Number Recognition Exercises for Toddlers

This week I took advantage of my toddler's love of stickers to have some fun with numbers. This is a simple exercise that can be expanded on depending on the child’s attention level and interest. It is ideal for a 3 year old to help with number recognition, but it might be suitable for slightly younger or older children depending on their abilities.

A toddler sticking sticky dots onto the number 5

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A series of exercises to encourage number recognition in toddlers

What you need:

Basic exercise
Paper (I cut A4 white paper in half to make A5, but you can use any really)
A pen

Follow on exercises
Counters or glass nuggets. 
I love glass nuggets for these exercises because of their weight, the pretty colours and they are tactile. They are a choking hazard (and breakable if dropped on a hard floor) so children need to be supervised carefully when they are used.

The basic exercise for number recognition set up ready to go with washi tape, sticky dots and paper with numbers written on

Basic Exercise: Number Recognition With Stickers

This exercise helps children to recognise numbers and how they are written. The child is encouraged to cover the written number with stickers.  For the straight line parts of the number use washi tape and for the curves sticky dots.

Write the numbers 0 to 9 on separate pieces of A5 paper, the ideal height is about 15cm tall.
Cut small pieces of washi tape (around 3cm long) and stick on the edge of the table.
Place a sheet of sticky dots on the table.

The Exercise
For numbers 0, 3 and 8 they should use sticky dots to cover the line.
For numbers 1, 4 and 7 they should use washi tape to cover the line.
For numbers 2, 5, 6 and 9 they should use both sticky dots and washi tape.

Most children wont want to do all of the numbers in one sitting so start with one number from each category e.g. 1, 2 and 3.

A toddler Sticking washi tape on the straight line parts of the number 5

Toddler holding up a sheet of paper with the number 7 covered in washi tape

Follow On Exercises

When the child starts to lose interest in using the stickers gather up all the pieces of paper with numbers on (whether completed or not) to use in the rest of the exercises.

1. Put the numbers in the correct order

Depending on their age and ability to count and recognise numbers you might want to start with just 1,2 and 3 or the numbers up to 5. 
Mix the numbers up and encourage the child to put the numbers in the correct order.

A toddler pointing and counting the numbers 1 to 5

2. Counting

Provide a handful of counters/ glass nuggets and encourage the child to put the matching number of counters on each piece of paper e.g. 2 counters on the number 2.

putting the correct number of glass nuggets on the correct number

The numbers 1 to 5 with a toddler putting the correct number of counters on each one

3. Retracing the numbers

For the final exercise give the child plenty of counters and encourage them to put them on top of the stickers/ written number. This is similar to the original exercise because it encourages them to look at the shape of the number. The repetition helps to reinforce the original learning.

A toddler next to numbers 1 to 5 with glass nuggets tracing the numbers

4 exercises for toddler to help number recognition from simple sticker exercises to follow on ideas

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