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When to Teach Numbers to a Child?

When do children first become able to notice numbers? And, how important is it to notice and talk about them? Let's first explore when children are sensitive to quantity. Picture a 6-month-old child looking at three drawings. They show two dots, one dot, and three dots. The infant hears three drumbeats, and her eyes move to the picture with three dots. Infants are sensitive to quantity! Does that mean they "know" numbers? Probably only at an intuitive level. This little girl doesn't know that the dots represent three in the way older children and adults do and doesn't know that three is more than two. But the beginnings of understanding numbers are there.

It is a great idea to start introducing numbers to your child after she turns one. You can start with number rhymes, like ‘One, Two, Buckle My Shoe’, ‘Ten Green Bottles,’ or 1,2,3,4,5, Once I caught a fish alive’. You can also point out simple objects or things they encounter in their daily lives, such as one apple, two dogs, three chocolates, and so on. You can make learning numbers playful and enjoyable for your child.

Best Ways of teaching numbers

Teach Counting with Number Rhymes

Using rhymes and songs is a fun way of learning numbers for kindergartners. You can use number songs and rhymes like ‘10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed’, ‘This Old Man – He Played One’, ‘The Ants Are Marching One by One Hurrah,’ etc. to teach kids about numbers in an immensely enjoyable manner. Show the numbers on your fingers as you sing together with your child so that the child knows that a particular number relates to that many fingers.

Play With Number Toys

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It’s a proven fact; kids learn best when they play! Hands-on learning is by far the best way for kids to learn their numbers because they can manipulate an object themselves. Playing with toys allows them to see, touch, and help them understand what each number means. You can use these toys:

Montessori Wood Block Puzzle Set: This toy has numbers and rings to count for each number so that it can be used for several years!

Melissa and Doug Number Puzzle: Under each number, there are objects to count.

Bath letters and numbers: Bath time is a fabulous opportunity to review numbers! Toddlers love sticking the numbers on the bath walls. When children get older, you can spell sight words with these letters too!

Count Fingers and Toes

Counting fingers and toes is a great way to introduce pre-schoolers to numbers. You could make them count the fingers on each hand and ask them to compare the number of fingers on each hand. You can also ask them how many big toes they have or how many little fingers they have.

Counting Everyday

Use numbers in daily tasks that your child does with you. For example, ask your child to help set the table and place one fork or two spoons with each plate. You could also get her to count peas or apples, thus connecting numbers with quantities. Another idea is that you can encourage her to count her toys as they help you put them away after playing.

Read Number Books

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There are so many fantastic books to help teach toddlers numbers. I have listed a few books below that we own that look specifically at numbers 1-10. Each of these books engages children differently. Even if your toddler doesn’t like to sit and read stories, these books will entertain them because they are interactive.

While you are reading, point out each number to your child, count with them, and talk about the pictures. Your child can learn their numbers and how to count quickly by adding this book to your collection! They can learn how to match by looking at a picture and pressing the same number that’s on the page.

Write Down Numbers and Make the Child Draw that Quantity

Write down numbers in a drawing book and have your child draw something that denotes that quantity. For example, write 3 and ask her to draw three flowers. For 4, you could ask the child to draw four ice cream cones. You can also do the opposite of this by drawing several quantities of an object and asking your child to count them and tell you the number.

Point Out Numbers on Ad Boards and Vehicles

When you go out with your child, you can point out numbers on ad boards or vehicles and thus help her recognize the numbers by sight. This will be helpful later on when your child begins writing numbers.

Make and Use Flash Cards

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Make flashcards with numbers zero to nine and use these to play various number games with your child. For example, you could place the numbers in random order and help your child arrange them in the correct sequence.

Children are quick learners, and they can grasp concepts with ease. Introducing numbers to kindergartners in a fun way will help them understand numbers easily. Pre-schoolers tend to memorize numbers. However, they will gradually begin to understand what the numbers mean when you relate the number of everyday objects to the numbers. Each child is unique and learns at her own pace. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid comparing the learning abilities of different children.

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