Being able to recognize numbers is fundamental to all other math skills. So ensuring young kids can recognize and identify their numbers is essential. By using activities that engage, entertain, and require movement, you provide all the tools kids need to learn.
The activities below involve fine and gross motor skills as well as have creative and play elements added to provide the ideal learning environment. Use some or all of these activities for your student(s) for fun, easy number recognition practice.
Engaging Number Recognition Activities
Take an empty cardboard box and turn it into a parking lot for all those tiny cars laying around your house. All you need for this activity is a cardboard box, a marker, toy cars, and some stickers or tape to write numbers on.
Cut the box down to around 3 inches tall, draw rectangles large enough to “park” cars in, and label each with any number your child is working on. Put tape or stickers on top of each car and label each with a number that matches the numbers in your parking lot. Have your child name the number and match the car with its numbered parking spot to increase number recognition. This easy and fun activity from b-inspiredmama.com uses common supplies from your home and allows kids to play and learn at the same time.
These worksheets from EducationOutside.org are an excellent way to practice numbers 0-20 anytime, anywhere. Print them out and you’ll have a TON of options to use. This set includes playdough mats for both the number and number name, number of the day worksheets, and number tracing sheets.
Worksheets are great for practice and these also give kids practice with fine motor skills as they roll playdough, trace, and write numbers. You can work on one number at a time to help your child(ren) become familiar with each individual number.
Messes and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. And while most times, we try to keep messes minimal, sometimes letting them make a mess is exactly what helps make an activity more engaging. The thought for this activity from Parenting.FirstCry.com is to pick something that makes a mess you can tolerate and let kids practice writing and recognizing numbers.
You can use shaving cream, sand, shaving gel, oats, rice, glitter, flour, cornstarch, or anything you can come up with to create a canvas kids can draw in. Spread a thick layer of your material on a tray or in a box. Provide large numbers for kids to look at to help them recall how to make each number. Then let them practice. The messier, the better.
This idea from TheImaginationTree.com uses legos or blocks you likely already have to help sequence and recognize numbers. Take the blocks and write numbers on one side. You can even add dots to the adjacent side equal to the number to give kids another way to practice.
Once the blocks are ready, mix them up and have your child put them in the proper order. You can also have them take 2 blocks and add them up as they advance. Try finding objects around the house that add up to the number on each block, use them as counters, there are many applications for these blocks. You are limited only by your own imagination.
Messy activities are always a hit with young kids. This number splat idea from EmpoweredParents.co will entertain kids while working on their number recognition skills. Grab a large roll or large sheets of paper, tape them to the ground or wall. Then write large numbers on them. Give your child a fly swatter dipped in paint and call out one number at a time.
The child will locate the correct number and smack it with the fly swatter. Make sure to do this in an area where paint will be easy to wash off and wear clothing that you don’t mind getting stained. You can use whatever numbers your child needs to practice, making this a versatile activity.
In this great suggestion from ABCDeeLearning.com, kids will use playdough to make cupcakes. Then, the child will add the correct number of candles to each cupcake to represent a corresponding number.
You’ll need cupcake liners, several colors of playdough, candles, and play numbers. Place one number in front of each cupcake liner. Have the child(ren) make a playdough cupcake to fit inside the liner. Have them look at the number and add that many candles to their new creation. If you use silicon liners, this activity can be repeated as often as desired with various numbers.
Practice counting and number recognition with this easy activity you can make at home with supplies you likely already have. All you need to do is collect toilet paper or paper towel rolls, a sharpie marker, and some straws.
Cut paper towel rolls into toilet paper roll sizes and write a number on each. Give the child thin straws and have them add the correct number to each roll. This will entertain and engage kids as they work on their number recognition skills. Just be sure the rolls can accommodate the number of straws indicated.
This simple activity starts with collecting flat rocks with enough room to write numbers on them. You can start outdoors and have your child help find rocks. This will also require paint. Start by cleaning the rocks. Next, paint a number on one side of each rock. Once dry, turn the rocks over and draw a butterfly with dots corresponding to the number on the other side.
Use this matching activity from CraftsOnSea.co.uk to test and practice number recognition. You can also challenge kids by having them add the numbers together and then turning over the rock and counting the dots to verify. Or spread the rocks out and ask the child to hunt for a specific number. The ways to play are as varied as your imagination.
Want to get out and about while learning? Work on number recognition with nature. Head out and collect leaves for this activity. Look for large leaves in lots of colors to bring home. Then grab a Sharpie and some clothespins. Write a number on each leaf and give your child a basket of clothes pins.
Have the child clip the correct number of clothes pins to each leaf. This number activity idea from KidsCraftRoom.com can be used any time of the year but is particularly good as a fall-themed activity. You can also add dots to each leaf and the child can count the dots and put the leaves in the proper order. Add larger numbers up to 100 to practice recognition without the pins for more fun.
Turn counting and cars into a fun board game with this FrugalFun4.com. All you need is poster board, tape, a marker, a die, and some toy cars. Tape long 4-inch strips of poster board together and draw a line down the middle. Add horizontal lines to divide into boxes large enough to fit the length of a car.
Set the board up and add a start line and a finish line. Roll the die to see how far your car gets to move on your turn. Take turns rolling until one car reaches the finish line. You can make the line as long as you like to make the game last longer. This is a fun, easy way to create your own board game.
The activities on the list above all help increase number recognition in fun, engaging ways. You can’t go wrong with any of the options we’ve presented. Just choose the one(s) you think fit your child best and get started.
These all require minimal preparation and are easy for even beginners. Teaching number recognition takes lots of practice and having many options on-hand is a great way to help kids master this skill. Thanks for stopping by!