Early Numeracy at Home

Young children learn about their world everyday through play. When children play, they actively discover how things work, explore ideas, develop understandings, think creatively and practice new skills in a way that is fun and relevant to them. When playing, they copy what they see around them in every day life and use it to make sense of the world in which they live.

The following ideas give some simple and practical everyday ways to use play and talking together to encourage children’s learning in early numeracy.


Washing – sort clothing and match socks

Set the table – count the people and places needed. Count the knives and forks needed.

Wash the dishes together – talk about the water temperature.           Empty and fill the sink. Talk about the sequence ie; glasses ‘first’, plates ‘next’, saucepans ‘last’. Sort the clean cutlery, match lids to saucepans, stack plates according to size. Talk about putting them away ie; plates on the ‘top’, bowls on the ‘bottom’ shelf.

Talk to your child when dressing ie; ‘long’ pants. Count the buttons.

Play with magnetic numbers or shapes on the fridge.

Use a calendar to record appointments, birthdays and special events. Talk about the days of the week, the months and the seasons. Count down to special events.

Keep track of your child’s height on a chart or door frame. Measure every few months and compare. ‘You are getting taller’.

WATER PLAY beach play

Play with plastic bottles, cups, jugs, sieves, watering cans, straws and other containers in the bath or sink. Talk about their sizes. Which has ‘more’?  Put ‘more’ in.

Talk about ‘full’ and ‘empty’. Pour water from one container to another.

Add food colouring to water for extra fun.

Recognise that PLAY is the way children learn. LAUGH with your child and let learning be FUN.

Kerryn Bridgman

Teacher – The Glenleighden School

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