Children as young as five can recognize sets of numbers without counting. Here are some great activities to help your young ones improve visual perceptual and number sense skills
Stack the Dots
Toss eight to ten dice on the table. Have the child stack the dice with the same numbers. I.e. all die with two dots are stacked in one tower. Die with three dots are stacked in a different tower.
How many fingers
Hold your fists in the air. Flash a set of digits for one to two seconds (example above). Close your fists. Child tells you how many digits were shown (above answer 4). It is critical to only hold your fingers in the air for a few seconds. You do not want to give the child time to count your fingers.
Sort the Dots (these plates each have three dots and thus would be sorted together)
Make dots or put small stickers on paper plates. Use a variety of arrangement for each number (see above). Place the paper plates on the floor. Call out a number. Have the kids collect all the plates with that same number of dots or sticker on them. When using numbers higher than five, I group the stickers in varying sets ie for 5 I might have a group of two dots and a group of three dots on one plate. (2+3=5) I might also have a group of four and then a single dot, (1+4=5)
Roll the Dice
Give the child three dice. Yell out a number that is between three and eighteen. In thirty seconds, see how many time they can roll that number. Ie all the rolled die, added together-equal that number. Increase the number of die to make this game more complex.
Three of a Kind
Give the child six dice. See how many sets of three the child can roll in thirty seconds. i.e. roll three 5s, roll three 2s.
I love early number games. What are some of your favorites?