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Building number sense lays the foundation for flexible and fluent thinking in all aspects of math. It is a group of essential skills that enable children to use and understand numbers, including:

Number sense is not something that can be taught outright. It is something that is gradually fostered and developed when children connect numbers to real-life situations. The more children use and experience numbers in the real world to make connections, the more fluent and flexible they become with numbers. Here are some ideas to promote number sense at home:

1. Count

Have your child count anything and everything!  

2. Counting on

3. Make 10

Ask your child to make 10 in different ways using objects.

4. Skip count

5. Make a number using objects

6. Group items by characteristics and count/compare

7. Estimate

Have your child guess how many objects there are. Then count how many are actually there. Were there more or less than your guess?

8. Even or odd?

Have your child sort objects into pairs.

9. What number am I?

10. Make change

Have your child count the change at the store.

11. Cook together

12. Mental Math

Whenever possible, have your child do the math in their head using what they know already.

The best way to foster number sense is to create an atmosphere of fun and excitement around learning math and using numbers.  Anything can become a math exercise! The experiences that they have with you using numbers will help them make meaningful, life-long connections to mathematics.

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