Numbers, numbers, numbers, they are everywhere. This is why it is important to really focus on number recognition and start money identification early. So, we have to think of teaching numbers like we approached words. Words started with us repeating or labeling everything. There were times when I found myself literally narrating my own actions every step of each day. Now, I find myself counting everything, bowls, ingredients, sometimes even steps. This helps with the act of counting but visually seeing the numbers and recognizing them is a different beast. So, what do you do?
Sometimes, the best tool you have is something you use every day. I was looking through the ads and usually allow the kids to play with the ones that I won’t use. They normally pretend to be reading them or ball them up and pretend they are some form of soup, but today I sat down with them and we laid them out on the tables. I asked them to look for numbers they recognized and the older kids lit up pointing to this and that number.
The younger kids got excited and started paying attention to what the older kids were doing and they started pointing to numbers they were remembering. Typically, these numbers seemed to be 8’s, 5’s, and 2’s. The younger kids started looking on their own and so I moved to the next step with the older kids and pointed out the cent sign and the dollar sign and started talking about money.
We focused on telling the difference between dollars and cents using the signs and the 3 year old was on top of that task searching the ads for the signs to show me. The four year old started learning about actual money amounts using decimals. It was funny how what normally goes in the recycling became an important learning tool that kept us having fun for an hour!
When looking for ways to teach your kids start with looking around your house!