Hands On Maths and Numbers for Early Learners

Something that comes up a lot in my sessions and conversations with other parents is - how do we 'teach' kids who just want to touch, squash, bang, run, jump, yell and are basically very IN their own bodies a lot of the time?

There are so many ways to learn the same concepts.  That we expect busy little bodies to sit, hold a pencil, and listen for great lengths of time is plain crazy.  It's the worst part of our modern education system, I think.  (And there's loads of research behind that opinion, but I don't think I need to convince you!)

Here are some of the ways we've discovered numbers in the early learning years with tactile learners:

manipulatives – buttons, coins, counters, Cuisenaire rods, MAB (Multibase Arithmetic Blocks), rocks, abacus, dominoes, sticker spots & stars, anything they have multiple of (favourite toys), lego, blocks

play – games, building, count as you hop, jump & skip, collect, bounce, measure, run, using timers, shops, sorting, ball games, mazes, scavenger hunts and other problem solving

rhyme and song – singing, rhymes, funny stories, clapping games, chanting, stories – add movements!

tactile – draw with chalk on paths, trace in sand, modelling materials to form numbers (or numbers of things, or 3D shapes), use items from nature, papercraft, clocks whose hands move realistically, real money

Tip: put posters on the wall to refer to the concepts you’re exploring with your hands


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