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1-26-00 Question: 4

Dear Preschool Teacher,
    I am a Head Start teacher (first year) and wanted any ideas on how to help my little ones with their number recognition.  
Know your numbers

Dear Know your numbers,
    Remember that at the preschool age, number recognition is not a skill that needs to be perfected. You can start helping children that are age 4 and above begin the number recognition skills. Below are suggestions on helping your little ones start to learn number recognition. Please watch closely and if you see the children are frustrated, do not push them. Know that this will be covered in Kindergarten. You helping them to start learning now is a good idea, but do not push them. If they are not ready stop. Remember that each child is different and some may get it and some may not.

1. Children can learn so much from songs. Of course they do not help with visual skills. So you have to make the songs more visual. Use a felt board to animate the number songs. 
    To make the songs more visual cut a shape from either paper and add felt to the back or from felt. You can even use a shape for the time of the year or you can a standard shape. Once you have the shapes write the numbers clearly on them. As you sing the song place the numbers on the felt board. As the children get better at this have them hold the numbers till it is there numbers time to be on the board. Then they can bring it to the board. 

Song suggestions:
You can find many songs here.

When the Numbers March Right In!
Original Author Unknown
Sung to: "When the Saints Go Marching In"
Oh, When the numbers march right in,
Oh, when the numbers march right in.
We will count them one by one,
When the numbers march right in.
Oh, one-two-three and Four-five-six,
And Seven-eight and nine and ten.
When we finish all our numbers,
We will count them once again.

Sing a Song of Numbers
Original Author Unknown
Sung to: "Sing a Song of Sixpence"
Sing a song of numbers,
Count them one by one.
Sing a song of numbers,
We've only just begun.
When we finish counting them,
We'll start them once again.
Show me One
Original Author Unknown
Sung to: "Row, Row, Row your boat"
One, One, Show me one,
One one, Show me one,
One one, Show me one.
Show me one right now.
Replace with other numbers
Counting Can Be So Much Fun
Original Author Unknown
One, two, three, four, Five,
Six, seven, eight, nine ten.
Counting can be so much fun
Let's do it all again.
Original Author Unknown
Sung to: "Oh, Darling Clementine"
Count our numbers, Count our numbers,
Count our numbers every day.
It is fun to count our numbers,
As a class every day.
Nine and Ten we'll count today.
It is fun to count together,
One to ten and then again.

The ants go marching! is also a great song for this.

2. Another great way to teach number recognition is to do a daily calendar as part of your circle time routine. What I do Is I have a helper come up and help the class count the numbers on the calendar. Then we try to figure out what is next. I display about 4 of the next numbers on the wall at the bottom of the calendar. The children all work together to get the right answer. Then the helper try to find the number they picked and put in next on the calendar. We then count again as a class to make sure that we found the right number.

An extension: 
Exercise Fun...

When doing the morning circle time calendar try this great activity.  For each day on the calendar the children must do that number of exercises.  So if the date was June 10th, you might touch your toes 10 times.

3. Games

Number Recognition...
Make a mail box and each morning the children will have to check inside to find out what number they might find. Then have the children count to the number together and find objects that might have that number of wheels perhaps or legs etc.

Make number necklaces for the children to wear.  All you have to do is make circles and number them one to ten.  Punch a hole at each side of the circle and string a piece of yarn threw each hole. This game works well if you have a couple necklaces of each number.  Each child chooses a necklace...the teacher throws a large die all the children wearing that number must sit down.  The game continues with the children then changing numbers.  You may want to set aside a table for this purpose.  Continue playing until one person is standing this person then may throw the die

Number Wiggle Worm...
On small cards 2x3 print the numbers one to ten and draw five worms. Place all of the pieces of paper into a coffee can and pass them around in a circle.  If the child would draw a number then the child must state which number it is.  However if the child would draw out a worm he or she must yell out "Wiggle Worm" all the children stand up and wiggle like a worm.  Complete the game until everyone has had a turn. 

4. Art

Number Rub...
Place cardboard cutouts of numbers under a piece of white drawing paper.  Using a crayon rub over the cardboard to magically see what number they might have.

The 5th and best suggestion I can give you is repetition, repetition, repetition! Children learn best by repetition!

The Preschool Teacher

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