Children begin learning numbers from everyday experiences. They hear numbers in conversations, nursery rhymes, songs, poems and picture books, they watch their parents print numbers and count out cookies for lunches. Poems and/or books such as, “10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” or “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I caught a fish alive”, introduce children to the sounds of numbers.

As children grow, they experience relationships such as one mitten to one hand, one fork to one place mat and one cookie for one child.

They then go on to be able to link one number with one object. Finally as they play with counting sets of objects, children begin to have a number sense for that number. Check out the ideas below to easily incorporate number sense activities with your students.

**Daily counting** activities:

- Count name tags to see how many girls are absent,

how many boys, how many are present etc. - Count the boys, then the girls, how many all together
- Count how many words are in each line of the pocket chart
- Count pencils, scissors, glue sticks as you pass them out
- Say counting rhymes and finger plays

#### Five** minute** learning** numbers activities**

- Estimate, then count how many items are in a jar
- Measure things with blocks, then count how many blocks
- Count items in stories
- Count pencils, scissors, glue sticks as you pass them out
- Match objects with the number of students – how do we know we have enough pencils?

#### Incorporate number** sense and counting activities into themes,**

music, and arts and crafts

music, and arts and crafts

- Instead of preparing all of a craft project before hand, have the children do the work.
- For example, give each child a paper plate and have the craft supplies in separate bowls on the table, then say…

*“Put 5 pom poms on your paper plate, now put 5 popsicle sticks, 5 stars, etc. Glue the sets of 5 items on your paper to make a Spring (or whatever) picture.”*

#### Integrate learning** numbers and operation experiences into step-by-step drawings**

Use large paper and felts. Review how to teach step by step drawings here…

- E.g. number 6 – draw a circle as big as your paper, this is your pizza, now draw 6 pieces of cheese on the pizza, draw 6 tomato slices on the pizza, 6 chunks of pineapple etc.
- Draw 2 red apples on one tree, 3 green on the other, how many apples all together?

#### Activities** to help children** recognize** numerals 0 – 9**

- Play card games
- Go on a classroom “3” hunt (or any number), find the number 3 and stand beside it
- Cut numerals out of grocery ads
- Have a special day… “Number 5 Day” – paint big fives, make the number 5 with dough…
- Play board games with older buddies, teach the older students to count slowly and touch the numbers as they say them

There are also many opportunities to increase the children’s number sense as they participate in pattern and sorting activities.