Here are ten preschool number activities – one sheet for each number from one to ten.
Teaching your child the numbers from one to ten is one of the most important things you can do. A child who begins school knowing what numbers mean is ready to perform to their best mathematically. As concepts such as addition and subtraction are introduced, this child is ready to lap them up – unlike some of the others who will still be battling with basic concepts like counting.
A lifelong love of numbers
The best time to start teaching your child numbers is right from the very start – well before you introduce the preschool number activities on this page.
Seek out every opportunity to use numbers while interacting with your child. For example:
- When shopping, say things like “I’m going to buy three apples today – one, two, three” (as you pick up each apple)
- I have one book in my hand. In the bookcase (pointing) there are lots of books – but in my hand I have just one book
- Count down with your fingers (before having a race or playing a game) with your child – hold up three fingers and say “three”, then pull in one finger and say “two” and then “one”
Starting to use the preschool number activities
It is important that you do not make these preschool number activities feel like work. If you yourself do not like mathematics don’t let this show. Speak in positive terms at all times and make it fun.
When you think the time is right, spend a few weeks mentioning the number 1 at every opportunity. Then, pull out the number 1 worksheet and point to each of the images saying, “Look, here is one heart. And here is one cow etc. Point to the first dotted number 1 above the pictures and say “And here is the number 1!”
Give your child a chance to trace the number 1 with a pencil or crayon. Show them how to do it yourself first a few times.
Remember – it is not a race. If your child doesn’t understand the concepts straightaway don’t worry. Put the worksheet away, keep on mentioning numbers at every opportunity and have another go a few weeks later.
Make sure that you never seem disappointed if learning is slower than you hoped. This is a great way to make your child dislike and fear numbers – the worst thing you can do!
Starting to count
Once your child has mastered number 1, it is time for number 2. (As an aside, don’t do the numbers in a random order – teach them in the correct order so that your child understands the differences in values of each number.)
As you begin with the number 2 worksheet, your goal is to teach “one to one correspondence”. This concept is so natural to adults they sometimes forget that children have to learn it: often young children will not count and point at the same time.
So make sure that you demonstrate how it works. For example, point to the first cat on the number 2 worksheet and say “This is one cat” and then point to the second and say “and here is another cat. See – one cat; two cats!”. As you progress up through the worksheets you may actually like to cut the pictures out individually. This way you can pull each picture across to you as you count it.
Writing the numbers
Children need help in learning how to form numbers – for example, they may draw two circles on top of each other for the number eight, rather than doing it correctly. So make sure you show them the correct way.
Once your child has mastered the art of tracing each one, it is a good idea to give them a chance to practice without the aid of the dotted number.
If you keep going with these preschool number activities, eventually your child will outgrow them. This is a great moment – make sure you celebrate it!
Your child is now ready to move on to the next phase – learning to add and subtract numbers together!