The Play Room

Toddler Talk: Countdown

Number hunt and matching game

Ramona seems to have a fairly good grasp on letters. Between her foam bath letters and all the reading we do with her (I have a weakness for beautifully illustrated kids books and so sate my obsession by insisting she let me read at least four books at bedtime), she can point out most of the letters of the alphabet.

But numbers ... now that’s a different story. Recently I had asked her about a number on a piece of paper, and I don’t think the little lady had any idea what I was talking about. I realized that, though she can count up to 20, she doesn’t know how to identify the individual numbers she’s saying. Sheesh! Do I really not talk numbers at all in our day-to-day life? Surely I should, since they are all around us and serve so many important functions!

So I came up with a game to play with her that will be fun and hopefully teach her something about distinguishing numbers. She loves treasure hunts of any kind and making collections of things she finds so I came up with just the activity for her: a number hunt and matching game!

I printed out a sheet of numbers from the Internet (but you could just as easily write down each individual number on 10 cut-out 2-inch squares of paper) and cut them apart. Then I went around the house taping them up in various, easy-for-Ramona-to-reach places. Then we went on a treasure hunt for all the numbers, 1 through 10! Finding them in order was not important, but making sure we had them all at the end was. 3 was a doozy: taped to the toilet paper in the bathroom!

After the hunt and after we counted all the papers to make sure we had 10, we worked on matching them. On a letter-size piece of paper (or you could use an old egg carton) I had written the numbers out 1-10. Then we worked on taking the small pieces we had gathered and matching them to the numbers on the whole sheet of paper, saying the numbers with her each time she held one up or made a match.

Who says learning isn’t fun?! We had a great time playing and hunting together, and Ramona got to soak up some new information.

What you need:

two sheets of letter-size paper

marker

tape

scissors

What you do:

1. Write out the numbers 1 through 10 on each sheet of paper.

2. Leave one paper whole.

3. Cut out each of the individual numbers on the second sheet

4. Tape the individual number sheets up around the house where your child can reach them.

5. Have your child go on a hunt to find all 10 numbers.

6. Once they’re found, count them all out with your child to make sure you have all ten.

7. Match the individual squares with the numbers written on the big sheet of paper.

Learning numbers is fun!

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