Numtums is a fun, energetic television show and website created to help little ones develop vital maths skills. The Numtums are ten cuddly creatures with numbers on their tummies. Numtums love to dance (especially with children!), dress-up, play, tickle, fly and, most of all, count.
The first series of Numtums mixes catchy sing-along counting songs and comical skits that will help little ones recognise the shapes of numbers and remember what order they should be in. All this counting goes on in a funny, bouncy world that is sometimes cartoon, sometimes real, and sometimes both.
The second series sees more advanced concepts like ordinal numbers and number bonds woven into exciting stories for older children (4-6 year olds) to give them a head start in maths when they get to primary school.
Some serious work went into creating Numtums. CBeebies consulted with top educational experts to devise brand new ways to engage and entertain young children, helping them to develop numeracy skills while laughing and playing.
Help your child develop amazing maths skills
Children are born with an innate mathematical ability and research has shown that parents can have a massive effect on how this develops. Even if you feel you aren’t good at maths, there are things you can do with your child now that will make a big difference to their ability.
We’ve created this special numeracy guide for parents to explain the maths skills your child should be developing between 0-6 and how you can help them at every stage.
For each key skill there’s a handy video for parents (on the right hand side of this page) with top tips for activities you can do to help them develop these skills.
These are the key Numeracy skills, covered by the Numtums, that children develop from 0-6:
Numtums guide to: Number recognition
Recognising numbers is one of the most important early steps for maths. You can begin by pointing out lots of different numbers to your child, such as the numbers on front doors, on the front of buses, on T-shirts, on television. After a while your child will recognise that the word “two” can also be written as a number “2”.
Numtums guide to: Counting up and down
Counting is important for understanding number names and order. Start by counting from 1 to 5, and once they’re confident with that, move on to 1-10, then 20 etc.
Numtums guide to: Ordering numbers
When your child’s getting confident with counting they’re ready to start trying to order numbers – i.e. put them in the right order. Take any opportunity you get to jumble up numbers and ask your child to put them back in the right order. Start with 1-5 then move on to 1-10 when you feel they’ve grasped it.
Numtums guide to Matching
You may also hear matching referred to as “1 to 1 correspondence”: basically, this means that an object corresponds to another object, or an object is matched to a number. This skill helps young children when they come to simple addition and subtraction, because they can already recognise that ‘”4” means 4 things or objects – and that they have to count to 4.
Numtums guide to: Grouping and sorting
Grouping simply means sorting objects into sets of things with similar characteristics, and is important for beginning to understand what things share in common. It is a very simple concept for children to pick up – and you can encourage them at home in all sorts of ways!
Numtums guide to: Estimating and quantities
Estimating and learning about quantities are both important skills for enabling children to come to judgements about numbers, and to understand the idea of what might be “too little” or “too much”. Children love guessing games and so they naturally learn how to estimate.
To understand quantities, children need to understand what an amount really means (this is useful when they come to do simple addition and subtraction) so that they can recognise that seven items in a group also means seven items in terms of quantity.
Numtums guide to: Ordinal numbers
Don’t worry if you don’t know what an “ordinal number” is. They are simply the words that describe an ordered sequence, such as “first”, “second” and “third”. Understanding them helps children to structure their day, and means that they can follow instructions in the right sequence.
Numtums guide to: One more, one less
Learning about “one more” and “one less” than a given number is important for estimating and being able to assess quantity, and leads on to simple addition and subtraction.
Numtums guide to: Simple addition and subtraction
“One more” and “one less” leads neatly on to simple addition and subtraction, which is an important first step on the way to doing more complex sums. Remember that while you are talking and playing with your child you are always developing their language and building their real-life experiences. Talk about what you are doing. Use language such as “add”, “adding”, “add on”, “subtract” and “take away”, as this helps them to make the connection with home and school.
Numtums guide to: Number bonds to ten
Number bonds are also referred to as “number pairs” and are basically just pairs of numbers that add up to a given number, such as 10. For example, 5 + 5, 6 + 4 and 7 + 3 are all number bonds that make 10. Children learn these to help them understand the relationships between numbers.
Numtums guide to: Shapes
Shapes are everywhere and they are one of the first things children learn. Why are they important? Simply put, they help us make sense of the world around us.
Numtums guide to: Mathematical language
Mathematical language is all around children – words and expressions such as “bigger”, “smaller”, “shorter”, “taller”, “more than”, “less than”, “beside”, “above”, “below”, “heavy”, “light”, etc. Using a variety of vocabulary helps children to develop a wide range of language and gain more confidence in the process.
Numtums guide to: Problem solving
Once children have a good understanding of numbers and counting they can start to use maths to solve practical problems – and apply their thinking to the real world! This is where they will cement their knowledge, as well as realising the usefulness of what they’ve learnt, building enthusiasm which will remain with them when learning about other subjects.
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