As children begin to realise numbers hold meaning, they will notice them in their everyday life
What to do?
You can help your toddler to learn numbers by creating for them a familiar small world exploration environment (e.g. a supermarket car park) filled with numbers!
All you need is a recycled cardboard box and a marker pen! Cut one of the sides of the box off so you can drive the cars in, then make some car park spaces, either 1-5 or 1-10 depending on the size of the box and age of your child. At first you can just let your child explore the box. Wait until they point out the numbers and then say ‘Can you drive the car into number 1?’ And your child can then role play their toy cars to ‘park’.
As your child becomes more confident with the numbers they may begin to drive them into different spaces, sometimes saying the correct number and sometimes not! That is OK, as you just want them to be exposed to the numbers. As they drive the car, you can point out the number, using the language to say that name. Children will then begin to realise, like written words, numbers also hold meaning!
- Maths: number recognition, counting, problem solving
- Social skills: communication, cooperative play, role play
- Communication and language: new vocabulary, conversation
While your child is playing you can focus on building specific vocabulary by deliberately using words they may not yet be familiar with. The words you choose to focus on will depend on your child’s current vocabulary. Example words to focus on may be:
Discuss with your child
Asking your child questions encourages them to think and engage in deeper learning. For instance, you could ask them:
- Can you drive the car into number 1?
- What numbers can you see?
- Where is your car going to park?