Helping Pre-Schoolers Learn Numbers to 5

As lockdowns, quarantines and restrictions have swept the world, my teaching skills have been put to the test in ways I hadn't anticipated. Teaching a pre-schooler at home and getting them school-ready and motivated when they are with you 24 hours a day is a challenge. I take my hat off to dedicated homeschoolers. I have had to be creative and realise that little ones need short spurts of learning rather than long sit down lessons. This will vary, of course, depending on the personality of your child. Of course from being in the classroom, this is all very obvious but the reality of being at home with your little ones all day, the learning time can stretch out indefinitely and children feel that. They know when you are trying to 'teach' and might run a mile. So shorter lessons than you would expect in school or nursery is one way to tackle this learning fatigue.

This is a simple activity to reinforce counting to 5. Cut out numbers from 1 - 5. You can print them or draw them. Try to incorporate other skills such as using scissors. I cut the numbers into long strips and let my son cut them in to squares for a later consolidating activity (will publish later).

Tips: For reluctant or distracted learners.

  1. Set time limits. "You have 5 seconds to find 1 car." This is preferable to "find 1 car" as they can take all day and the task seems endless for them. You can use a child safe sandtimer.  *

  2. Some children will not be enthusiastic at first, you have to fake it 'til you make it! Don't make a big deal if they are resisting - distraction is key and keep the activity fast paced. Remember the objective isn't to get them to love the activity and to behave as if they are in the ideal classroom situation. It's simply to reinforce counting to 5.

  3. Have all equipment to hand so that there is no gap or delay in the game.

  4. Take photos of accomplishments - stick them in a book or on the fridge. Praise. Stickers work well. An exercise book where you stick pictures daily or little activities is one way of recording their progress so you can see how far they have come. This is optional of course!

  5. Use objects they like. If they like cars or playmobil figures etc go with that.

  6. Often I'll have a short video ready on the tv from Youtube to reinforce what we have just done. Pop your child on your knee if they are comfortable and make it a nice bonding time and sing along to the counting. If they are not that into it, they are still being exposed to counting and will absorb the information in their own time.

  7. Small short burst activities work as well as long activities as you give your child time to play and explore. Creating an atmosphere for a love of learning is very important. You are the expert on your child. Quality over quantity.

  8. If you are learning numbers to 5 and you find a video that goes up to ten, there is no problem with this but remember your child can switch off. Set a goal or objective for the mini lesson so that you don't get a head of yourself and children burn out or feel overloaded.

Resources: Here is a great video for reinforcing counting to 5:

Counting 1 to 5 | Number Songs | PINKFONG Songs for Children

Remember: Check all videos before showing them to your children to ensure that they are suitable and in line with your own personal value system. Don't forget pop-ups! If you are babysitting another friends child - ensure that what you are watching is in a child safe platform. Youtube kids is a good way around this.

* Disclaimer, any recommendations are just that and please test out any equipment, activities websites yourself to ensure they are suitable for your class or child / children. Always ensure children are supervised by a responsible adult.