Repeated practice is essential for young children’s learning. Learning numbers is more than just one skillset. Kids are also developing understanding of the overall concepts of number and value. They need to explore—many times over—the arrangement of a number of objects, and assign a number symbol to that number value. All these things can sound really complex—and in some ways they are!—but there are some activities that can be used again and again with variations to make sure the learning sticks.
One activity to use with your preschool aged child is a finger counting game called “Hands Down”. Remind your child that counting past 5 requires the use of both hands. It is okay to use our hands as learning tools–they are made to be tools for us for everything in life—including counting! For the Hands Down game, have the child start with both hands up in front of them, looking at all ten fingers. When they use all the fingers on a hand, they must put the hand down. Make it fun by telling them that when all the fingers are counted the fist gets heavy and has to come down. Have them practice counting to 5 by putting one finger down each time they say a number. When the hand is all used up—it is in the shape of a fist and “falls” to the table as they say “hands down!’. Have them notice that now they have zero fingers left. Zero means none. There are no fingers left to count on that hand. Then, give them numbers between 6–10 to count up to. The hand should go down whenever they get to 5 and then they can tap fingers on the table from the remaining hand until they reach the given number. As an extension activity, your preschool child could start holding up their hands showing you the number instead. Perhaps use a spinner or a die to determine which number to count to.
Another valuable activity fo exploring the concept of numbers 6-10 is making your own version of “Hi-Ho Cherry-O”, which is a board game. Make small containers or circles on the table to catch “cherries” inside. Start with a pile of cherries on your cherry tree (small tokens in a pile in front of you), and spin a spinner with numbers 6–10 and 0 on it. Each spin tells the child how many cherries to place in their “basket”. If they roll a 0–oh no!—the basket spills and all the cherries come back to the pile. The first person with no more cherries wins!
Kids Academy offers plenty of preschool math resources to reinforce learning games and use for repeated practice.
This worksheet for counting an writing the numeral 6 is a perfect follow up to the hands down activity described above. Notice how there are pictures of children holding up fingers for counting. Your young child will recognize that the pictures show the same thing as they practiced with you!
Kids Academy's website provides similar worksheets for all the numbers 6-10, and for 0. What is great about them all is that they show children different forms of number, like numeral form, word form, and groups of a certain number to count. These skills continue through many of the elementary school grades. Even as high as 5th grade, students are expected to know different forms of the same number. Starting your young child off with Kids Academy resources like these will prepare them for more mathematical success later.
And the above page will be great for celebrating that all powerful number—10! Preschoolers can count the 10 eggs on the page, color in the number 10, and then spend time arranging ten tokens or coins on top of each egg. If the egg is too small, they can practice fine motor skills by stacking the objects instead of laying them out.
Find more guided lessons on early number sense and other topics in our interactive catalogue!