Making Sense of Numbers: Number Sense

At The Reading Corner, we incorporate building a child's confidence and self reliance into all of our curriculum and instruction.  Number sense is particularly important, because it encourages students to recognize the importance of numbers.  It encourages them to problem solve, and the ability to solve problems promotes their confidence.


Our model of strengthening number sense includes exploring numbers and relationships:  visualizing them in a variety of contexts and number operations. Some of these skills include matching, sorting, comparing, ordering, and, of course, counting. 

The following are a few tips to encourage number sense in a fun, hands-on, engaging way:

  • Using a dotter, encourage your child to dot or add.  Make Q-tip dots of paint to match numbers in boxes. You may use different colored paint in each box, or make a rainbow of colors in each.
  • You can use stickers to match the quantities of numbers. 
  • Give your child an ink pad, and let your child use their fingerprints to stamp dots to represent the numerals.
  • Use manipulatives such as snap cubes, cereal,  or cars to practice counting. Point to a number, and encourage your child to find the corresponding number of manipulatives.
  • Go on a nature hunt. Give your child a container, and encourage them to pick up acorns, rocks, leaves and any other objects they can find. You can ask them to sort, count, or create a pattern with the objects. Fold pieces of paper to represent the number of different objects they found. After your child has counted one object, write the quantity in one of the squares, and put the objects in that grid. You may want to graph the results on separate pieces of paper or line up the objects on the floor, so they can visually see the amount of each object. You may build upon this activity and discuss which object they found more of or less of.
  • Give your child colored blocks.  Write several numbers on a piece of paper or index cards with different colors:  (red, green, blue, yellow). They may sort the blocks by color, putting them with the correct color, or your child could place the correct number of blocks in each numbered square. 

Research has shown that children should be exposed to many different ways to count and to ultimately get to the number ten (10) - which is what we typically do when we add together large amounts of numbers. It's important to give your child different types of objects and manipulatives to count and incorporate different math tools: tally marks, dice, dominoes snap cubes and simple objects.  Use your creativity, and motivate theirs!

You will notice that whenever shapes or objects are grouped together, they are grouped in a certain arrangement. Grouping numbers in these certain arrangements repeatedly helps children move from one-to-one counting of objects to subitizing: instantly seeing how many.

"Innumeracy" plagues many adults because they never were taught the importance of numbers.  The solving of quantitative problems eventually becomes a phobia, and the inability to solve problems injures the development of a person's self confidence and self reliance.  Encouraging your child's number sense in a  non-threatening and fun way will help to make them lifelong learners who love to solve problems!

For more help with numbers you can download our Number Writing Freebie here:

or check out our Number Bundle. This bundle has lots of activities to practice 1-10 Number Sense & Writing. The $3 pack includes:

* Numbers 1-10 Shown in
- Word form
- Number Form
- Counting
- Dice
- Tally Marks
- Ten Frame

* Trace - Write - Draw
* Color by number
* Ten Frame Practice
* Spot it Dot it Number Recogntion
* Handwriting Lingo Cards to practice tracing and verbage for writing numbers 1-10

Buy it here: