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Shape Sorting: Early Math for Toddlers

As I have said many times, we are not rushing into academics with Nora. While I have mentioned several times that this includes teaching Nora early reading concepts, like the alphabet, it also extends to other academic areas -- like math. We do not teach Nora to recognize or regurgitate numbers. We have not introduced counting work and have no plans to do so anytime soon. 

But, this does not mean that we haven't explored any mathematical concepts. Much like language, however, we just do this in a slow, natural way. We count all the time. Except we don't count for the sake of counting, we count naturally as the opportunity arises. So, if I'm making dinner and we need 2 carrots, we count them. Or if we are picking up toys, we count them. It's not forced, its not based on the abstract.

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One math concept that Nora has had a lot of interest in lately has been shapes. Identifying shapes, sorting by shape, and matching shapes have all been big here. The concept of "shape" is nothing new to Nora. We started identifying them when we was only a couple months old when we introduced one of her first puzzles. But, over time as she has shown more interest, we have added to the complexity of the sorting. 


As with all concepts in Montessori, we have taken this one step at a time by first introducing imbucare boxes. These boxes {we used a DIY version, seen here} isolate the shape so that children learn the hand motions necessary to place the peg. Once this is mastered, multiple shapes are introduced and true sorting can begin! 


1. Goki Shape Sorter {Nora using and my personal favorite}; 2. Plan Toys Shape Sorter; 3. Individual Plan Toys Sorter; 4. Hape Shape Puzzle; 5. Shape and Sort

There are many lovely Montessori friendly materials that can be used for shape sorting. I haven't found it necessary to own tons of shape work, but the work we have has been very popular. Picking a couple high-quality sorters can be perfect.  



6. Natural Shape Sorter Puzzle; 7. Early Shape Puzzle; 8. Shape Puzzle Board; 9. 4 Shape Imbucare; 10. Jumbo Shape Puzzle

My absolute favorite material is the Goki shape sorter. Each side only has one shape so it is simple yet incorporates several shapes. It's also very nicely made. My favorite part is that the top doesn't slide all the way off, so Nora can focus on the shapes and not putting it back together. 

Do your children like shape sorting? What types of early math activities have you introduced with your toddler? 

12 Months of Montessori

This post is brought to you as part of the 12 Months of Montessori series. This month's theme is math. For more Montessori and Montessori inspired math posts, don't miss these great blogs! 

Montessori Math for Preschool | Mama’s Happy Hive
Using Command Cards for Math | Grace and Green Pastures
25 of The Best Montessori Math Printables | Christian Montessori Network

Comments

Unknown said…
This is adorable. I always loved working with shape sorters and shape puzzles.
Allison said…
Baking is one of the easiest natural ways to introduce mathematical concepts and has always been popular with my kids because they get to eat the results.
I love the simplicity of the puzzle and happy to see some of our puzzles in your "must have" list! Thanks for sharing!
Grace A. King said…
That's an awesome idea! I like the way montessori school teaches toddlers! Did you know that there is a lot of other open-minded schools that work same creatively with learning matherial to taught youngsters? Read more and find the best teaching method for your kids! Read more

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