My goal for my children is to make learning fun; so I am always thinking: what I can do to make the learning process interesting, engaging, and captivating.
Although Adrian could count till ten since he was about two years old, it had nothing to do with the true meaning of numbers. Such counting, to me, resembles a favorite heart-learned poem without understanding its true meaning. Yes, we would count everything: pencils, cars, olives, and tomatoes on a plate, spoons, socks, birds, books etc.. but the next step is to associate counting with symbols. So, since then, we have been working on number recognition. In Montessori Math curriculum, after introducing Numbers Rods at around two years of age, Sandpaper Numbers are generally introduced next, which is a mixture of Montessori sensorial area and math, since the child learns with so many different senses: visually by seeing the number, sensorially by tracing the number (thus utilizing the sense of touch) and finally, by hearing and learning the name of a symbol/number.
Now, at two-and-a-half, Adrian is quite familiar with sandpaper numbers (as seen in this post), so to keep the activity engaging, today, we are using colored marbles.
123 Count with Me Book (buy here ) offers proper tracing directions.
Adrian decides to use single color marbles for each number :) More on using marbles here.
Shading Over with Crayons:
Adrian has been tracing sandpaper numbers with his finger for a couple of months now, but what about using a sandpaper number as a template to "draw" his first number?
We used a paper clip to secure the paper to the sandpaper number (to prevent the paper from shifting around), and using Stockmar Beeswax Blocks Crayons and Stick Crayons Adrian would shade over the number. (The former are chunky wax blocks, which are ideal for younger children as early as one year old, while the latter ones resemble more a crayon and offer more color options.)
Next, what about painting numbers with water?
See here a post "💧Water 🖌️ Brushing 🔢 Numbers."
For more on math, please read here "The Early Math post, which explains briefly which Montessori materials are to be introduced first and in what order. The post also features our first lesson on number recognition and quantity association.