giving him a bath before bedtime or a nap.
Counting your infant’s toes and clapping her hands together gives her an awareness of her body, which lays the groundwork for spatial relationships in math, according to Scholastic Teachers. You can also encourage the development of her future math skills by singing nursery rhymes that contain counting, or by giving her a shape sorter toy to play with when she is able to sit up and grab objects.