In this article you will find 5 fun games for number recognition through which little learners can practice numbers, either 1 or 2-digit numbers, and play while doing it.
How to provide numeracy practice in everyday activities
-provide structured learning ‘opportunities’ indoors and outdoors, e.g. sand and water, stories, physical movement, singing and acting number stories and rhymes, cooking and shopping, two- and three-dimensional creative work, observing numbers and patterns in the environment and daily routines
-children should have experience of real-life and imagined situations, and learn how to use mathematics in authentic contexts, e.g. cooking, measuring, shopping.
-build on children’s everyday ‘real world’ mathematical knowledge and personal experience of numbers, such as door and bus numbers, ages of people in the family, TV programme times, bed times, family lottery numbers, telephone numbers.
Read more about literacy and numeracy ideas through play based learning.
1. Match the lego blocks
- Bring lots and lots of blocks around
- Start writing numbers on each of the lego blocks
- Mix them/spread them around the house/hide them everywhere
- Let your little one/not so little one start matching. If needed, offer help.
Want to make it more exciting?
Set a time limit (set a timer on your phone/also check online for this bomb stopwatch.Why not order the blocks to build a tower that might eventually collapse?
Type in your name below and get instant access to our Activity Book for Preschoolers. There are super fun worksheets to keep children entertained.
2.Fun numbers threading
- Make the circle: cut out cardboard to make it sturdier and manipulate it more easily
- Punch holesall around the edge
- Assign numbers to each punched hole: write down various numbers, one/two-digit numbers.
- d. Start threading: use jute twine and tie a knot at one end.
First demonstrate what the child has to do: connect two numbers by threading the jute.
Try playing in pairs
You could ask the child to thread a star or a pattern of their choice. The game can even be played in pairs. They give each other instructions: go to number X.
To practice saying the numbers, simply have them come to you and describe what they did (insist on reading the numbers: “I started with 3 and then I went to 10, then 7, and 6 etc”
3.Play dough number town
1. Prepare the materials
First, you need playdough, paper, crayons and tiny cars.
Make sure you use a large piece of paper (I glued together 3 A4 sheets) to create a large enough town for children to drive around using tiny cars.
2. Design the layout of the town
Ask your child to draw the streets. Then add numbers to the streets and the houses. Decorate the map: draw the traffic lights, trees, a park, birds etc
3. Make the play dough buildings
Use play dough to make tiny houses, schools, supermarkets, etc. Then place the buildings on the map next to each number (to avoid confusions, talk about who lives in each house/personalise the school/park etc)
If played in pairs, give each other instructions –go from the airport to the hospital. Or have a race. I am sure they will have lots of fun!
4.Numbers flashcards game
1.Prepare the flashcards
You need two sets of matching flashcards: for younger children we suggest to use numbers-pictures flashcards.
You can download for free our numbers and pictures flashcards from our article on visual-spatial activities for kids.
2.Arrange the flashcards
Separate them into two different categories and place them on the floor, upside down.
Then make two rows: the first set of flashcards in a line above and the other set in another row below.
3.Demonstrate the game
Turn over cards in order to match the fruit and the numbers mini cards.
To avoid long explanations, demonstrate by turning over one card from the line above, name it, then turn over a card from the line below.
Pretty simple, right? Care to make it more interesting? Hide the flashcards and apply the same rules: it will take longer, I guarantee, and they will have more fun!
5. Super Fun PPT Number Game
I am against screen time, especially for children under three, but I use it for no longer than 30-40 minutes a day in various parts of the day. Screen time includes songs and stories and some simple games, mostly the ones I make or have used with my students.
This simple PowerPoint game takes no longer than 3-5 minutes and it is not only fun, but also educational. Simply have the child click on any of the colourful squares and have him guess what is hiding behind the blocks.
One by one children will remove the blocks to reveal numbers and objects. Count the objects together and name the written number. Use the arrows to move back and forth. If you wish to reduce screen time, simply click on show and have the child name what he sees and move on.
You can find this game plus 24 more in our article Numbers for toddlers.
Through the activities we proposed, children will learn a new concept (numbers) but also new skills (visual awareness, matching, fine motor skills) and they will practice them in a fun way.
The games above are both educational and fun, they help children develop harmoniously and they are very engaging.
Make sure to read Tactile Sensory Activities for more inspiration on how to set up a whole day of fun!
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Hi. I am Monica, an experienced ESL teacher and early years student, mother to a preschooler and passionate reader.