Young children are very aware of their surroundings and the language used to describe everyday objects and ideas. You can help enhance your toddler's awareness and recognition of numbers by observing and building on your child's play.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Poster Paints
- Construction Paper
- Poster Boards
- Beach Toys
- Chidren's Toys
- Children's Puzzles
- Toy Blocks
- Toy Phones
Observe your toddler at play. Your toddler will begin to recognize that there are a number of different toys, colors, sizes and shapes in your house. Grab onto the teachable moment by explaining the significance of numbers.
Make a poster with the numbers 1 through 10 on it. Tape the poster to a wall in a room your child plays in often. Refer to the poster when you observe your child noticing a number of similar objects. Say things like, "Do you have two blocks? I see that you have three blue cups. Do you see one red sock?" Point to the poster and show your child the number you are talking about.
Count out loud when playing with your child. If you are stacking blocks, count them as you stack. If you are marching to music, count the steps you take. If you are eating raisins, count the raisins when you put them in your mouth.
Play number games in the bathtub. Using a plastic shovel and pail, count the number of water scoops you pour into the pail. Blow bubbles and count the bubbles. Count fingers and toes as you wash them.
Point out numbers you see when you are driving, shopping or taking a walk. There are numbers everywhere in your neighborhood. Point them out to your toddler, and praise your toddler for pointing out numbers to you.
Buy toys that have numbers on them. Puzzles, toy phones, number mats, books - the list is endless. Think about your child's education as well as entertainment when you buy toys. Toys that allow your toddler to actually touch and feel the shape and curvature of the number will help your toddler notice the physical differences between numbers.
Discuss the numbers on toys and make up silly games to play with them. Take a soft foam number and throw it in the air. Scream the name of the number when you throw it up. Anything you do when you are playing to draw attention to numbers will enhance your child's number recognition skills.
Tips and warnings
- Praise your toddler often for trying to count and recall numbers. Remember that your child is learning a new skill. Don't be critical of mistakes.
- Purchase an educational video about numbers for your toddler to watch. There are some great ones out there.
- When you are coloring, draw numbers, and name them as you draw them.
- If your child recognizes a number but gives it the wrong name, correct your child by saying something like, "Yes, I see a four. You are good at pointing out numbers."
- Show your toddler the differences and similarities of the numbers nine and six by turning them upside down over and over again while saying, "Now it's a six, now it's a nine."
- Your toddler will have a short attention span. Don't force your toddler to continue a game if he or she wants to move to something else.
- Engage your toddler in learning while you are playing. Trying to get your child to sit down and listen to a lesson on numbers will prove frustrating to you and the child.
- Consult your family doctor if you experience extreme frustration or anger when interacting with your child.