Even though Adrian recognizes numbers one through twenty, he still needs to practice writing numbers properly (for example, the number one is written from top to bottom, not from bottom up). We usually pick a number (or letter) of the day, where Adrian would practice proper tracing in his work-book, and then we would solidify what he had learned by tracing the sandpaper numbers, and by "making" that number from marbles, play dough, nature objects etc. I also like to reinforce the quantity vs numeral concept by having Adrian fill in the counters under the corresponding number. We are using spring inspired bird eggs and ladybug counters for numbers five and six. (We did a similar math activity for Easter: read here Easter Themed Numbers Activity 4 = 🐣🐣🐣🐣.)
Besides tracing the sandpaper numbers (buy here), Adrian also likes to shade over the number with a chunky beeswax block crayon (buy here), which is ideal for a younger child as early as one year old, or for an activity, like this one, which does not require precision. (Read here a post Sandpaper Numbers Extensions: using marbles and shading over.) Adrian also likes to refer to 1 2 3 Count with Me book (buy here), where a child by running a finger along large, grooved numbers learns proper number tracing. The book is very colorful and lift-the-flaps offer surprises on every page.
I filled this sensory tray with polenta (you can use sand or flour), to offer Adrian a different opportunity to practice his tracing. Fine-motor memory comes with practice. This tray offers a fun way to learn how to write, especially for smaller children, who can simply run a finger and make a shape or a number well before they can actually hold a pen to write. I lined red cardstock underneath the polenta to give it some color-pop.
Also dot-stickers are a great tool to advance fine-motor skills and facilitate the memorization of number's shape, as the child will have to meticulously trace the entire number with stickers. (For more on marbles and dot-stickers read a post here.)
Spindles (buy here) because of their substantial size are offered well before Montessori colored golden beads (buy here). A smaller child would not even be able to hold the spindles with one hand of the quantity representing number six, as oppose to the quantity of six as beads-bar is less impressible. (For more on Spindle box presentation, read a post here.)
Lastly, we worked with Montessori Teens Board (buy here) after Adrian expressed a desire to work with Waldorf Numbers Cards, but kept referring to fifteen as "five-teen". (More on Teens board presentation here.)
How do you explore numbers? I would love to hear your ideas!