Tip Of The Month

From: Imogen Platt – Early Years Room

Tip:  Learning numbers

With our theme in June covering numbers, we thought it would be a nice idea to give parents some extra tips, tricks and activities to do with their children at home to help them understand more about numbers.

Numbers can provide a lot of entertainment for small children. They first become aware of the sounds of numbers, then they begin to understand what they mean. Finally, they need to recognise them when they are written down.

There are five main skills that children need to develop before they can count:

·      Recognition of the sounds of the numbers.

·      The understanding of one-to-one correspondence.

·      The understanding of “How many are there?”

·      The number of objects is the same however they are arranged.

·      Recognition of numbers as symbols.

To help your child learn these basic skills, the team here at First Step’s have an array of methods – and not boring ones either. We very rarely sit down and write numbers on paper or fill in pre-planned workbooks. We get outside in the fresh air and build towers of boxes, or we count ducks in our water trays – or we have even touched, felt and counted icicles back in the winter months.

If you would like to do some activities at home to help grow your child’s understanding of numbers, we have suggested a few below that we think sound fun for all involved.

Sensory numbers

Why not get all crafty with your children and create numbers that are sensory? From using sand to felt and even stickers – draw out numbers for your child to glue, stick and decorate to their hearts content. It’s a great way to make numbers more memorable and make use of your art box!

Going on a journey?

If you’ve got a car trip or even plane journey planned, why not use numbers to keep your child entertained. From counting cars, vans and tractors to counting the number of other children on the plane or the number of flight attendants. Not only does it help pass the time, it encourages your child to also share what they see and learn new things.

Use food for fun

Why not make mealtimes more fun by cutting up some fruit to help them learn numbers? Cutting up chunks of banana, slices of melon or segments of orange, using fruit can be a fun way to count, it will also encourage them to eat every bite of that all-important five-a-day.

Making towers

Try and get your child to make their own family record. Using Lego, Megablocks or anything else you have around the house – make towers and count as you go. The tallest tower wins!

Nursery rhymes

Singing nursery rhymes with your children is a great way to use numbers too. “12345 once I caught a fish alive” or “3 blind mice” are just two examples of the many nursery rhymes that include counting. After singing the rhymes, chat away with your child about how many ‘mice’ or ‘ducks’ there were. Asking questions always engages a child further in any activity they’re doing.

If you would like any more information on the way First Steps encourages the learning of numbers, please do ask any team member or your child’s key worker.