Kindergarten Number Sense

Without a solid understanding of number sense, children will struggle with math throughout their entire academic career.   As educators, we have the opportunity to provide students with a great start by ensuring they begin their school lives' with a strong foundation in number sense.  For Kindergartners, number sense entails recognizing numerals and learning to write them; learning to skip counting by twos, fives, and tens; recognizing more and less when comparing two sets of objects; and recognizing ordinal numbers.  The following resources are designed to help you, the teacher, develop these skills in your Kindergarten students.

My picks for the five BEST Number Sense books for your Kindergarten classroom, in no particular order:

  1. One Child, One Seed by Kathryn Cave, photographs by Gisele Wulfsohn – This great counting book serves to help children develop number sense as they see the word, numeral, and pictorial representation of each number from one to ten.  The book is set in South Africa, so children get to see a little about life in another culture.  It is a great book for cross-curricular learning.
  2. Anno‘s Counting Book written and illustrated by Mitsumasa Anno – This book has no text: each two-page spread shows the numeral, a Unifix Cube representation, and a beautiful illustration that becomes more and more complex as the book progresses.  Children will delight in counting all of the different items that add up to the number on the page.  Introduces the numbers zero through twelve.
  3. 10 Little Rubber Ducks written and illustrated by Eric Carle – Based on a true story, this counting book follows 10 rubber ducks as they float in the ocean and drift off one by one.  It is an exciting adventure that helps children practice counting and introduces ordinal numbers.  From the author/illustrator of the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the artwork is gorgeous. It is also available in Spanish.
  4. Turtle Splash!  written and illustrated by Cathryn Falwell – This rhyming book introduces the concept of counting backwards from ten. The rhyming verse is a great way to make cross-curricular connections between math and language arts.  The illustrations and concepts presented make it a wonderful addition to any Kindergarten classroom.
  5. The Cheerios Counting Book written and illustrated by Will and Barbara McGrath – A great book for sparking interactive, hands on counting exploration!  Each number one through ten has it's own page with numeral and pictorial number representations.  The numbers eleven through twenty are all represented on one page.  Children also get experience with counting by tens to 100.

My picks for the five BEST Number Sense website games for kids, in no particular order:

  1. Give the Dog a Bone – This game has children locate numbers between one and one hundred on a blank Hundreds Board.  A timer set for sixty seconds, and there are ten "hidden" bones on the board.  Children can increase their familiarity and level of comfort with the Hundreds Board as they rely on their knowledge of the board and it's patterns to find the number quickly.  This game is great reinforcement for students who already have a strong number sense.  There are sound effects, but they are not critical to the game, so you can choose to either mute or provide earphones for your students
  2. How Many Ants Do You See? – A great game for beginners!  Children are given a set of numbers one through ten.  A certain number of ants march across the screen, and the student has to choose the correct number.  As the mouse scrolls over each number, the computer says the number out loud, so students struggling with recognizing numerals can get more practice.  The sound effects are needed, so provide students with earphones.
  3. Hang Them Out to Dry – This is a great game that has children hang shirts out on the wash line in the proper number order.  You can direct students to choose from the following game levels: "Numbers 1-5", "Even numbers to 10", "Odd numbers to 10", and "Selection to 20".  No sound effects on this one, so no need to mute or put on headphones.
  4. Big Bird’s Numbers – Incorporating the well-known Sesame Street Character, this game helps build students' number sense and keyboard skills at the same time!  Big Bird walks children through the numbers one through nine, giving the numeral and visual representations.  Each time a child types a new number using the keyboard, Big Bird counts from one to that number.  Great for beginners, but you must provide headphones as the audio is essential!
  5. Which Number Is…? – This basic skill game asks student to identify which of the three numerals on the screen match the number said aloud and written in word form.  The numerals are not in any particular order, which provides an additional challenge for students.  Students will need to have headphones to play the game.  There is a small banner ad across the top, but it is text only and children/school related. 

Take a look at the following FREE resources for lesson ideas, worksheets, and more!

  1. Free Kindergarten Worksheets – This site has great number sense reproducible worksheets for practicing writing numerals, count, and more!  Includes ocean and spring theme worksheets.  Good resource when worksheets are needed in a hurry
  2. Math Worksheet Wizard – This worksheet generator creates custom math games at the touch of a button.  Includes BINGO, number spinners, count and write, number lines, and trace the numbers.
  3. Counting and Number Lesson Plans – Lots of lesson plans to introduce number skills concepts to Kindergartners.  Lessons include objectives, materials needed, and an outline of the lesson.  Many of the lessons include manipulatives, books, and games.
  4. Number Sense Everyday – General information about what number sense is and suggestions on how to best develop it in your students.  
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