Teaching numbers to preschoolers is so easy and fun, if you know the BEST ways to teach your child! Learn some tips and tricks here.
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Teaching Numbers to Preschoolers
As kids are going through the preschool years leading up to Kindergarten, they are busy learning. These are the years that set the stage for the academic studies to come. Now is when kids are exploring the world and learning basic information that they will later develop into more complex concepts. Learning numbers is just such a skill. Think how integral the concept of numbers is to everyday life! Yet, kids aren’t born knowing how to count, identify numbers and use them in any meaningful way. We guide them and teach them toward that awareness. By being deliberate in our daily lives, we can provide enrichment activities that will help kids build a strong number sense.
It really is quite simple to build an awareness of numbers into our interactions with our kids on a daily basis. Just like learning letters or independence skills, it just takes setting up an environment that is conducive to learning and then providing some simple activities to reinforce the skill. Let’s look at some easy ways you can work on numeracy in your own home with your preschooler.
- Count everything– This is super simple but important. Are you giving them strawberries for a snack? Count each as you give it. Are you putting toys away into a bucket? Count each as you place them in the container.
- Puzzles– Use number puzzles to let kids be able to manipulate the numbers. Make sure to say the name of each one when they are finished.
- Paint– Draw numbers on a big piece of paper for your kids and let them trace each one with paint.
- Number BINGO– Test your child’s ability to identify numbers by playing BINGO.
- Read– There are so many books that teach about numbers and counting. One example is Ten Little Ladybugs.
- Sand– Place sand on a tray and let kids use their finger to trace the number that you say.
- Sensory box– Fill a box with rice or dry pasta. Hide numbers (can be on paper or magnets) in the rice and let kids search for them. They can place them in order when all are located.
- Stickers– On a very large piece of paper, draw out a grid and write a number 1-10 in each box. Give kids stickers and let them place the correct number in each box. This will probably require adult assistance.
- Neighborhood numbers– Take a walk and look for the house numbers. Try to find one of each number. You can also practice numbers by counting how many mailboxes, cars, swings, chimneys, etc. you see.
- Rhymes– There are lots of rhymes that teach numbers like 5 Little Monkeys, 5 Little Ducks, and Hickory Dickory Dock. Kids love rhymes and will be practicing their numbers while they sing!
- Build towers– Using blocks, tell your child a number and have them stack their blocks that number high. When they have the correct number they can knock down their tower and start again.
- Fly swatter numbers– Lay some numbers on the floor (can be on little slips of paper). Give your student a clean fly swatter and let them swat the number you call out. Also can be done on a whiteboard.
- Sponge numbers– Letting kids play with sponge numbers, extending learning time to the bath!
- Muffin tin counting– Using a muffin tin, tape a number on the bottom of each cup. Then give pompoms to the child and let them place the correct number in each spot. You can use tweezers to pick up pom-poms, which will give extra work on fine motor skills!
- Egg match– Take plastic Easter eggs apart. On the tops write numbers 1-10. Repeat on the bottoms. Then have kids match the numbers to form whole eggs.
- Number hunt– Write numbers 1-10 on post-it notes and place them around the house. Have kids search for them and when all are found, place them in order.
- Spray the number– With sidewalk chalk, write out numbers on the driveway. Give the child a hose with a sprayer and have them “trace” the numbers.
This list is just a start! There are so many ways to incorporate numeracy practice into everyday life. Kids will learn best when we use the things around us in meaningful ways. Get them involved in the kitchen, in clean-up, in artwork, and in physical activity. Each of these areas offers an opportunity to practice numbers. What are a few ways you can get your kids counting today? Happy teaching!
- Let’s Learn Our Numbers– This video is great for introducing numbers 1-10. Kids will learn the numbers and how to write them.
- How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten– This fun, rhyming books help kids become familiar with numbers 1-10. Kids will love the dinosaurs.
- Olivia Counts– This is a good book for learning numbers and counting for beginners. Olivia is a cute little piglet.
- Numbers BINGO– This classic game is a great way to practice numbers!
- Numbers Match– Kids will enjoy this matching, memory, counting game. This is a good one to have around because it provides lots of opportunities to practice numbers!
- Puzzle– Check out this cute self-correcting numbers puzzle from Melissa and Doug.