Teaching numbers to your child is one the basic skills needed for school readiness. If you’re looking for how to teach numbers to toddlers and preschoolers, you’ll be happy to know that playing and reading are two of the best ways for children to learn!
As a former preschool teacher and mom of 4, I’ve put together a list of books and toys that my family owns and I recommend to have fun teaching numbers to your child!
Let’s jump in!
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1) The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic book that tells the story of a caterpillar who eats his way (quite literally) through the book. It counts up to 5, but the awesome part is that it teaches 1-1 correspondence. You can have your child touch each item as they count it. The other great thing about this book is that it incorporates days of the week, which is why it is so popular in many Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms.
2) The Very Hungry Caterpillar Number Puzzle – Have Fun Teaching Numbers
If you child loves the Very Hungry Caterpillar book, they will love this Very Hungry Caterpillar Puzzle. It’s a giant floor puzzle that literally runs across the entire length of our living room. My children LOVE this puzzle. The numbers go from 1-20 and when it is complete, my kids can’t help but count over and over as they march past each number. I LOVE when learning is FUN!
3) Spot Can Count – Teaching Numbers
Spot Can Count by Eric Hill is a sweet book that follows a little dog named Spot through a day on the farm. He counts his way past various animals and there is a flap to lift on each page, which is always a hit with my children!
I love that this book is short and sweet, promotes counting, and has great pictures. It’s a book we gladly read over and over! What a great way for how to teach numbers to toddlers!
4) Melissa & Doug Nesting and Stacking Blocks – How to Teach Numbers to Toddlers
These Melissa and Doug Nesting and Stacking Blocks are a great tool to teach your child their numbers! I love how it challenges children to sort from largest to smallest as well as reinforces numbers. All of my kids ages 2-5 enjoy these!
5) Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Reusable Water-Reveal Cards
These Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Reusable Cards are a great quiet time toy that reinforces numbers. Children can use the water pen to paint the cards to reveal the pictures. The cards are reusable, so once they dry, they are ready to be colored again! These are perfect for taking to church, restaurants, or on long car rides.
6) Poke-A-Dot Book – Teaching Numbers
Melissa & Doug Poke-A-Dot books are unique books that make a popping noise when you press the plastic buttons. I love that these books have a simple story line and encourage children to count as they press each dot, which teaches one-to-one correspondence.
7) Baby Bear Balance Set – Teaching Numbers
The Baby Bear Balance Set by Learning Resources is a great toy to foster number recognition. As children play with the bears, they can’t help but start sorting the different colors. I like to ask my children to count the bears as they put them into the balance buckets. This teaches both simple weighing skills, sorting by color, and of course, counting skills.
8) Corduroy’s Numbers – how to teach numbers to toddlers
Corduroy’s Numbers by Mary Jo Scott is a great book with a cute storyline that incorporates numbers. Corduroy walks through a farm, counting the animals and objects he sees along the way. It’s short, it rhymes, and I love that I can ask my kids to count on each page. It teaches numbers 1-10.
9) Monthly Calendar Pocket Chart – Teach Number Recognition
It may be my teaching background, but I can’t think of a better way to teach a child numbers than to hang a calendar in an area where they see it all the time. This Monthly Calendar Pocket Chart by Scholastic comes with number cards and month cards that can be moved around each month. My kids love looking at it and talking about upcoming events. I am convinced this is why my kids were able to recognize numbers 1-31 from a very young age. It’s also a great learning tool for kids to understand timelines and days of the week.
10) The Number Train Puzzle
This Number Train Puzzle by Melissa and Doug is an excellent puzzle that teaches the order of numbers in a fun way. It’s a 20 piece floor puzzle that is 8 feet long when it is completed. I would recommend this puzzle for children ages 3 and up.
11) Curious George Learns to Count from 1 to 100
If you are teaching numbers 1-100, the book Curious George Learns to Count from 1 to 100 by H.A. Rey is perfect. Curious George walks through his town, counting various objects all the way to 100. Obviously, it’s a long book. Sometimes my family reads half one day and half the next day. It’s excellent for teaching quantity as you can really visually see the difference between the smaller numbers and the larger numbers. It’s a fun book my kids look at ALL the time!
12) Wipe Clean Workbook Numbers 1-20 for Teaching Numbers
The Wipe Clean Workbook Numbers 1-20 by Roger Priddy is an excellent tool to teach your child to write their numbers. It’s a wipe clean book, so you use a dry-erase marker to write and you can wipe it clean again, to reuse the pages over and over.
13) Dry Erase Pocket Sleeves
The Clipco Dry Erase Pocket Sleeves are great for placing number worksheets inside and allowing your child to trace them over and over with a dry erase marker. I like to print out number sheets, my child’s name, the alphabet, or mazes to put inside these pocket sleeves.
14) Cookie Monster Number Set
This Sesame Street Cookie Monster’s On The Go Numbers set by Playskool is a fun toy for younger children. The 3-D numbers and cookies pop out of the case and the child can click them back into the correct spots. I love that it helps with number recognition and acts as a puzzle. There is also an alphabet version of this toy as well.
15) Learning Resources Smart Counting Cookies
The Learning Resources Smart Counting Cookies set combines learning with fun! Each cookie has the corresponding number of chips, so the number 1 cookie has 1 chocolate chip and 0 has no chocolate chips.
My kids love to pretend to bake the cookies and often I will request a cookie that has a certain number of chips on it.
Sometimes my kids start looking for each number based on the number of chips they count on the cookie and then flip the cookie over to reveal the number to see if they are correct. It’s a toy that truly makes learning fun!
16) Number Magnets
These Melissa & Doug Number Magnets are a great way to give your child some hands-on learning! This set has enough pieces to create numbers 0-20. There are also pieces to create math problems as your child grows.
17) Melissa and Doug Clock
The Melissa and Doug Shape Sorting Clock is a fun way to teach number recognition, shapes, and telling time. Kids usually go through a stage where they are curious about time, so this is perfect to demonstrate how a clock works, while providing an opportunity to place the numbers in the correct place.
I hope you’ve found some great ideas for how to teach numbers to toddlers and preschoolers.
There’s some amazing toys and books out there to help you as you start teaching numbers to your child!
Don’t forget to use simple everyday items, like counting stair steps as you go up, identifying numbers while you are out and about, or counting out loud to your child as you buy produce at the store.
Also, here’s some free Number Coloring Pages to help with Counting and Number Recognition. Your child might enjoy coloring or painting them after counting the animals!
I hope your child enjoys learning about numbers as much as my kids do!
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