Play counts as powerful a learning activity and play can help kids learn counting and other math skills. Playing with numbers is one way to support kids as they get ready to start kindergarten.
In the play activity in the photo, one stuffie goes on one chair. Kids can also park one toy car in one space on a car mat, or one blanket for each doll, or one animal in each train car. This is called one-to-one correspondence.
Kids will do this as they play, and it happens countless times for families every day. Each person needs a plate and cup at the table, each foot needs a sock, and so on. As Big Sister helped make “soup”, each part of the egg carton got 1 bean.Sometimes, kids will put two legs in one side of a pair of pants or 2 arms in the sleeve of a sweater. This is a fun, silly way to practice one-to-one matching.
Kids can also play with magnet or foam numbers to increase their familiarity of how numbers look. On walks and trips, kids can look for signs with numbers. There are some wonderful kids stories and books about numbers. Sing songs like 10 in the Bed, No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, 5 Speckled Frogs, 5 Little Ducks, and others. There are some rhymes with numbers too, like 1, 2, buckle my shoe. Count the steps on the way to the car or bus.
Play with numbers and with basic math ideas is important for children’s confidence when it comes to math activities at school. Can you think of some other ways for kids to have number and math fun?