Preschool number activities: How to introduce preschoolers to numbers

three soft toys served with plates, cups and treats

Teaching kids to count is a good start, but it isn’t enough. Children also need to develop “number sense,” an intuitive feeling for the actual amount associated with a given number. Where does number sense come from, and what can we do to make sure kids really learn the concept of number? Check out these preschool number activities.

Math before words: What babies know about numbers

© 2008 – 2012 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved What do babies know about numbers? Back in the 20th century, people assumed that infants lacked “number sense.” But today’s cognitive scientists have overturned the old ideas. Experimental research reveals a fascinating new world of baby cognition, one in which babies can recognize the approximate difference … Continue reading

Mancala games for kids: Count and capture games that promote strategic thinking

mancala board made from wood

© 2009 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Mancala games to motivate young mathematicians Looking for activities to motivate your school-aged kids to count and think strategically? Try out mancala. Also known as “count and capture” games, mancala games have an ancient pedigree. There is archeological evidence that these games existed in the Middle East … Continue reading

Number Sense: Making math intuitive

© 2008 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved In his excellent book, The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics, Revised and Updated Edition, Stanislas Dehaene argues that kids go astray when teachers emphasize calculation over conceptual understanding. Left to their own devices, kids discover strategies that make math meaningful. Unfortunately, however, kids are often … Continue reading