Activities to Develop Number Skills (page 2)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Number Talk

Use numbers and number concepts in everyday conversations with children. Talk about how many days are left until a special event, how many children are usually in the group and how many are missing on a particular day, how many places to set when guests are expected, the shapes and sizes of blocks and buildings, and how long a trip will take. Have the children help you count out crackers for snack, put the blocks away in order of size, pour in the right amount of each ingredient in a recipe, and measure an area for a new carpet or bulletin board.

Everyday Math

Set up a play "store," "fast-food restaurant," "veterinary clinic," or "gas station." Include a cash register and appropriate measuring instruments, such as a scale, a yardstick, a tape measure, a thermometer, or a tire gauge. Introduce number concepts and problems when you join the children's play.


Make songs and finger plays about numbers part of your regular routine. When children have become proficient at counting, introduce rhymes that involve counting by 2, like "Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate?"

Pattern and Counting Books

Include in your library counting books; books about size and shape; books with hidden, camouflaged, unusual, or out of place objects to find; and books with repeating or cumulative (add an element each time) patterns. Encourage the children to read these books with you and with each other, and have them make their own variants of favorite books.

Algebra 1

Teach children addition by giving them real-life problems to solve. For instance, at snacktime, when six children are sitting around the table, provide just four crackers. Ask the children if there are enough crackers. When the children say "No," ask them how many more crackers are needed. If they answer "2," then say, "You are right. We have six children, so we need six crackers. Four crackers plus two more crackers equals six crackers." If they answer "5," then take out one more cracker and pass out the five crackers. Then say, "Oops, I have six children. I need one more cracker. Four plus two equals six."

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