This post is all about math number puzzles – what they are and 5 reasons why they’re a great math activity for young children.
So today’s post is all about number puzzles.
Number puzzles are a great learning tool for young children who are just beginning to build number sense and learn basic math skills like counting and number recognition.
In this post, I’m going to show you what number puzzles are and also tell you a few of the many reasons why I think they’re a great math activity for young children.
What are number puzzles?
So, firstly, what do I mean by number puzzles? Well, let’s take a look at an example.
A number puzzle is like any other puzzle where you try to fit different puzzle pieces together to complete a shape or image. But, (you guessed it!) it includes a number element too.
For example, these dot number puzzles, (which are free to download from this post here), each consist of two pieces – a number and a dot picture. Simply count the dots and match to the correct number.
These are very simple number puzzles for preschool aged children, but number puzzles work really well for Kindergarten, Grade 1 and beyond.
So, why should I use number puzzles with my child?
There are lots of reasons why math puzzles are a great way to reinforce basic math concepts with young children.
Here are 5 reasons why I think they are a particularly great learning tool:
1. They’re fun
I can’t stress enough how important it is for young children to be introduced to math in a fun and positive way.
Math is an important subject that children will be studying for many years. Give them a positive introduction to it by doing math activities with your child that are interesting and enjoyable.
Math shouldn’t be a chore, so if you can, try to include some fun, hands-on math activities, puzzles and games into your child’s day.
Number puzzles are a great place to start!
2. They’re a hands-on ‘doing’ activity
Little children love ‘doing’ activities and they learn so much by exploring using their hands. (If you’ve been in a store with a young child, you’ll know what I mean – they want to pick up every single thing they see, to look closely at it, feel it, and explore what it does).
So, what better way to practice some basic math skills than with a hands-on activity like a puzzle?!
3. Some number puzzles are self-correcting
My free dot number puzzles are self-correcting. That means that two puzzles pieces will only fit together if the math is correct.
And why is this important?
Well, self-correcting puzzles are great for kids in that they get instant feedback. They can see straight away that the math is not correct when two puzzle pieces don’t fit together, like in this image below:
This means no having to wait for an adult to say either “yes, that’s right” or “no, have another try”. This is both empowering and motivating for a young child.
Young children have short attention spans and live in the moment, so having instant feedback really helps them.
The fact that these number puzzles are self-correcting also means that a child is more likely to be able to complete the puzzles independently as they don’t need an adult to tell them whether they are matching the pieces correctly. The instant feedback they get allows them a chance to put right any mistakes they might make along the way. And this leads me rather nicely onto point number 4 below…
4. They’re a confidence-booster
Young children (and the rest of us!) get a real sense of achievement from being able to complete a task successfully. Puzzles are extra satisfying as you can step back and see all the pieces are in the right place – oh, the sense of achievement!
For a young child, finishing a task like this gives them a real boost to their self-esteem. And this is in addition to having practiced some important basic math skills. High fives all round.
5. They don’t require any writing
Now, don’t get me wrong – being able to write numbers is important (and letters, of course – mustn’t forget those!).
But, if your goal right now is to really help your child improve their number sense and get to grips with counting and recognizing numbers, it’s sometimes nice not to be distracted by the writing side of things.
With number puzzles, no pencil is required. Just let your child enjoy and explore the puzzles and simply focus on the math.
So there are 5 reasons alone why math number puzzles are a great math activity to do with your child.
As always, thanks for reading! And happy puzzle-ing….