Learning Numbers: A Simple Method
When a child enters the toddler age it is a good idea for a parent to start to help a child identify numbers at least up to the number ten. After all, math is going to be a big part of a child’s life, and for them to be able to tackle math they need to first be able to identify the numbers involved. Some parents may feel they don’t have the time in their busy day to day schedules to incorporate helping their children to identify numbers. After all isn’t that what we have head start programs and pre-school for?
Well, actually the earlier a child starts to identify numbers the better off they will be. Also, when a parent takes the time to start teaching their children the basics about number identification it is more of a one on one experience than a child will be getting in the education system.
So, some of you might be wondering is there a simple method to teaching toddlers numbers? As a matter of fact there is one simple key to doing this and that is to make it fun and entertaining. When these principles are applied the child will learn. So, how does a parent pull this off even when pressed for time here are a few time honored methods and maybe some new ones that have been proven to make this sort of lesson fun.
Toys, Puzzles and Books
There are many great educational toys aimed at toddlers put out by well known companies such as fisher Price and Leap Frog that will no only display the number but when a child presses a certain key says the number to them, and in time the child will start to repeat it back. There are also wooden puzzles out there that actually display the number usually one through ten that are another good tool as well.
If a parent wants they can even create their own numbers puzzled by cutting paper into squares and writing each other numbers down than showing each number the the child in order. The child starts to repeat the sequences of numbers back to the parent.
The parent then takes the numbers and starts to take them out of order hands them back to the child asking them to place the numbers in the correct order. Another great interactive tool is using counting books there are many available that get down to a toddlers level to teach them about numbers. Some good examples are Fish Eyes; A Book You Can Count On and One Little Chicken.
Nursery Rhymes and Songs
It seems that from an early age kids seem to identify with music and songs. They also no doubt love to hear the classic nursery rhymes. So, what better way to help them learn about numbers than through some of the rhymes and through song. For example some of the classic nursery rhymes like One Two Buckle My Shoe, and Five Little Ducks. There are also classic songs counting such as This Old Man and There Were Ten in the Bed.
Using Visual aids and Repetition
A child is quite visual at a young age. They tend to grasp things that they can visually see. So, of course to get a child to start to identify numbers is to actually show them the number using visual aids.
For example using flashcards that are designed to show the various numbers, if desired a parent can create their own flash card by using construction paper cut in squares than writing the various numbers on to the cards.
From there show the card to the child saying the number to them a few times maybe even having the child repeat the number themselves. Once this process has been done a few times quiz the child. Put the cards down in no particular order than ask the child to pick up the number one and so forth.
Use a Deck of Playing Cards and a Calendar
Have you ever taken the time to look at a standard deck of average playing cards? There are actually four different sets that count one to ten if the ace is used as the number one, if desired an ink pen can be used to write the number one on the ace in each suit so a child can easily identify it as such.
When all four different sets of ten are divided from the rest of the deck shuffle them up. Than ask the child to play a matching game where they put all the ones together and so on. Feel free to help the child get the hang of dong the game and maybe even assist them with it a few times so that they can learn even further how to identify the numbers.
On a side note, have you ever taken the time to look at the calendars we hang in our homes? Yes, these have numbers on them and are good way to again show the numbers to a child. If a parent desires and feels a child might be ready, they could also go into how there are twelve months in every year; that January is the first month followed by February which is the second month. Yes, this may be a bit more advanced to go into but the more a child starts to identify numbers this would certainly be another good lesson to tackle with a common household item.
Using daily Items
Here is a good method to help a child who has started to identify a number to understand how many items of things are in a certain number. For example using the child’s crayons ask them to pull out five crayons.
A child could be asked to go get two of their toys. This helps a child to start sharpening their counting skills as well. Nothing fancy has to be used, in daily life we all count off certain things without even thinking about it, and it’s a good practice to start teaching a toddler how to do.
Exercise and Movement
Here is a method to help kids to further understand counting with numbers. Get them to get up and dance or to a certain exercise move. For example a kid can be told jump up and down on one leg two times.They can be told to take three steps forward.
TV Programs and Online Videos
Turns out that TV can also be utilized in helping kids to start identifying numbers. There are some fine educational programs that will help a toddler on their level to identify not just numbers but letters. For decades now the long running program Sesame Street has been doing just that and it’s a program that no doubt many parent themselves grew up watching.
As for online videos, many of us get online to unwind at the end of the day so why not spend at least fifteen to twenty minutes with our children watching some fun educational videos that teach numbers.
For example there is a very cute video called Ten Little Buses, and to help kids to start grasping’s the number beyond ten a good video to check out is Teen Numbers which features numbers beyond the number ten going up to twenty.
These are just a few examples of the many types of number and counting videos designed for younger kids that can be found online. TV and videos may not be the most interactive method but for busy parents on a fix schedule this is still a way to be proactive in helping a toddler to start to identify numbers.
Always Keep it Fun
There we go several suggestions on how to help toddlers to identify numbers and even start to count all of which will make the process fun. Remember, kids especially toddlers want to be entertained.
When something is fun a child tends to absorb the educational lesson of it easier; even if they aren’t aware at the time they are actually learning. Numbers are going to be a part of a child’s life throughout most of their life, and so the sooner they are introduced to them the better.
So, no matter what activity a parent may choose to utilize to help their toddler start to identify numbers. Be it one of the suggestions we made here or another method like teach-back method, the simplest method to helping the toddler identify numbers is to always keep it fun.