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Toddler Math: Fun With Beads

Toddler Math: Using Beads to Sort, Count, and Make Patterns

math bead activity DESCRIPTION

A simple activity to reinforce the understanding of counting, recognizing numbers and number representation. Helps to develop Patterning Skills. Great Math activity for girls and boys alike. I used this as a classroom activity near Mother's Day.


  • Large wooden beads.
  • Beading String
  • Muffin Tin

  • STEPS sorting beads in muffin tin

    1. Sort beads by color.
    2. Choose a few colors and count by laying out in a row.
    3. Discuss size, color, patterns.
    4. Lay out in a pattern. Start with simple patterns like ABABAB then ABCABC. Then if your child is able to predict the next color correctly you might try to form a more complex pattern.

    5. String onto bead string and tie into bracelet or necklace in a pattern or beads of choice.


  • For more Math Concept activities see below.

  • The girls started early with stringing activities like large lacing cards and a large wooden shapes you could string on thick string. I need to look up the name of that toy. The pieces were about 1 1/2 x 1 inches long.

    Numbers and Number Sense

  • Counting: Practicing counting how many of one color.
  • Represent (How many is two,three, etc?) Ask your child to give you two beads.
  • Quantity (More, Less, Equal): Make two piles and ask which one has more or less.
  • Patterns, Sorting and Classifying (Algebra and Functions)

  • Sorting Objects by Attribute (color, size or shape): Sorting by color in muffin tins
  • Comparing Objects (color, size, shape): Compare two and discuss which is bigger, smaller, darker in color
  • Simple Patterns: Laying beads out in a row in simple patterns and identifying the next bead.
  • patterns with beads


    Make Bracelets and Necklaces as the Culminating Activity

    pattern bead bracelet
    After the mini-math lesson I let the girls make a few bracelets. I let them string it with their choice of beads. They of their own choice made one with a pattern and one without.

    These are the two patterned ones. One is a pattern with 5 different beads repeated.


  • The reason counting activities are very important is because it helps to develop the three aspects of numbers.
    1. Counting in a sequence out loud: 1,2,3, etc.
    2. Understanding how much is 3 and being able to show or give three items.
    3. Recognizing and writing numbers.
  • Stringing beads is not only a great toddler math activity but it helps to develop fine motor skills as well.

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