Teaching preschool children recognition of numbers and counting is important as it lays the foundations of mathematics. It develops the concepts of numbers such as counting, number values, quantity, and comparison. Through this post lets discuss some fun ways to involve children in recognizing numbers and teaching them number values.
Let us begin every number class by doing a quick recap by showing the numbers to the children. This can be done either through flashcards or by pegging the number cards on a ribbon and asking children to choose the number given. Numbers can be written on the floor and children are asked to stand on a number told to them. Any of the above ways can be used to recap number recognition, or the teacher can use a method that she believes is best suited for her class.
Keep a large tub of water in the center of the class. Make the children sit around the tub. Put some magnetic fish in the water with numbers written on them in waterproof ink. The fish should have different numbers written on them. Give fishing rods to the children. Give a different number token to each child and ask them to remove only the fish with that number.
The fishing activity is good for hand-eye coordination and concentration. Children need to match the number token they are given to the number on the fish. This enhances their concept of number recognition.
Give a pot with soft mud to each child. Give the children cut-outs of paper flowers stuck on sticks. Give a set of number cards to each child in the classroom. Tell the children that they need to pull a number card from the set of cards and plant the exact number of flowers in the pot. Children pull out a number and poke the sticks into the pot. The teacher checks each child’s pot to see if the right number of flowers have been planted. This activity can be repeated 3-4 times with the children.
How Many Candles?
Children like to eat sweets and cakes. An activity associated with cakes is bound to excite them. The teacher can have a big cake made from chart paper put up in class. Small pieces of velcro are put on the top edge of the cake. Cutouts of candles with a piece of velcro on one side are kept ready. Give a number card to each child. The child has to come to the front of the class, hold the number card up and say the number on the card out loud. The child then sticks the same number of candles on the cake as the number on the number card.
Sticking and removing the candles requires hand-eye coordination. It enhances the tripod grip of the children. It improves children’s counting skills.
Lets Pick Oranges
In this activity, the teacher puts up a tree made from hard card paper cut-outs in class. The teacher can take help from the children to prepare the tree by using different art/craft techniques. The teacher gives plain white paper cut-outs of oranges for children to color.
On the day the teacher wants to do the number activity, the teacher puts up all the oranges on the tree using velcro. Children are shown a number card and are asked to pick the oranges from the tree as per the number on the card.
This activity is good for children’s small motor skills. It enhances their wrist muscles and helps in hand-eye coordination.
This is a very common game played by children. This game has blocks with numbers. Children aim a coin into a block and hop in the correct number sequence to pick up the coin. To make preschool children play the game, teachers can ask children to try and aim and throw the coin in the number block told to them. Children are then asked to hop or walk in the correct number sequence to pick up the coin. For example, if the teacher asks the children to aim the coin to block number 6. Children go hopping in a sequence from 0-5 to reach number 6 and pick up the coin.
This activity is good for children’s large motor skills. It improves their balance. It also teaches them counting numbers in the correct sequence.
More or Less
This activity is to teach children about quantity. It also teaches them about comparisons. This activity is a great way to teach children to share and give. This activity can be taught through a puppet show/story about 3 friends. All 3 friends had a box each. When they opened their box the first friend was happy seeing so many chocolates. She counted her chocolates. (the teacher can make the children count with her. Count 4 chocolates). The second friend opened his box and found chocolates too. (the class counts again. Count 2 chocolates). The third friend opened the box and found that it was empty.
The teacher can show the boxes to the children and ask them who they think has more chocolates. Which child would be sad and why? Which child should share and why? The teacher can ask the children to try and distribute the chocolates equally among all 3 friends.
This activity is great for the cognitive development of children. It enhances their critical thinking and requires reasoning skills. It teaches them the concept of more and less. Greater than, less than, and also how to distribute things to make them equal.
Math skills are very important at every stage in the life of a human being. Be it as toddlers when they are just trying to fit things in their appropriate places, or matching two similar objects. It is important that preschoolers learn to recognize numbers, number values, number sequencing and number concepts that are age-appropriate or as per the school curriculum. As children grow older the concepts of math become more complex. Math helps in problem-solving skills, enhances reasoning skills and increases critical thinking about the world around us.