My Reception DS needs help with numbers

You & your kids 

My DS (4 and a half)  started Reception in Sept, has made lots of friends and seems to be very happy.  His TA came to find me the other day to tell me that he's struggling to recognise numbers and that it would be good if I did some more work with him on this at home.   I'm really glad that she told me, as whilst I've been enthusiastically reading with him since he was tiny, I now realise that I've hardly done anything with him involving numbers, apart from the odd rendition of '12345, Once I caught a fish alive'!  
  We haven't been given any 'homework' as such, so I'm looking for some ideas for games or activities I can do with him.  I've downloaded the lovely resources on this site (thank you School Run!) but would welcome any other suggestions.  Many thanks.


Cut sandwiches into quarters and talk about how many pieces there are, how many he has eaten etc.  Also makes a great introduction to fractions - halves and quarters.

Just introduce numbers into your general talk - count toys as he puts them away - you put 3 away and then I'll do 4.

board games are best though, especially ones that involve shopping aswell!

(I bet you can't guess what made me suddenly think of this?)

Advent calendar, with chocolate!
Child has to identify today's date only and gets rewarded with chocolate. Anticipation of tomorrow's date.

here is a reply from my facebook page;
Can't get on the site for some strange reason - but I'd be asking for a test to see if he is dyscalculate. (often goes hand in hand with dyslexia or even hyperlexia). - Play board games that involve counting, card games, play shops with toy or even real money. - Junior monopoly. Get some of those foam numbers that he can play with in the bath so that he can feel the shape of the numbers - make numbers out of play dough, or have magnetic ones on the fridge and have him do simple addition with them. - The ELC used to do a big clock for teaching telling the time that was good for helping with number recognition. Whatever you do - make it FUN or else you run the risk of him refusing to learn it more than being unable to learn it. - Good Luck. x

Thanks again    Have never heard of being 'dyscalculate', Corris- it's really good to have this information in case it does turn out he needs some extra help    He's actually got the numbers 1-5 pretty much down, so I'm hoping that it's just a question of practicing the rest in all the fun ways suggested here 
This has really got me thinking how much emphasis was placed on literacy when DS started school, but how little there was on numeracy      We had a presentation on the  phonics scheme and DS brings home a storybook every night to read and draw a picture, all of which is great, but this is the first time numbers have been mentioned      I'm thinking of asking the teacher if they could arrange a similar presentation on numeracy as it would be really useful to know how maths is approached     Has anyone else had much info on numeracy given to them at Reception level?

I wasn't given any information on numeracy when my kids started in Reception (Foundation as it is now!) but more recently, parents have been invited to a presentation on the 'new' methods that are now taught and a guidance booklet was given out and is now on the school website.

For the Foundation stage it says that children need lots of practical experience for counting and using numbers, and there are 3 aspects to recognising numbers:

Recognising numerals (as labels, to indicate amounts, indicate position and personal significant numbers (whatever that means!)

They suggest dice games, lottery tickets, calculators, wooden or plastic numbers to handle, (also sandpaper/velvet/other tactile materials), calenders, clocks and watches, number tacks and pictorial number lines.

For recording numbers, suggestions are using pre-prepared numerals before they start to write them.  Perhaps he could count small toys (cars etc) and then put the correct number down, or use a toy till to show a price when playing shops etc.

For forming numbers, handle large tactile number shapes, if possible, and 'write' numbers using large movements with paint or in a sand tray as well as pencils and paper.  Also the previous suggestion of making them in play dough.  If you make your own play dough you also need to count the ingredients out, count the number of stirs etc.

By the end   of the reception year, children should be able to do simple addition using:

pictures/marks (drawing more people waiting for a bus or birds in tree etc)      

Signs and symbols ie say 3 and 2 is 5 and then record it as lll + ll is 5  .... leading to 3+2 = 5

Number tracks - count using counters on a number track or pictorial track.

Also to find their own way of recording a sum (using pictures or tally marks) and explain the methods and reasoning orally to the teacher

They should be able to use/write words like more, add, make, sum etc.

Formal pencil and paper methods are not appropriate for this year group.

They should be able to do subtraction in the same ways as above including 'practical activities using objects and discussion.  Demonstrating and modelling with apparatus and equipment.

For multiplication and division, use pictures/marks in three ways:

Repeated adition (for multiplying) ie Tom has 3 apple, Harry has 3 apples - how many altogether

Grouping (division) We have 8 wheels, how many cars can we make?

Sharing.  There are 10 biscuits on the plate, and 5 people.  How many biscuits can they each have?

Really helpful- thanks Jane     It's interesting that 'formal pencil and paper methods are not appropriate for this age group'   I've been trying to get him to practice writing numbers, but I can see that it's more important to be counting out loud, playing games and practically applying numbers to everyday situations
By the by, my DS's TA has been brilliant- she's specially ordered some number lotto games for his group and is keeping me informed of his progress   I'm really impressed by her

how lovely to hear positive feedback about a ta.  All too often here we are busy complaining to each other :)