Recognizing numbers can be a bit of a challenge for Preschoolers and Kindergartners. We spend so much time drilling the alphabet into these little guys and don’t exert nearly the same amount of effort with numbers. Sure, we count out loud to our kids, but do we teach them what a 7 actually looks like?
Parents are on the right track with counting aloud to their children. This teaches numerical order, as well as one-to one correspondence; the ability to match numbers to objects or object to object. Try some of these fun and easy ideas though and your child will get those numbers down pat too. The best part is, they won’t even know they are working!
1. Have a Number Hunt with your child
With paper, make a card with each number on it 0-9. When my oldest was learning his numbers I let him put stickers on the cards to represent the numeral. For example: on the “6” card he put 6 fish stickers. Then hide the cards around the house and let your preschooler search for them. You could then line the cards up to show the correct sequence and count together, pointing to each card as you say the number. Once we played this game a few times, I hung the cards up around the house and would point to them randomly, asking my child what number it was.
2. Fish for Numbers
Cut out 10 fish shaped pieces of paper and label each with a numeral 0-9. Attach a paper clip to the end of each fish (by the mouth). Let your child help decorate the fish and then the real fun begins! Using a “fishing pole,” (a yard stick or ruler with a string tied to the end. Then tie a magnet to the other end of the string) let your child try to catch the fish. When they snag a fish, ask them what number they caught.
3. Use cupcake tins or ice cube trays and put a number inside each compartment. Pick a small item that will fit easily inside the compartments, food items work well for this game (think: Cheerios or other cereal, M&M’s or mini marshmallows) Name a number and have your child identify it. Then put that many items in the compartment. This is also a great way for children to learn about comparing numbers as it’s easy for them to see which compartments have more and less.
4. Bean bag toss game – Make a large game board using a piece of poster board, cardboard or an old shower curtain or sheet. Divide the board into 9 squares and then label each square with a number 0-9. Your child can toss a bean bag onto the board and then name the number they landed on. You could also use this board for dancing on. When the music stops, everybody finds a number square to stand on and then they have to name their number.