Choo Choo Train

Your One-Year-Old is Learning Math and Science

You may find it hard to believe but it’s true. Your one-year-old is already learning math and science. We highly encourage you to share this article with your spouse, family chat group, and friends. Let everybody knows what your little one is up to!

Mathematical & scientific thinking in one-year-olds

Exploring properties

What children are doing: One-year-olds use their senses to explore the properties of objects around them like colours, shapes, textures, etc. When they gain more eye-hand coordination and mobility, they begin exploring spaces and shapes.

This is why Choo Choo Train provides:

  • Different sized containers with toys
  • Opportunities to fill and dump water in containers
  • Simple shape puzzles with knobs
  • Different objects that share the same colour

How we teach through play: We use descriptive words to talk to children about their actions and materials.

“You’re putting the balls in the container. Now you dumped them out!”

“The water feels cold.”

“The fur is soft.”

Noticing differences

What children are doing: One-year-olds notice differences in how things look, sound, taste, feel and smell. When they get the opportunities and the vocabulary to compare differences and develop their observation skills, they learn the components of scientific inquiry and mathematical problem-solving.

This is why Choo Choo Train provides:

  • Sealed containers filled with objects with different colours, sounds, and movement
  • A variety of textures glued to a box
  • Collections of natural materials
  • Musical or rhythm instruments with a range of tones

How we teach through play: We lay objects of different properties side by side on a table and use comparison words while talking with children.

“Hold this ball. It’s big. Now hold the other one. It’s small.”

“This paper is red. The other one is yellow.”

“This sock is short. This one is long.”

Recognizing amounts

What children are doing:  Even though one-year-olds are too young to count, they are aware of differences in amounts. This is called number sense.

This is why Choo Choo Train provides:

  • The concept of number/amount in everyday experiences.

How we teach through play: We use words that refer to amounts throughout the day.

“Do you want more bread?”

“She doesn’t have any blocks. Let’s give her some.”

“You finished your milk, there’s no more left.”

Making changes

What children are doing: One-year-olds are all about doing and then seeing what happens. They are very interested in actions and reactions, cause and effect, and they want to provide the action.

This is why Choo Choo Train provides:

  • Toys children can act on, and respond to when they perform a simple action.
  • Tools for water and sand play.
  • Finger painting or painting with various objects that create different effects.

How we teach through play: We acknowledge and comment on the curiosity behind children’s cause-and-effect actions.

“What happened? Did the blocks fall down when you knocked them?”

“You wanted to see if the dough makes a sound when you throw it on the floor?”

We also model an action that will create a different effect or outcome and encourage children to repeat it such as arranging blocks in different ways to create a larger base area.