Teaching Your Children About Numbers

Learning about numbers lays a foundation for good math skills.  Numbers are to math like letters are to literacy.  In order for children to be good at a skill, they need to understand the components that make up the problem.   More specifically, children must know how to count and identify numbers before they can add, subtract or multiple.

This week, we share some tips to teach your children numbers at home.

  • Five little frogs.  Say this nursery rhyme while holding out your hand.  Each time a frog goes away, put down one finger.  “Five little speckled frogs sat on a speckled log, eating the most delicious flies (yum, yum).  One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool.  Now there are only four speckled frogs.”  Continue singing the song and counting down until you get to the end of the song with no frogs.
  • Meal count. During breakfast or dinner, take an opportunity to count.  Identify how many plates are at the dinner table, how many glasses and how many utensils.  Discuss how many things you put on your plate or eat.
  • Trace numbers.  Start by drawing numbers on a sheet of paper with a marker.  Use your finger to trace the number shapes.  Next, try tracing the number with a crayon or pencil.
  • Hopping game.  Choose a number and hop in place that many times.   For instance, if you choose 7, hop 7 times.   You could also make this into a race and hop across the room.
  • Zero.  Learning about nothing tends to be difficult for children.  To teach this concept, we encourage you to give your child three items.  Ask him how many he has if you take away 1.  Then, take away another object and see how many items he has left.  Continue this until you get to zero.
  • Number claps.  Start with 10 sheets of paper and write down the numbers 1-10 on the sheets of paper.  Have one person hold up a number from the deck while the others clap that many times.
  • Face count.  Take turns looking at each other’s faces.  Ask your child how many eyes you have; then count his eyes.  Repeat the process for ears, teeth, tongue, nose, eyebrows, etc.
  • Polka dot counts.  For this activity, you will need bingo daubers, paper and markers.  Start by writing and drawing a number on a sheet of paper.  For instance, you can write 3 and three.  Have your child accurately daub the correct number of dots on each sheet of paper.
  • Toe count.  Count how many toes your daughter has.   Then, count how many toes her dad has.  If she has a sibling, count everyone’s toes.   See if everyone has the same amount.
  • Money and numbers.  Show your child real bills and how they have numbers on the bills.  Explain how a $10 bill is worth more than a $1 bill.  Practice putting the bill numbers in order from smallest to largest.

Counting together gives everyone an opportunity to practice numbers and learn the basic building blocks for math and science skills later in life.  By teaching your child about numbers today, you are instilling skills for life.

© Let’s Talk Kids, 2014