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Identifying Numerals

(6 Posts)
barefootcook Sat 29-Mar-14 03:35:27

My DS (5) has been at school for two months and is struggling with identifying numerals. He has real problems with 7-10. He can count to say 8, easily identify a group of 8 objects and if I ask him to find a number 8 on a door he can do that. He can't, however, say that's an 8 if I show him one on a flash card.Is this normal for that age? It seems a little odd to me,especially as he has always been interested in numbers.

columngollum Sat 29-Mar-14 08:01:16

I don't know how normal it is in general. But I do remember years ago when we used to go round visiting schools to find our daughter a place, Reception classrooms used to have learning objectives for individual children on the walls and recognising numbers was a familiar one.

Both of my daughters had trouble with 3 and 7. (I think because they don't resemble anything in real life. But I don't know that. I just made that explanation up.) So, I used to tell them that 3 was a broken number eight and seven was an elbow. It worked. But for quite a while they called 3 broken number eight and seven the elbow. But I guess you can't have everything in life!

PastSellByDate Sat 29-Mar-14 08:37:06

Hi barefootcook:

First off I've found this sheet that briefly explains targets for EYFS (the blue arrow along the side indicating the progression - so bottom of list first steps, and top of list bigger achievements).

I'm not sure whether your child attended a nursery school or play group - but one of the things my DDs did in their last year of nursery was a lot of practice writing numbers/ painting numbers/ etc....


play board games (dice will teach up to six for one die and up to 12 for 2 dice) - Snakes and ladders is very useful for learning to count to 100.

play snap with an ordinary deck of cards. Ace = 1, 2-9 as numbered and Jack/ Queen/ King = 10. They also have numbered 1 - 10 snap decks - try Early Learning Centre or maybe a big newsagent.

Try pouring objects, sweets, pebbles, etc... out on a table and encourage your DC to make piles of a certain number. So encourage them to count 9 pebbles and make a pile of 9. Then ask how many piles of 9 that might be.

Baking is brilliant - lots of counting involved. You can talk about counting out 4 biscuits/ cupcakes/ etc... for each of you to eat. You can talk about how many cupcakes in a tin, how many biscuits on a sheet, how many slices in a cake.

Have your DC count the peas, sweet corn kernels, carrot sticks, beans, etc... on his/ her plate. This is incredibly useful late for learning how to take away (subtract). We did a lot of subtraction practise during meal times.

There are lots of number books. So you could look to buy or borrow some from your local library (maybe your school library).

Play look for numbers as you walk or drive somewhere- so chose a number of the day (let's say 7) - and have him look around for the number 7 on license plates, addresses, logos on lorries, etc... as you go along.

Have your DC use chalk on pavements to make a hop scotch grid (10 squares in any arrangement - but helps if they aren't all just single squares) - then play hop scotch and count as you hop. You can play either throw anywhere - say the number and count hops to it or you can play work your way up the 10 squares - throwing to 1, then 2, then 3, etc...

Oxford Owl (set up by Oxford University Press Education Department) has a lot of resources for these early maths skills - including fames & free e-books about maths concepts (number, shape, etc...) - you just have to sign up and it's all free. - under ages 3 - 5 there is a counting book - and this might be helpful.

If you have old fashioned wooden building blocks or duplo - have your DC build a tower and when it topples have him count how high (how many blocks/ bricks) it was.

CBeebies has a number of counting games to play on line for practise:

show me show me counting game:

Charlie and Lola counting game:

I heartily recommend Woodlands Junior school Maths Zone: - as a first port of call for ideas for practising maths concepts.

This may be too tricky just now (as your DC is only just learning to count) - but once they've mastered counting to 10 or even 20 - these counting in interval games (spooky counting games) are a nice next step:

In the US PBS Kids (roughly equivalent to CBeebies) has a lovely range of counting games which we can also access here: - The curious George Museum of Tens game is really useful for working those number bonds to 10.

BBC Bitesize KS1 (so this is preparation for KS1 SATs in Y2) - has math games which also may be of help. Animal island data is about recording how many of each animal there are - numbers are provided. You might have to help your DC - and select 'medium' skill level at first - but it will help him to learn to count specific objects out of a group of different objects.

It may seem silly doing all this counting out loud - but at this young age it's probably one of the most important things you can do to help your DC build up his concepts of numbers and their meaning.


PastSellByDate Sat 29-Mar-14 08:37:59

Oops lost the line with the link to EYFS targets: here it is:

PastSellByDate Sat 29-Mar-14 08:41:55

DH just drifted by and reminded me of a great game we invented for counting for DD2. We made chalk grids on our patio of 10 (and later 20) squares and played in one of two ways:

Target throw (with small cuddly toy/ bean bag/ ball) on a specific square (next player in game names square for you to throw on)

Counting up throw - you have to throw into square 1, then square 2, then square 3, etc.... You keep throwing until you miss. (they got good at throwing so we played if you made your target you had to take a step back to spice it up later).

barefootcook Sat 29-Mar-14 18:39:00

Thank you all. Your suggestions are really helpful. We will get started this weekend.

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