As we continue on with basic math skills, it is important to make sure that our child understands the concept that a numeral represents a number of objects. He/she can memorize counting numbers in order without realizing that a 4 equals an exact amount of something.
You can teach this relatively easily. Use some of the tactile numbers we talked about last week – magnetic, wood or felt ones, even a 3×5 card with a number written on it. Let your child hold the number and then have them count out that many objects (blocks, crayons, goldfish crackers, any manipulatives would work). Help them equate the numeral they are holding with the number of objects they have counted out.
Once they have grasped that principle, you can move on to teaching the idea of more and less. Have your child count out 4 of something and put it into a pile. Then have them count out 7 of the same item and put it into a pile. Compare the two, talking about which pile has more and which pile has less.
From there, when you feel your child is ready, you can begin simple worksheets. Again, you can usually find some printable ones online or purchase an inexpensive workbook. (I have even seen these kind of workbooks at a dollar store from time to time.) The type of papers you would be looking for might have a picture of ten objects and ask the child to circle 6 of them. Alternately, it might show 8 objects and underneath have the numbers 6, 7 and 8 printed and ask your child to circle which numeral shows the correct number of objects.
As I stress all the time – make it as fun and interesting as you can. I’m talking about preschool-age children here and if there is any frustration, put it down and revisit it another day. There will be plenty of time later in life to stress about numbers!!
Hope you’ll join me for more next Tuesday!