How to encourage children to take an interest in number.

A creative approach to teaching maths will help children develop curiosity and intuition about numbers. As teachers of little children, we can find creative ways to encourage a love for numbers and guide children to reasoning logically about numbers. We can promote interest in numbers and create ways so that our pupils become attuned to patterns that can be generated with numbers.

For example, using a ‘number spotting activity’ will help the children notice and discuss numbers. Give the children a number, 8, for example to spot in the environment. Challenge them to notice how many ways they can find that number. You can hope for varied responses for example, ‘there is number 8 on my TV remote, there are 8 bedrooms in my house, I have 8 cousins, there is an 8 on my mum’s car, 8 is the second digit of my dad’s mobile number…

If you repeat this kind of activity regularly, you will notice that the children will become more observant and they will become more inventive in their search. In the long run, children who have a ‘feel for’ numbers will find it easier to make sense of calculations rather than blindly follow a taught procedure. This ‘feel for’ numbers or ‘intuition’ for numbers should start from early education. Here are some ideas to promote early number intuition:

1.       Count how many steps it will take to walk all the way around the playground

2.       How many branches are on that tree? How many leaves do you think will be there?

3.       How many shoes are in this classroom? How many *pairs* of shoes are in this classroom?

4.       What things come in twos in real life? (two eyes, two ears, two hands etc)

5.       What things come in fours in real life?

6.       Play an “I spy” game : Take turns playing “I spy”. Look around the room and say, “I spy something we have two of (or three of)…” It could be pictures on the wall, or anything you can count.

7.       Make a counting book: use some paper and a three-hole punch. On each page have your children draw or trace a number. Encourage them to draw items such as balls, bottles, or emoji faces to correspond with the number. Make pages for one to ten or one to twenty if the children are older.

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