If your child is struggling with number recognition I have some great ideas to make it fun! I am going to walk you through a tutoring session with a child in Kindergarten. During this session we focused on being able to identify, count, and write numbers 1-20. During my tutoring sessions I like to take a play-based approach. When children are having fun, they don’t even realize they are “learning”!
Assessment- Before getting started with the games, I did a quick assessment to see what they already knew. You can write the numbers on blank index cards or use the free ones I printed off. I mixed them up and had the child identify each number. I made two piles. One pile was the ones they knew, and a pile of the ones we needed to work on. I wrote down the ones to work on so I can watch and target those numbers in the following games. While I was recording them, I had the student put the mixed-up cards in numerical order. She read them out loud to me and pointed to each one as we went along. To make it more fun, I had her say the numbers in a princess voice, spooky voice, farmer voice, etc. That is a fun way to have them repeat the activity while keeping it fun and fresh.
Where is the Teacher Hiding Game- This was so much fun! We played, “Where is the Teacher Hiding”? It is free to print and so adorable!! I often try out games on my 4-year-old so I can see how it will go. I love doing that because it helps me find ways to improve my lesson. My son and student both LOVED IT!!! You basically have the numbers 1-20 on note cards. You hide a picture behind two different numbers. The child calls out the number where they think the teacher is hiding. It is great because they forget where they are hidden and they say the numbers several times before finding both teachers! There is a turkey version too! You can DIY by writing the numbers on note cards and hiding a picture they drew or a small school picture of them for a personal touch!
Number Puzzle- We moved on to this puzzle. They have to put the puzzle together in numerical order. After they finish it, have them say the numbers while they point to them. To get them to repeat the numbers they can say it in silly voices or have a race to see how fast they can put it together.
POP! Game Supplies:
brown paper lunch bag cut down or a Ziploc bag works too!
We played a version of the game POP! I have been playing this game using popsicle sticks with math facts in my classroom for years. It is super fun and kids absolutely love it! For this activity, I wanted my student to work on tracing numbers. I cut up a sheet with numbers 1-20 and added in 3 POP! cards. When the child picks a card, they trace the number on their paper or simply write it without tracing it. If they pick the word POP, they must put all of their number cards back into the bag. Be sure to leave the POP! card out after it has been picked. I used these cards and printed them out twice. I put “White Out” over three numbers and wrote the word POP! instead. I printed additional sheets for tracing with paint brush markers. They sell these at Target. I also love using these. Do you know how much you can get a child to do with these magical markers?!?! My first and third graders were obsessed with them. When I call out a number on this sheet, they trace over the number with the paint brush markers or scented markers. It is simple yet engaging!
Magnetic Bug Toss– This was a hit! We then went on to play this magnetic bug toss game. I bought it for my son a couple years ago and I am in love with the fact it has a side of letters and a side of numbers. They throw the magnetic bug and wherever the stinger points to, they call out that number. Lakeshore has fantastic games!
More Ideas to Teach Numbers 1-20!
Number the Stairs- Put a note card on each step and as they walk up the stairs they have to say the numbers! This is great for when you feel like you don’t have a lot of time.
Number Bath– My four-year-old loves to play in the bath. We have these in there. While he is “soaking” I put various numbers up to have him identify. This is something simple that takes a minute a day! You could also get a plastic scoop or shovel and have them catch a number in the bath water. Then they have to identify what they caught.
Board Games- Write numbers on note cards and pair it with their favorite board game. For example, if you are using the game Connect Four, place a shuffled stack of index cards numbered 1-20 face down. When it’s their turn, they pick a number card. In order to “play”, they need to pick a card and correctly identify the number. All of these games are part of my weekly tutoring rotation. Don’t underestimate the power of Candy Land for older kids! My third graders LOVED it! Click on the games above to check them out!
Number Bingo – My mother-in-law bought this Bingo game to play with my 4-year-old. He gets a piece of candy for a prize!
Number Slap Jack This is on my wish list!!
Lakeshore Puzzle Numbers– I like this self-correcting puzzle set from Lakeshore Learning because the pictures are organized in rows. Some other puzzles show objects scattered which leads to miscounting. At this age we are aiming for success, so I like this one the best! It also is a good model for how they can organize their objects when they count.
When I taught first grade we watched this video during transitions to help reinforce numbers 1-100. It is super cheesy but the kids absolutely love it! I doubted one of my teacher friends when she told me about it, but it is one of their favorites!