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Teaching Number Formation for Preschoolers

Written by: Kokotree

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preschool number formation

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of experience, it’s that preschoolers are like sponges. They soak up information at an incredible rate, especially when it’s presented in a fun and engaging way. That’s where number formation comes in. It’s not just about counting; it’s about understanding the concept of numbers, their value, and how they relate to the world around us.

Number formation for preschoolers is a crucial step in their mathematical journey. It’s the foundation upon which all future math skills are built. With the right approach, we can turn this potentially daunting task into an adventure of discovery and learning. So, let’s dive into the exciting world of preschool math and explore the best strategies to teach number formation to our little ones.

Importance of Number Formation for Preschoolers

As we plunge deeper into the subject, the importance of early number formation for preschoolers becomes exceedingly clear. Mathematical understanding isn’t just about counting. It’s about truly grasping the concept, value, and relevance of numbers. Number formation is a crucial bedrock upon which all future mathematical skills rest. Let’s delve into some specifics.

Benefits of Teaching Number Formation

Teaching number formation isn’t merely a learning milestone—it’s a launchpad for cognitive development. First, it plants the seeds of numeracy, laying the groundwork for understanding mathematical relationships and functions. It also bolsters problem-solving skills; young minds begin to apply logic and reasoning when they understand how numbers interact.

The capability to write numbers also boosts fine motor skills. As those little fingers learn to shape the numbers, they’re fine-tuning their control over pencils, which will enhance their handwriting skills over time. Lastly, learning about number formation can nurture confidence in preschoolers. They’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and competence as they master new skills.

Developmental Milestones

Mathematical learning in preschoolers usually unfolds in a predictable sequence. Here’s a quick summary of the key developmental milestones linked to number formation:

2-3 yearsStarting to recognize and name some numbers.
3-4 yearsBeginning to match numbers to quantities. Also, they often start writing some numbers.
4-5 yearsMost children can count up to 10, and are starting to write numbers up to 5.

This journey of discovery, filled with moments of triumph and challenge, guides preschoolers towards the world of mathematics on a path of fun and engagement. It’s an adventure worth embarking on, not just for mathematical prowess but for the holistic development it promotes.

Techniques for Teaching Number Formation

As an experienced blogger in child education, I’m always on the hunt for effective and entertaining methods that stimulate young minds while teaching crucial skills. Remember, kids are naturally curious, so, with the right approach, teaching them about numbers can be a fun and engaging adventure. Here are some of my favorite techniques for teaching number formation to preschoolers:

Using Tracing Activities

Tracing is a classic teaching exercise that’s proven to be highly effective. From the basic circle, which represents zero, to the more complex ‘8’, tracing activities help children learn about different numbers in an interactive and tactile way.

This not only introduces preschoolers to the fundamental shapes of numbers but also aids their fine motor skills. You can use standard sketching tools such as crayons or colored pencils, or take it a notch higher with sand trays or finger paints for an added sensory experience.

Incorporating Fun and Games

Games create a delightful learning environment that fuels interest among young learners. By designing number-based games, it’s easier to subject preschoolers to a mathematical discourse without them feeling overwhelmed.

This could be anything from hopscotch, where they’d have to jump on numbered squares, to board games that require dice rolls. Not forgetting the digital space, there are countless interactive apps designed specifically for preschoolers. These games often incorporate bright visuals with diverse themes to keep children’s attention.

Online or offline, these games capture their interest, putting learning in a more appealing light.

Utilizing Song and Movement

Children are drawn to rhythm and movement. Songs with catchy tunes and repetitive structures offer a fun way of instilling number familiarity. You’ve likely heard of the classic ‘1, 2, Buckle My Shoe’ or ‘Five Little Ducks’; indeed, these are potent tools in teaching preschoolers number sequences and counting.

Including actions or dance movements can also greatly benefit kinesthetic learners. As they bounce around to the beat, these songs can get stuck in their minds, allowing them to remember the numbers they represent.

Let’s keep these methods in mind. They are not only beneficial in homeschooling situations but can be of equal value to educators in kindergartens or daycares. It’s vitally important to choose a diverse range of activities to get preschoolers acquainted with numbers, sparking their interest, and easing their journey into the world of mathematics.

Common Challenges in Number Formation

In getting preschoolers to understand the concept of numbers, several challenges may come into play. Let’s dive into some of the common obstacles teachers and parents may encounter.

Reversing Numbers

Quite often, preschoolers reverse numbers, especially when they’re learning to write them. You’ll observe them writing ‘6’ as ‘9’ or ‘3’ as ‘E’. This happens partly because they’re still developing their spatial orientation. That’s the ability to understand position and direction.

What we need to remember is that this isn’t something to panic about. Reversing numbers is a typical part of early childhood development. Don’t rush them into getting it right but instead encourage gradual improvement. Gradual improvement spells lasting success in instilling a love for maths from a young age.

Confusion with Similar Digits

Syntax is another hurdle in number formation. Preschoolers often confuse similar-looking digits like ‘6’ and ‘9’, or ‘1’ and ‘7’. They may not draw the ‘neck’ of the ‘9’ long enough, ending up with a ‘6’. They may also struggle to differentiate between a ‘1’ and a ‘7’ due to the slight slant in the latter.

As an educator or a parent, it’s vital to employ teaching techniques that aid differentiation. Use diagrammatic representations and other visual aids. Colourful illustrations can also simplify the process, helping learners quickly discern between letters that look alike.

Difficulty with Number Sequence

Next to form, nailing down the sequence of numbers is another common challenge preschoolers face. They might skip numbers when reciting a sequence or mix up the order. It’s not uncommon to hear them stumble between ‘thirteen’ and ‘thirty’ or mix up other teen numbers.

Yet again, it’s important to ensure that children are given the time and space for trial and error. Over time, repetition and engaging number activities can help them grasp number sequencing better. Remember, pressure doesn’t breed understanding but patience does.

All these challenges are just stepping stones in the number learning journey. They indicate growth and development. Overcoming them will make your little ones more confident and adept mathematicians in their future schooling years. Following the best practices of teaching number formation is the key to easing these hurdles. Keep the atmosphere light, inject fun into learning and watch them fall in love with numbers bit by bit, day by day.


Teaching number formation to preschoolers isn’t always a walk in the park. I’ve highlighted the common challenges and reassured you that they’re a normal part of early childhood development. Patience and gradual improvement are key. I’ve also shared some effective techniques like visual aids and engaging activities to make learning fun and effective. Remember, it’s about building a strong foundation and fostering a love for math. With the right approach, you’ll not only help your child overcome these initial hurdles but also lay the groundwork for a confident and skillful mathematical journey ahead. Let’s turn these early challenges into stepping stones for future success in math.


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