My son will be three in August and recently he has been curious about numbers. I haven”t attempted to teach him the alphabet yet, as he has no interest what so ever, so I thought that learning some numbers would be a good opportunity for us to stick a big toe into the world of the written form.
I took this on as a test, I thought I’d introduce the written numbers 1-4 to him and see if he caught on quickly and was interested. If he wasn’t I was quite prepared to put them away for a few more months. I should note, that we count together all the time, so he understands numbers conceptually and can count on his own to 8.
To introduce the numbers I used number puzzles, he loves puzzles and I like the idea of always connecting the written number to the concept (one house, two trees, three cars etc). You”ve probably noticed by now that I’m kind of nuts for multisensory so I embellished the puzzles by tracing the shape of the numbers with the kind of glitter glue you find in a craft shop, and I put a dot on each shape (one dot on each of the three cars etc). This way, we can feel what we are talking about.
When we talk about the number, we practice tracing over the shape of the number with our finger. I use the correct formation and he copies me, so we are setting up the foundations for writing the letters and he is getting an opportunity to feel the shape of the number thanks to my glitter glue.
One thing I learned really quickly is that the monkey has a fantastic visual memory. I realised this the second day when he announced “This is number 5” pointing at the top floor button in our building. I’d only taught him up to 4, but his Dad had mentioned to him what each button represented and he had memorised all their names with respect to the location during the time it took for the elevator to get him to floor 2 where we live. This doesn’t mean that he could actually read the number 5. For this reason the puzzles are great, because I can change the order of them every time we play to keep him on his toes and I can make sure that he knows the letter shape instead of using another clue.
He’s doing quite well and desperately wants to know some more numbers. I’m holding off giving him anymore. As this is our first venture into this world, it’s better to stay slow and keep the experience really positive before moving on to the next step.