Need an easy preschool math activity? Here’s a goodie!
I’m going to get a little lecture-y here and a little soap box-ey. Friends. We need to stop saying the phrase “my child knows their numbers”.
Wait, what? Why?
Well, for starters that’s like saying “my child knows their alphabet so we’re good to go on alphabet knowledge and bring on a college level biology text book.” Obviously, that’s not gonna happen and it’s the same with numbers: “knowing numbers” and understanding them are very different things.
Numbers are so much more than memorized counting!
And I’ve got an awesome preschool math activity to help.
Number are complex, just like letters. They’re the building blocks, the basics, the tools.
Just like we teach letter sounds, we’ve got to teach number quantity – the value of each number. Without value, a number is one dimensional.
So even though my son “knows his numbers”, he’s got a long way to go as he learns the value of his numbers.
Here’s a super easy activity to try
I love an easy activity, especially an easy math activity so number boxes was perfect for my 4 year old!
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The focus of this activity is quantity: what is the value of a number?
A simple way to demonstrate value
I quickly drew a grid on my beloved Kraft paper and labeled the boxes 1-12.
Even though my son can count beyond 12, I wanted to make sure this activity didn’t cause fatigue. One to 12 is already a lot of dots to stick so I didn’t want to push into frustration and have a preschool meltdown over math.
We started this preschool math activity together
“Let’s look at the number 1. How many stickers go in that box?”
We began by working number boxes together and then gradually, I stepped back to turn this into an independent (but supervised) activity for my son.
I watched as he meticulously peeled the correct number of dot stickers for each box.
This was hard work!
My son noticed two things at the end of this: It’s a lot of stickers AND each number got more stickers!
YES! This is the “knowing numbers” that I’m aiming for: a deeper understanding than just memorized counting. He’s seeing value, he’s understanding quantity, he’s noticing that numbers represent a certain amount.
Like this activity? Check out TOUCH AND COUNT from Days with Grey.
WOW! All that from a sticker activity?
You betcha! Using stickers as a visual for number quantity gave my son the chance to really see a number as more than just a numeral.
Number boxes was an awesome way to work on number value/quantity with my four year old. It’s an easy preschool math activity that moves beyond “knowing numbers” into understanding numbers. That’s a big step and a big move to make.