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How to Teach My Child to Identify Numbers

by Shelley Frost, studioD

Saying the names of numbers comes early to many toddlers, but actually recognizing the numbers takes longer. Number recognition builds the foundation for later math skills, such as one-to-one correspondence and addition. Identifying the numbers reliably takes some time and lots of practice. You can help your child strengthen her recognition and understanding of numbers with simple games, crafts and activities at home.

Post the numbers in your child's room so she sees them as she plays. Add the corresponding number of stickers on the numbers so she starts making the connection.

Point out numbers when you see them in the environment. Help your tot find numbers on signs, building numbers, license plates and grocery store aisles. Practice saying the name of the number so your little one associates the number with its shape.

Read counting books with your child. Look for a section of number books at the library to give your little one variety. Try "How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?" by Jane Yolen, "Counting in the Garden" by Kim Parker, and "1, 2, 3 to the Zoo: A Counting Book" by Eric Carle.

Count objects, such as cars as you walk down the street or her toys at playtime. This helps her learn one-to-one correspondence to reinforce her understanding of numbers and counting.

Craft with numbers to reinforce the shape and appearance. Let your tot decorate a large number cut from paper. Use number stamps to make pictures. Make your own number book.

Write the numbers with your child for extra practice. Use chalk on the sidewalk, paint on paper or your finger in sand.

Play number games with your child to improve her recognition. Write the numbers on cards and help your child put them in order. Make a card matching game.


  • Don't get frustrated if your child recognizes a number one day and not the next. Continued practice helps her become more consistent in recognizing her numbers.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience come from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

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