Path Games, Board Games

  • cardboard or poster board sheet
  • cards
  • chalk
  • index cards
  • markers
  • masking tape
  • toy animals (for play pieces)

Path Games, Board Games

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

Young children need to build “number sense” to become good at math skills. Researchers have found that playing board games can help young children build number sense.

Try these simple activities with one or two older toddlers at a time.

  • Make a path of connecting squares on the floor with masking tape or on the ground with chalk. Make a pile of index cards with a large numeral (1, 2, or 3) on each one.
    • Have a toddler pick a card and walk, hop, or jump that many squares. Continue until she is at the end of the path.
    • Repeat with other toddlers.
  • Make two paths side by side, so two toddlers can play at once and compare where they are along the path.
  • When toddlers understand how the path game works, you can move onto a simple board game. Use a sheet of poster board or cardboard and make a simple board using a theme from a favorite book, such as “A Path to the Three Bears’ House” game.
    • Use the numeral index cards. (Depending on toddlers’ number recognition skills, you may want to add higher numerals to the pile.)
    • Let toddlers play the game using small objects (toy bears or other small toys) as the pieces to move around the board.

Keep the games simple. Play with only two children at a time, and make sure everybody gets to reach the end point.

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