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Children's first introduction to numbers is usually through simple counting, whilst for example climbing stairs or singing simple nursery rhymes like, '1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive'. However for children to develop their understanding of number, they need lots of 'hands on' experience so that they can understand the concept of what 4 means as well as recognising the written or spoken word.

You can find a selection of counting songs in our Songs & Rhymes area.

Counting book

A great counting book which
unlike most books includes
numbers up to 20.

See other Maths-related books

Number sequencing

You will need

Some simple cut out shapes like the cars shown to the right that clearly display a set of numbers.

You could just use the numbers written on card but by using cards with the cars on, the activity looks more appealing and can be extended by asking questions like, what number is the blue car.

The activity can be carried out in several ways, and will really depend on how well the child recognises numbers.

It could begin with the cards being spread out and you asking the child if they can identify the different numbers on the cars by asking which is the car with number 1 on it, and then continuing to see how many the child can identify.

If the child doesn't know a number then you can point it out and then repeat the number with the child.

When all the numbers have been identified the child can be asked to set them out in a row starting with number 1 up to whatever number you have chosen. Again some children will need no help, others might need a lot.

When the cars have been put in number order either ask the child to check it is correct by counting the numbers and pointing to them, or if the child is having difficulty encourage them to count with you while you point at the appropriate number.

If you know that a child is able to easily recognise the numbers you could put the cars in a row in the wrong order and ask the child to move them to the correct order.

The more competent the child is the more numbers you can add.


Number sequencing