Teaching Numbers

Updated on October 03, 2009
L.D. asks from Plattsburgh, NY
11 answers

Velauriea knows her letters pretty well and can even write parts of her name. She recognizes most of the letters and knows the alphabet. She can count to almost 20 but has trouble writing/recognizing numbers even when I write them. What are some simple activties/games we can do to work on numbers? I thought of making a workbook with tracing pages? She does not yet go to pre-school, I am working with her on things like cutting with scissors.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the advice: I am sure going to try the chocolate puddding/shaving cream ideas. And just keep letting her draw and paint and use her motor skills naturally. She is getting so that she can actually cut with scissors. They also have these Mother Goose "Big Ideas" kits from the library that use books to teach numbers, sorting, and building, and come with an activity. The one we have now has plastic animals that you can count thier feet and put them in groups, and the building one has wooden blocks to manipulate.

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answers from Boston on

Why is this important to you? All and I mean all the studies show that kids are ready to learn to read and write at 6 or 7. You can teach her earlier but why not let her just do a good job being three years old. Socialization is a wonderful thing. She may read earlier but by 3rd or 4th grade the other kids will be on the same level. Why waste wonderful playing time with what amounts to rote school work?

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answers from New London on

Hi L.,
I'm the mother of two teens, a boy, 16 & a girl, 13. When they were your daughter's age, I worked with them both on their letters & numbers. I think you are on the right path. Try to keep the learning fun! When you go to the store or out & about, look for signs with numbers and ask Velauriea if she can "find number 2" ! If she likes tactile learning ( most preschoolers/toddlers do), make large numbers that need to be "filled in" and be creative; sand, play-dough, yarn, macaroni noodles, dried beans- you get the picture. Have fun doing a craft and then save the filled in numbers to keep on using to teach & reteach the number. Start out slow: 1-9 is good and once she is proficient with the single digits, introduce zero and double digits. Maybe work on one "family" at a time ( the "tens" or "teens" family,etc.)A good card game is "UNO"- just take out the "special" cards until she understands enough to begin playing the game in the regular manner. Play "memory-find" with the numbers- cards turned over in rows and she has to match two of the same numbers. You can also teach her "GO FISH" with the cards. You can buy a number-teaching pack of cards that you can use as well. Mix up the cards out of order, have a "number line" that shows the correct order- have your daughter line up the cards underneath your line, matching them so they are the same.
Some stores that specialize in teaching supplies may offer simple jig-saw puzzles that have each number paired with a picture of objects that correspond to that number ( Number 3 on one jig-saw piece and three red apples on the other jig-saw that fits only that piece).I even used to make pancakes in the shape of different numbers to teach my kids!
Be creative! Let her learn at her own pace, but if you do a little lesson( she doesn't have to know it's a lesson) every day or several times a week, she'll get it!
Have fun and enjoy your precious daughter!
God Bless!
H. Y.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsfield on

My son learned his by reading number books and playing with a ruler.

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answers from Burlington on

Hi L.,

A fiend of mine would have her daughter trace numbers and letters with her fingers.

: ) Maureen



answers from Boston on

Hi L.,

A lot of that comes with the different stages of brain development. Just like new foods, present the numbers from time to time, and when her brain is at the receptive point, she'll learn it. Same thing with language and reading, it all comes in time, at one's individual pace. Don't sweat over it, just enjoy her great imagination right now, that's where her brain is developing now!



answers from Hartford on

Do you have a computer? Both my girls (3 and 2) use the computer and the mouse. It will take a bit of practice to get used to the mouse... but even at 2 they can do it.
The site is called starfall.com It beats any game that i have seen to buy. Both my kids -- even the 2 year old! know all their letter and letter sounds. They know all their numbers and can count to 20.

Another site is a fisher price site. I'm not quite sure what the actual address is but if you type fisher price or toddler games into the search window you can find it. This one goes through letters and numbers when the child hits they keyboard. Both of my kids could do this one at about 18 months.

The computer can keep the kids busy for almost an hour -- and it beats TV any day!



answers from Boston on

Numbers are pretty abstract for a lot of people especially young children. There's a difference between recognizing a number and really knowing what 3 means. Try showing her 3 of the same object (3 apples) and showing her the written number 3 so she gets used to connecting the written image with what it means. Play a matching game with her using real objects - match the number of object with the written number. Give her the written number and tell her pick out 3 goldfish crackers, then show her a 5 and have her pick out 5 goldfish crackers. I LOVE that you use scissors with her! So many parents are afraid of scissors but they are a necessary skill for kindergarten and really help develop the fine motor muscles you need for writing.



answers from New London on

When I worked with kindergartners, We would put shaving cream in a ziplock bag. The kid could then trace the numbers without the mess. And if you are really frisky you can dye it with food coloring.




answers from Boston on

Have you tried flash cards? You can get them at Staples.



answers from Springfield on

Hi L.!
As a preschool teacher and daycare provider I commend you for taking the time to work with your daughter on Pre-K skills. Just be sure that it dosen't become work or a chore for her.Almost any teacher will tell you that working on socialization and communications skills as well as learning through exploration is the priority at this pre-K age. Making positive early learning experiences will truly pay off in the long run!

The key with her age group is to make it fun and memorable. If your daughter is having difficulty still with fine motor control skills necessry for writing there are lots of great things to do- practicing scissors is great, squishing, mashing and pounding playdough, using tweezers to pick up cotton balls, etc.

As far as the actual number writing and recognition, try using cooked spaghetti for her to form the numbers/letters or glue the out of the shape on construction paper and have her lay yarn over it, draw in sand and have her copy yours with a small stick. If you're feeling adventurous- smear some pudding, whip cream, or shaving cream (careful not to eat) to do formations with her finger. Go on a letter hunt in old newspapers/magazines and circle all the ____ she sees (ads are usually big and bold). I often laminate a large strip of paper with child's name printed and then let them use dry erase markers to practice writing- easy to wipe off and try again.I could go on and on, but I hope this gives you a good start,for more suggestions feel free to contact me!

On a side note- Preschool Prep Co.(Google it) puts out a great line of videos for letter/number/color/shapes/sight word recognition. The videos are simple yet very entertaining.

Best of Luck!



answers from Hartford on

As an elementary math support teacher (helps kids who struggle in grades K-4), I love that you are asking this question! I couldn't agree more with all of the posts, especially the one about keeping it fun and natural and not forced.

Number formation - lots of ideas already (touch, playdough, trace, color)

Number recognition - make cards where you draw the number on it. Have the set around the house and as you play together, count things sometimes and show her the card that matches the items. When you count items, touch each one and move it aside. Better at first if all items are the same.

Quantity recognition - get a set of double six plain dominoes ($5 at Walmart) and play dominoes. You put one down and match the dots to make a long train of dominoes

Estimate - Ask her "about how many matchbox cars are lined up" then actually count...

Read books. There are loads of counting books. You could do a search for preschool math books at the library. A few of my favorites: One Gorilla, Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars, Telling Time with the Very Busy Spider, etc.

Play board games. Have her count as she moves her pawn. There are math board games, too. Go Diego Go 1,2,3 (animals and numbers 1-10) and LeapFrog's My Card Games (comes with Math Rummy)

Play internet games:
http://www.sproutonline.com/ PBS Sprout – click on Games; Under Type of Games, select Numbers and Counting; select games like Spud’s Counting Game and Connect the Dots

http://funschool.kaboose.com/preschool Many great math games including Connect the Number, Counting on a Cloud, Fishin’ Mission, Monster Numbers, Motor Match, Number Matching, Paintbrush Math, Shape Racer, Stacker, Teach Me 1, 2, 3s

http://www.knowledgeadventure.com Many fun math games…Go to tab “Math” and select “Preschool Games” or “Kindergarten” Games

http://www.mathplayground.com -click Math Games and try “Balance Scales”

http://www.funbrain.com - too hard for preschoolers, but great when in school

Love it! Keep playing and trying things.

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