Recognizing numbers is tough in part because written numbers take your preschooler into the world of abstract ideas. A 9 can stand for 9 balls, 9 apples or even 9 houses. In addition to the abstract ideas they represent, she still has to learn to tell the curving lines of an 8 from a 6 or a 3 and the straight line of a 1 from a 7. Turn this tough task into a game where observation pays off.
What You Need:
- 4 envelopes all of equal size, brown mailing envelopes work well
- 9 pieces of white paper cut to fit these envelopes
- A heavy, black marker
- Extra paper
What You Do:
- Cut a window into the bottom left corner of the first envelope (see photo).
- In the next envelope, cut a window in the bottom right corner. For the third, cut a window in the top right corner. For the fourth, cut a window in the top left corner.
- Use the marker to write “Guess the Hidden Number” on each envelope.
- Draw a large number on each piece of paper. Start with 1 and continue through 9. Be sure to position the 1 so that it will show through at least two of the windows.
- Randomly sort your pile of numbered pages so that you won’t be working from 1 through 9.
- Slip one of the numbers into one of the envelopes.
- Show it to your child. Can she tell you what number it is? Be prepared to discuss what your child can see through the window. A horizontal line in the top right window can belong to a 5 or a 7.
- Give your child a piece of paper and the pencil. Help her draw a grid of four squares and have her copy what she sees through the envelope window into the appropriate square.
- Now slip the number into another one of the envelopes. This will give your child a different view. Again, have her draw what she sees. What number does she think it is now?