Parenting Resource

Let’s Talk About Math: Math Language to Share with Young Children

Mar 28, 2019

Research shows that the more math language children hear, the more they understand early math concepts. What can you do with babies and toddlers? Start talking about math!

The words below represent simple concepts across the six domains of early math. While of course young children won’t understand these right away, when they hear you use these words over time, toddlers begin to develop an early understanding of what they mean.

Number Concepts

More
Less
None
All gone
Fewer
Not as much/many
Much more
Plenty
Many
A lot
A little

Counting

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – etc.

Calculations

More
Less/Fewer
One more (Or: two more, etc.)
One less (Or, two less or two fewer, etc.)
Add
Put together
Subtract
Take away

Spatial Awareness

Shapes:

Circle
Oval
Square
Triangle
Rectangle
Diamond/Rhombus

Spatial Descriptions:

In
On
Next to
Beside
Across from
On top of
Below
Under
Inside
Outside
Behind
In front of

Patterns

Describe patterns that you see and use the word “pattern”: Your shirt has a pattern—blue stripe, red stripe, blue stripe, red stripe.

First, Next, Last

Before, After

Can you do it like me? (For example, when you are clapping your hands in a simple beat.)

Measurement

Here are some words that introduce children to the notion of relative sizes, distances, temperatures, etc. Non-standard measurement (such as measuring length with a wooden block) and standard measurement (such as measuring length with a ruler) skills will come later at ages four years and up.

Size/Height:

Big
Medium
Small
Tall
Long
Short
Small
Tiny
Huge
Enormous

Distance:

Far away
Close by
Long
Short

Time:

Now
Later
Today
Tomorrow
Yesterday

Temperature:

Hot
Warm
Cold
Freezing

Grades of Measurement – adding “-er”:

Bigger/Smaller
Taller/Shorter

  • Author

    Rebecca Parlakian

    Senior Director of Programs

    2028572976

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