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# 1, 2, 3... and away we go with numbers

by Jacqueline Harding. Simple activities to encourage recognition of numbers

## Introduction

Learning about numbers can be exciting! You just have to make the learning experiences relevant and fun.

Seeing numbers in real settings seems to do the trick – it’s all about making numbers come to life. Otherwise, the whole number thing can be completely lost on children.

Identifying numbers on houses or buses when you're out and about with your little one, looking at the shapes of the objects you see, sorting and matching socks, or even counting toys as you tidy them away can all help to familiarise children with mathematical concepts such as 'one more' or 'one less', pairs and counting.

Below are some simple and inexpensive activities that parents/carers can do with their child to encourage recognition of numbers.

## How CBeebies can help

CBeebies shows such as Numberjacks, Tweenies, Numtums and Teletubbies really get down to the business of helping pre-school children understand numbers.

Numberjacks hits the spot immediately for young children and gets them off to a great start. So why not let your child have a go at one of the fun Numberjacks games on the CBeebies website such as Number Jumping Generator or Shape Japer Dominoes

Numtums helps the very youngest children recognise the shapes of numbers and the order that they should be in, with catchy sing-along songs and comical skits. On the website, you'll find lots of short, funny number learning games like Poppidy Pop and Bouncing Numtums that little ones can play alone or with a grown up, both on desktop and mobile / tablet.

If you want to play some of the games featured in our video with your child, such as Tree Fu Tom Magic Build-A-Wall, Mike The Knight Pairs or Show Me Show Me Colour by Numbers, you will find them all on the CBeebies website too.

## How to make a magic moment

A number recognition magic moment may well happen whilst playing this game. You will need:

• newspaper/large paper
• sticky tape
• black felt-tip pen
• a cube-shaped box (to be your dice)

Draw 1 spot on one side of your box, then 2 spots on another side, 3 on another and so on until you have made your large homemade dice!

Tape some sheets of newspaper together on the floor and draw a long snake with about 30 segments, with each segment being big enough for one child-sized stride. Wind your newspaper snake through two or three rooms (remove your shoes and socks so the paper doesn’t tear).

You’re ready to begin your game. Stand on the final segment of the snake (tip of the tail). Throw the dice and count the spots. If there are 3 spots, help your child to take 3 big strides, one per segment and counting as they go. Then, throw the dice again.

Play the game together and see who can reach the top (head) of the snake first. A big ‘HISSSS!’ and a high five for the winner!

## Top tips

•  Why not play ‘spot the numbers on the buses’ game? A great way to introduce your child to real numbers in the world around them.You could play simple counting games with your child. How about counting the numbers of vegetables on their plate, the number of cuddly toys on their bed or the number of pieces in a jigsaw puzzle?Try counting songs and rhymes like '1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - once I caught a fish alive...'Write different numbers on several large pieces of paper. Then ask your child to go and 'jump on a number'. Try the game to music too!

## Expert opinion

It takes children a long time to understand all the different meanings of numbers. Your child needs to see and talk about numbers in everyday use to grow to understand them.

Sheila Ebbutt, Head of Mathematics Consultancy