As early as preschool, students are exposed to numbers. Learning to recognize numbers is the starting place in their math journey. As students enter kindergarten they continue to work on number identification, writing numbers, counting and understanding what numbers represent.
These important skills lay the foundation for many years of math to come. Throughout my years in the classroom, I have found hands on ideas for teaching numbers to be the most effective in the classroom. Here are some of my favorite number activities that I use in my classroom.
Introduce Numbers with Number Books
Oh, I love these Little Number Books! Throughout the school year when we are working on numbers, these mini books are my go to resource. Whether we are working on numbers to 10, or teen numbers, these books always come in handy.
All of these skills are important in helping students build a solid foundation in number sense.
Following our lesson, students use the lesson anchor chart to complete the number book. Students will work on:
- Tracing and writing the number
- Showing the number in a ten frame
- Writing the number word
- One-to-one correspondence
These number books are a great introduction to the number and what it represents. From there, we build on the understanding of the number with a variety of hands-on number activities. (Keep reading because in the sections below I’ve given you some of my favorite number activities that I use in my classroom.)
Break out the crayons, markers, glitter, and glue to add some extra fun to teaching numbers using the Little Number Books. Your students will love the activities, and you can rest easy knowing that skills and standards are being covered.
Build Numbers into Your Routine
A great way to increase number familiarity and fluency is by displaying numbers on the walls in your classroom. Posters, number lines, and calendars are easy ways to do this. But don’t just stop with displaying them, interact with them on a daily basis.
One of my favorite daily activities is practicing number sense at our morning meetings. I use the calendar to teach many important number skills and the kids love it! Through our morning meeting and calendar time, we work on number identification, comparing numbers, counting, and much, much more. Every day your students should be seeing how numbers connect to their world.
Music is another great way to help students to learn to identify and name numbers. Jack Hartmann’s number songs are a go to in my classroom. We love to sing, move and practice our numbers. These videos are not just a great addition to math time, but they can easily be used as a movement break or brain break any time of the day.
Hands-On Number Practice
Number Activities for Number Identification
We all know how important it is to be able to recognize numbers. Recognizing and naming numbers is one of the very first things students learn. There are tons of ways to practice this skill, but these two games are favorites in my classroom.
Numbers Bingo is always a class favorite. It’s a great activity that requires students to hear the number name and find it in written form. This is a great game to play as a whole class or in small groups.
The nice part is that it is so easy to differentiate. If students are struggling with finding the number I start with saying the name, but after a few seconds I hold up the number card. This gives them a guide or a way to self-check. While I love all the practice my students get with identifying numbers, I’m pretty sure their favorite part is yelling “BINGO!”
I like to play Blackout (until their entire card is filled) for that extra number identification practice. But if you are short on time you can play a traditional game with one line, play 4 corners, or make an X.
Number Matching Game
Another fun number recognition game is a memory matching game. This game can easily be played with the number cards from a regular deck of cards, number flash cards, or make your own number cards using 3×5 cards. What I love about making my own is that I can focus on the numbers my students are working on and I can add in different ways to represent the number. For example, if I was making a matching game I’d create these cards to represent the number five: 5, five, tally marks, ten frame, a set of 5 (draw or use stickers). Any or all of these could be used. Just make sure to use even numbers so that every card has a match.
Number Activities for Writing Numbers & Number Formation
After recognizing numbers, students will next work on writing numbers and correct number formation. This is an important foundational skill that will allow students to use and interact with numbers in their own communication. I love using a variety of activities so that each student has multiple opportunities to get their “Ah-ha!” moment. Here’s some of my favorite number writing and number formation activities:
- Use these playdough number mats and some play dough in math centers and have students form numbers.
- Write numbers in shaving cream on student desks for some messy fun. It’s a great way to clean desks while working on numbers!
- Number Writing strips are a fun morning work or center activity. Students can complete with a pencil, or laminate and use with dry erase markers.
- Hide magnetic numbers in a sensory bin. When students find a number, they write it on a dry erase board.
When working on writing numbers, I always have my students say the number aloud as they are writing, tracing, or creating it. Speaking, writing, and seeing numbers at the same time allows students to send information to the brain using multiple sensory pathways! It’s also a great way to meet multiple learning styles in one activity.
Number Activities for Representing Numbers
Ten frames are a great hands on way for teaching numbers and what they represent. And . . . ten frames can be used in many different ways.
A simple, yet effective way to use 10 frames is to have students use dots or stickers to fill in the frame for the matching number. For example, if your student is shown the number 4, they will have to put 4 stickers in the boxes of the frame. Using fun scented or glittery stickers is a great way to liven this activity up.
We love to use ten frames during centers too. Students draw a card and then build the number on the ten frame. Some great hands-on manipulatives for building ten frames include cotton balls, pom poms, mini erasers, LEGO blocks, or play dough. The students love building these numbers and I love that they get a great hands-on experience in learning what numbers represent!
We use ten frames all.year.long! So learning to use them from the beginning of the year is important. I want my students to think of a ten frame as a tool they can use to help them visualize numbers, count on, add and subtract. The more they interact using ten frames the more comfortable they are using them as the skills get harder.
Another great hands-on activity for working on counting and what numbers represent is building sets. Grab a set of number cards and add with any manipulative and let students build sets. Using beads or stinging blocks is a great way to add some fine motor practice into the math center.
Sometimes building sets take on written form. The students love drawing sets to match numbers to the number card. This is also a great way to practice writing numbers. Students can draw a number card, then on a sheet of paper write the number and draw a set. If you don’t want to use number cards, just have them use the number posters already displayed in the classroom.
I have several number sense activities ready to go in my shop! Visit the Miss Kindergarten store to check out more!
Save These Number Activities
Save these ideas for teaching numbers by pinning this post to your favorite classroom board. That way you can quickly come back when looking for activities and resources for teaching numbers to your students.