7 Effective Number Sense Activities For Kindergarten and Preschoolers

Last Updated on October 10, 2022 by Editorial Team

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Developing a number sense is an important step towards the overall cognitive development of children and for building a foundational base to launch their math skills. Of course, numbers also are a life skill that will help your kid throughout, right from buying their favorite cereal to crunching up numbers in the Wall Street boardroom.

But what exactly is number sense then? 

It is the capability to make sense of numbers with the ability to count them, quantify them, and recognize them as well as be able to do basic addition and subtraction at the kindergarten level.

For example, your child should be able to count to 4, recognize that the bananas on the dinner table are 4 in number and after having one of them, be able to comprehend that their number has been reduced to 3.

Helping your children develop this number sense at an early age will help reduce their fear of numbers in them. To help you with this, we have created a list of activities targeted specifically for Kindergarten and preschoolers:

Helpful number sense activities for kindergarten & preschoolers

1. Start The Counting

The first step, of course, is to teach the child counting. The child should memorize the numbers from 1 to 10.

Once this step is completed, you can use visual aids to help him recognize what the number 1 stands for, what 2 stands for, and so on.

kids counting

Counting magnetic chips is an excellent aid to develop the child’s number sense as they are visually very appealing and keep the child engaged as they also get to play with the magnets. You can also use them to do basic addition and subtraction at a later stage. The magnets add a sense of play to the number game and also help in the formation of two sets for comparison.

2. Dice and Dominoes

Dice and Dominoes are an excellent way to get familiar with numbers, especially because of the randomness that they bring to the game.

Toss the dice and ask the child to recognize the number. Flip the dominoes and ask your child to compare them with the number on the die. You can self-invent a plethora of activities using the interplay between the dice and the dominoes.

kids dice dominoes counting

To make this activity more challenging and interesting, you can also use colorful polyhedral dice which have 4,8,12, and even 20 sides.

You can also use them to count corners so that the child recognizes how increasing the number of corners changes the shape of the object. This teaches them the importance and application of numbers in real-life scenarios.

3. UNO Cards

UNO cards

Another excellent activity to teach number sense to children will be through comparison using cards. Bring out those dominoes and lay the UNO cards on the table. Ask the child to compare the number on the UNO cards with the dominoes you have laid on the table and match all of them together.

Comparison between the two quantities will help the children develop a sense of quantity and will boost their number recognition.

4. Use Number Manipulative

Once the child develops a basic sense of the number, you can step up the game further by using various math manipulatives especially designed for the purpose.

For example, the Math manipulative by Game Note is an excellent way to learn about numbers while playing with the snap-linking cubes.

It also contains colorful two-sided activity cards and a dry eraser to teach the child simple addition and subtraction.

It can also help in teaching the child counting, comparing, sorting, and even patterning.

5. Quizzes and Puzzles

Quizzes and Puzzles are an excellent way to get the engines of young minds running.

They challenge the kids into analyzing the knowledge of numbers they have acquired so far and put it to practical application. 

quiz and puzzles for kids

Number bond friends is a fun activity book, specially designed for young children to help develop their number sense through puzzles. It also contains rhymes to help them get into the groove of number humming.

6. Printable Worksheets

Playtime is great, but you may want to slowly start teaching in a systematic manner.

Worksheets come into play here. They contain questions on counting; comparison and simple addition/subtraction which will help your pre-schoolers get school-ready to ace their first math class.

Free Printable Number Sense Worksheets for Kindergarten [PDF]

They also give homework feel to the child to inculcate a sense of discipline. Of course, after a little time on the worksheets, they can get back to their dice and cubes.

You can download our free printable worksheets on number sense from here.

7. Group Activities

Your children can learn about numbers while learning about numbers. Group activities are an excellent way to boost the number of abilities as well as the social skills of the children. 

Group Activities for kids

The children can work in pairs while matching UNO cards with dominoes or doing activity worksheets and competing for the first spot on who finishes the fastest. Having these activities timed will hence boost their brain energy and sharpen their cognitive skills. 

Summing up,

Developing your children’s number sense at an early age will reap many multifold benefits for them at the later stage of their school lives and beyond.

A good number sense also promotes flexibility in thinking. Researchers have linked a good number sense in the early stages of life with proficiency in mathematics later.

Not that we have sparked your interest in the matter, but to know more about this, you can read these 10 best books on developing number sense in children.

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