When I taught Kindergarten, I would often be asked by parents about ways to help little ones learn numbers at home. I would always remind them that they practice numbers all the time! While counting out silverware for the table, pushing buttons in elevators, and many other ways – like in this post on 50 ways to learn numbers through play. But sometimes it is nice to organize playful ways to practice numbers.
Here are 7 AWESOME ways to learn numbers with tape! For these math games I put some painters tape on the floor in the shape of the numbers 1 through 7. As you may know, we love painters tape! We use it all the time on our floor to make letters, mazes, parking lots, roads …
We ended up playing 7 different number math games this particular morning:
1. First, we explored each number by walking and counting. We did this forwards and backwards. Then we hopped —- on number 1 we hopped once, on number 2 we hopped twice, and so on. I wanted Sammy to understand that each number was one bigger than the one before.
2. Next, Sammy traced each number with his finger. I used a little poem (partly one I knew – but forget some of the rhymes, so I made it up a bit) to help him remember each number name and how we trace it.
For number one, “Straight down and your done, that is how we make a one”,
Two: “around and back is all you do, that is how you make a two”
Three: “around a tree, around a tree, that is how we make a three”
Four: “down, across, and down some more, that is how we make a four”
Five: “down, around, and put on a hat, a number 5 is made like that”
Six: “All the way around with a little mix, that is the way we make a six”
Seven: “Across then all the way down from heaven, that is the way we make a seven”
My little guy learns very well from rhymes 🙂 Even when they are ones Mama has forgotten and made parts up.
3. After, we went on a scavenger hunt. We looked all around to find things we had one of (a firefighters hat), two of (construction worker hats), three of (pylons), four of (wooden letters – yep we have lost 22!) and so on.
4. We then played a hide – the – number, guess – the – number math game. I would hide a number and Sammy would have to figure out which number was missing. He would then hide one for me. I would ask him for clues to further his understanding of number relationships, like “what number does your hidden number come after?”
5. We got out some paper plates to practice skip counting. We counted by twos by jumping over the paper plates. This was a nice, concrete way for Sammy to understand what he is doing when he counts by twos. They are the same numbers, he is just skipping one in between each count.
6. We got out some water and a paintbrush so Sammy could trace the numbers. My Sammy wasn’t much into the tracing, he just went to each number and painted the number 1 on top, saying he liked the number 1 the best. Oh my boy! Needless to say, we finished off with a more busy activity.
7. Finally, we threw a sticky tape ball and did an action that number of times. Sammy wadded up a piece of masking tape, sticky side out, and tossed it onto our number line. Whichever number the sticky ball stuck closest to we did an action that number of times. When it landed on 3, we did 3 jumps. When it landed on 6, we did 6 giant leaps.
Learning numbers can be complicated for wee ones. Most can learn to count quite quickly, but applying an understanding to what each of those numbers means can take some time and practice. These math games are a fun way to practice numbers and what each of those numbers represent in a playful and fun way.