Tell and Show with Numbers


Many difficult concepts come together in the understanding of number symbols and their meaning (quantity). You can help nurture these skills by incorporating some of these fun games into your day. 

Tools and Materials

Empty Kleenex boxes, paper, writing tools, tape, large cups, sticky notes, washable marker, paper bags 

Steps to take

Point out written numbers in your environment and then count out objects to match the quantity. 

At Home

If you have a few minutes

  • Using 2 empty square tissue boxes, work with your child to make your own dice. On one die, take the time to count and talk about the number of dots you are placing on each side (dots 1-6), on the other die, label each side with a numeral (1-6). Take turns with your child to roll the die with the dots and then try to find the side of the die with the correct numeral.

If you have more time

  • Play "Inspector-Collector", you will need a cup and sticky notes, say to your child, "Hello I am the inspector, you must be the collector, here is your cup, can you find me 5 of something?" When the "collector" returns, say to your child, "Oh hello Mr. Collector! What surprises do you have for me? Let's count. Oh no! Only 4. Better find one more." Keep your cups with objects displayed as "counting collections" and talk to your child about the quantities in the collection.

On the Go

If you have a few minutes 

  • Have a number scavenger hunt. Write numbers on paper bags and say (Find 4 shiny rocks, 3 small sticks, 2 acorns, 1 leaf.) (you can make these items anything outside that will fit in the bag: blades of grass, dandelions, pinecones)

If you have more time

  • While driving in the car you and your child can "spot" a number on a street sign, billboard, license plate. Say, "I see a 2, now let's count 2 light poles." Continue the game with other numbers "spotted" and other items to count.

Words to Know

number    quantity    numeral    how many

Possible Observations

Names numerals; matches numerals with the quantity; answers questions; plays games; takes turns in games; counts objects