My preschooler is having a difficult time with understanding numbers. He sees a group of apples but does not know that the group he is looking at is the same as the number 3. What activities can I do with him to help him learn more about numbers? -- Challenged


Number concept development involves learning words and symbols to describe quantities. Children best learn to do this when they handle everyday objects. Sorting activities will help him develop an understanding of collections -- how objects can be joined in collections or separated out and moved into other collections. Ordering activities emphasize the concepts of "less" and "more." Through counting, children come to understand the connections joining the number concepts together. Matching fosters the ideas of likenesses and non-

likenesses between objects.


  • -Sorting involves such simple activities as putting oranges and apples in different piles. When children can place a number of objects together because for some reason they belong together, those children have started down the road to mathematical and logical thought.


  • -Children first learn about ordering by physically putting objects in size order. Then they are ready to extend this concept to number. Begin by having your child find which object is larger or smaller of two paired items varying in size, such as shoes, cups or spoons.


  • -Teach your child to count so he'll learn the names of the numbers. Then have him count a small number of similar items such as pennies, shoes or plates.


  • -You can't assume that your son understands numbers until he can match sets of the same size. If you have five cups and five saucers then you have one cup for each saucer.