Fun Ways to Teach Number Recognition (Plus FREEBIE)

April 13, 2021

Carrie Fernandez


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There are many fun ways to teach number recognition. If you think about your early elementary years, you may remember the good old flash cards and possibly using manipulatives.

Some things don’t have to change, but there are times when you can go a little outside the box. Here are a few ideas for making learning numbers fun.

Fun Ways to Teach Number Recognition text with example of workbook and cards

How to Teach Number Recognition

First and foremost, you want to make sure your child is developmentally ready to begin learning numbers. Although most resources will say kids as early as 12 months can start recognizing numbers, it shouldn’t be forced.

In most cases, we follow the systematic approach laid out by the public/private school systems, and sometimes kids just aren’t ready.

Look for certain clues in your child that will give you hints that they’re ready. One of the most noticeable clues is your child will begin to show interest in numbers, letters, and/or words.

With this in mind, here are a few ideas for teaching number recognition:

  • Play with number toys (flashcards, magnets, Styrofoam, puzzles, etc.).
  • Start counting things around you (utensils, bowls, toys, etc.).
  • Read number books.
  • Get creative.
  • Check for understanding.

Fun Ways to Teach Number Recognition

Teach numbers through sensory play.

If there’s one thing little learners enjoy, it’s using their hands to play. Sensory bins are amongst the top of the list because kids can learn while also working out other developmental domains (think large and small motor skills).

Sensory play is especially great to use if you have a kid whose primary learning style is kinesthetic. Hands-on learning is beneficial because it:

  • Increases information retention.
  • Improves muscle memory.
  • Creates more engaged participation.
  • Enhances critical thinking skills.

Use Fun Stories to Teach

Books have a two-fold way of teaching kids about numbers. In one aspect they can be used for showing and telling about numbers, and in another aspect they can help foster a love for reading.

Consider getting a few number-related books to read to your child on a daily basis. Enhance the story even more by using it in conjunction with other resources.

Songs for Number Recognition

Songs are another catchy way to teach kids about numbers. With the right beat and chant, your kids can easily pick up on recognizing and counting numbers in no time.

With one quick Google or YouTube search, you can find videos to suit just about every interest. From rocket ships to ducklings, there is a song for every kid!

Incorporate eye-appealing flash cards.

Not to say that all flash cards aren’t appealing to children, but they’re certainly not all created equal.

Eye-appealing flashcards are ones that children like to look at, will play with often, and showcases natural-like pictures. That’s why I created a set of nature-themed number cards (1-20).

Nature is something that kids can connect with, so putting them on number cards makes perfect sense. When they see mushrooms, the lesson can become much more than just learning a number.

They can connect and learn about things in nature and then look for them on their next nature walk!

Be sure to download your free set of Nature-Themed Number Cards under the image below.

Consider using them as part of a nature-themed unit study, take them along your next nature walk, and use them to spark good conversations about creation.

Fun Ways to Teach Number Recognition text with illustrated images of cards shown as an example

Click to Download >>> Free Nature-Themed Number Cards

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