How to Teach a Toddler Number Recognition

By Shelley Frost ; Updated April 18, 2017
Blocks with numbers give your toddler a chance to practice recognition.
Blocks with numbers give your toddler a chance to practice recognition.

Toddlers recite numbers from a young age, but number recognition involves connecting the name with the number when the child sees it. This skill typically takes longer for a toddler to master. The ability to quickly identify numbers helps your tot better understand preschool and kindergarten math activities. You don't need to put your tot through rigorous flashcard sessions to teach him how the numbers look. Everyday learning opportunities that you work into your child's activities help him master his number knowledge.

Cut out each number from 1 to 10, using colorful paper. Hang the numbers in order in your tot's room. Make additional sets of numbers to hang in other rooms. Name the numbers when you go into the rooms or when your toddler shows interest in the colorful numbers. Use the numbers as a game by asking her to point out a certain number. Say, "Can you point to the number 2?"

Write numbers with your toddler in various materials. For example, write numbers with your finger or a stick in the sand at the playground. Draw the numbers with sidewalk chalk on the driveway.

Decorate number cutouts to reinforce the shapes. Cut out the number shape. Let your toddler add stickers, glitter or other art supplies.

Build numbers from other objects. Arrange building blocks in the shape of a certain number. Have your toddler try to replicate the shape with his own set of blocks. Another idea is to make the shape of the letter on the floor using tape. Your toddler traces the shape of the number with toy cars or other toys. While he plays, remind him of the number's name.

Play with toys and games that have numbers on them, such as blocks printed with numbers or a matching game using number tiles. Add props to dress-up toys that show numbers, such as a menu with prices or an old phone.

Find numbers during the course of your toddler's day. Point out the number on a bus, grocery store aisle markers, street signs, clocks, menus, house numbers and food packages. Look for numbers in books that you read to your toddler, or check out counting books from the library.

Things You Will Need

  • Colorful paper
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Art supplies
  • Blocks
  • Tape
  • Toy cars

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.