Of all the things that kids have to learn in school, math is often considered one of the most challenging. While some kids are born with a natural affinity to numbers, it’s no secret that some others struggle with understanding math concepts. This can, later on, result in them falling behind their classmates and losing confidence in their abilities.
By learning to work with numbers, young kids may have improved cognitive skills, problem-solving ability, greater attention and concentration, and better coordination and fine motor skills. They can also gain a deeper understanding of the world, learning about things like measurement, fractions, equations, proportions, ratios, percentages, and more.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make learning numbers fun and engaging for kids. From using rhythm and music to incorporating hands-on activities, various methods can help kids grasp math concepts more easily. Keep reading for ten ideas that you can use to make math time more enjoyable for your little learner.
Use music and movement
Add some rhythm to math time by incorporating songs and dances into the lesson. Plenty of kids’ songs focus on numbers and counting, so put on some tunes and get moving! You can also make up your movements to go along with the song – for example, every time you sing “Five little ducks went out to play,” flap your arms like wings.
Play guess the number
This is a classic game that’s perfect for learning about numbers and estimation. To play, one person thinks of a number between 1 and 10 (or 20, depending on the level of difficulty). The other players then take turns asking questions that can only be answered with a yes or no, in order to try to guess the number. For example, “Is the number less than five?” Once the number has been guessed, it’s the next player’s turn to think of a number.
Get hands-on with counting objects
One of the best ways for kids to learn is by experiencing things firsthand. So when you’re working on counting concepts with your little one, use manipulatives that they can touch and feel. This could be anything from small toys and blocks to pieces of cereal or pasta. As they count out each object, have them line them up in a row so they can see how many they have altogether. You can also put a few items in a bag and have them reach in and feel around to guess how many are inside.
Make a number line
A number line is a visual representation of numbers from smallest to largest (or vice versa). To make your own, simply grab a piece of paper and draw a line. Then, write the numbers in order along the line, spacing them out evenly. You can also use manipulatives like small toys or buttons to create a tactile number line that kids can touch as they count. Once you’ve made your number line, you can do tons of different games and activities with it. For example, you can have your child hop along the line as they count or use it to practice simple addition and subtraction problems.
This is a great activity for learning about numbers, counting, and simple addition and subtraction. To set up, grab some small toys or other objects that can be used as “items” in the store. Then, set up a “checkout counter” using a small table or box. You can also make your own play money out of paper or cardboard. Once everything is ready, take turns being the customer and the storekeeper. The customer will choose items to buy and then hand over the appropriate amount of money to the storekeeper. The storekeeper will then need to count out the right amount of change. This activity can be made more challenging by increasing the prices of the items, or by having customers purchase multiple items at once.
Create a number scavenger hunt
This is a fun activity that can be done indoors or outdoors. To set up, simply hide small pieces of paper around the room or house (you could also use sticky notes). On each piece of paper, write a different number. Then, give your child a bag or basket and let them go on a scavenger hunt to find all of the numbers. Once they’ve found them all, help them count them to see how many there are. You can make this activity more challenging by hiding larger numbers or having kids put the numbers in order from smallest to largest before they start counting.
Use interactive apps and games
There are tons of great apps and games out there that are specifically designed to help kids learn about numbers. A few of our favorites include Numberjacks, Peekaboo Barn, and Counting with LeVar. These apps can be used on your phone, tablet, or computer and are perfect for learning (and reinforcing) number concepts in a fun and engaging way.
Build towers with blocks
This is a great activity for learning about numbers, patterns, and spatial awareness. To play, grab a bunch of small blocks (or any other type of building material). Then, see how high you can stack them without the tower toppling over. As you build, point out the different patterns that you see (e.g., two blocks, then three blocks, then four blocks). You can also challenge your child to build a tower taller than yours or make a tower using a specific number of blocks.
Go on a number nature walk
This is a great activity for getting kids outdoors and learning about numbers at the same time. To play, take a walk around your neighborhood or local park and look for things you can count on along the way. This could be trees, flowers, birds, cars, people, etc. As you find something to count, point them out to your child and help them track how many there are. You can also challenge them to find certain numbers (e.g., find five flowers) or to count up to a certain number (e.g., count up to 10 trees).
Make a homemade number book
This is a great activity for learning numbers, counting, and simple addition and subtraction. To make your book, you’ll need some paper, scissors, and glue. Start by folding your paper in half lengthwise to create a long rectangle. Then, cut the rectangle into thirds so that you have three long strips of paper. Next, fold each strip of paper half widthwise to create a short rectangle. Once your rectangles are folded, it’s time to start decorating them! On the front of each rectangle, draw or glue a different number (you can also write the number using words).
Then, on the inside of each rectangle, write a simple math equation that uses the number on the front (e.g., if the number is “3”, you could write “1+2=3”). Once your rectangles are decorated, staple them together to create your own number book!
These are just a few of the many ways to make learning numbers fun and engaging for kids. And if you’re looking for the best preschool, be sure to consider Children Central. At Children Central, our goal is to provide a smart start for your early learner. We always keep in mind your child’s well being and take pride in our highly-qualified teachers to keep your children happy and constantly learning new things. Visit us to learn more!