There are so many families new to homeschooling! Welcome! My goal is to support, encourage, and offer ideas and suggestions to ease your transition into homeschooling. Previously, I shared some ideas for your preschoolers and kindergarteners to introduce the alphabet. Today I am going to share all about number sense and how to get started with numbers!
What is number sense? Why is it important?
Number sense means understanding numbers, quantities, and how they compare and relate to other numbers. Building a strong foundation will prevent math struggles later in life. Number sense means your kids will be able to quickly identify numbers, quantities, more or less, and before and after.
The best way to introduce numbers is to keep things fun and engaging for children. Hands-on working with manipulatives, real-life scenarios, mental math, and problem-solving are just a few ways to work with numbers.
How Can You Teach Number Sense?
When something is presented in a FUN and casual manner, learning is natural, organic, and more comfortable.
- Start with counting. Kids count long before they learn about numbers. Grab a pile of items (cheerios, fruit snacks, cars, socks, pencils – anything!) and count with your child. Ask if they can give you 5 objects. Make two different sized groups and ask which group has more items. Make two different groups of snacks and ask which one they would want. Take it one step further and ask why they want a particular group of items.
- Introduce number identification. Get a set of magnetic numbers for your fridge or print out numbers on a piece of paper. As you are shopping, point out numbers and their names. Identify the numbers on a scoreboard at the sporting event. Talk about the numbers at the gas station. Take a walk and look at the numbers on the houses and mailboxes. Go on a scavenger hunt and look for a specific number. The next day, try a different number.
- Progress to number formation, which specifies how to write numbers. Here is a FREE set of number formation posters for you to use in your homeschool.
- Explore the meaning and value of numbers: one means one item, two means there are two objects, etc.
- Take it one step further with number practice printables. This set of printables includes:
- An Interactive Number Journal (various ways to show numbers 0-20)
- A variety of Number Practice Printables (writing number and the number word and use ten frames)
- Number Sorting Practice (sort and identify numbers 1-20)
- Several Number Tracing Cards (drive toy cars on the path to practice letter formation)
- Fine Motor Practice (fine motor practice with bingo dabbers, Q-tips, etc.)
- Spin and Write Number Practice (writing numbers)
Using Boom Cards
BOOM cards are another fun way to explore number sense at home. This learning platform is digital – almost like an app. Basically, it’s like having digital task cards that are self-checking and interactive. Kids drag or click on answers with instant feedback.
Number Sense Counting to 10 – practice one-to-one correspondence and counting to ten with these fun cards. On each card, they will say the number, then move the correct amount of gumballs into the gumball machine.
Keeping it Fun
Here are some additional ideas to explore number sense around the house:
- Fly Swatter Game – print out numbers in large print and hang them all over. Give your child a fly swatter, assign a number, and let them swat away!
- Number Squirt – combine fine motor skills (squirting) with number identification outdoors. Write some numbers in random order on the driveway or sidewalk. Give your child a squirt gun or spray bottle. Assign a number and send your child outside to make the number disappear.
- Roll & Move – roll the dice and move that many times. For example, if you roll an 11, do 11 jumping jacks.
- Deck of Cards – using the numbers only, pull out a number, and ask what goes before and what goes after that number. You can also give a set of cards and have the kids put them in numerical order. Another idea is to provide the kids with a series of cards with one missing in the middle somewhere. Ask them which number is missing.
- Number Line – make a number line or linking chain (like a countdown chain) with numbers on it to display in your house. Better yet, create a countdown to a fun event, vacation, holiday, or birthday coming up.
Grab some books at the library and search on YouTube for some fun number videos. One of my kids’ favorite books has always been Chicka Chicka 123! Make the numbers with your body, play-doh, or in sand.
More Advanced Ideas
Here are some additional ideas to save for deeper understanding and mastery (or for those gifted kids!).
- Practice counting and subitizing (looking at something and figuring out how many objects there are without counting) with this FREE monsters for Halloween download. Grab some googly eyes, glue on, and hang to decorate.
- Explore the number word, ten frame, addition sentence, subtraction sentence, tally marks, and place value in one FREE resource – math flower craft project. These math flowers make a cute spring decoration while offering more ways to explore number value.
- Math games are always a hit to reinforce learning and keep it fun. This ocean-themed packet includes addition, greater/less than, making tens, base ten, subtraction practice, and more. This would be an excellent extension for those advanced learners in your house.
- Comparing Numbers with More and Less BOOM Cards – practice comparing two numbers within ten. First, they will count the birds in each cage and type how many there are in each box. Then, they will select the birdcage that shows more. This is a more advanced deck.
FREEBIES and Links
Here are the FREEBIES mentioned above:
Resources mentioned above
- number practice printables bundle
- number Sense Counting to 10 (BOOM cards)
- math games
- comparing Numbers with More and Less (BOOM cards)
Don’t let your math anxiety get in the way of instilling number sense with your kids! Try these ideas and let me know how it goes!