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what is number sense?

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Children learn best by doing.  Holding and touching math tools and counters allows them to understand concepts.  If they are able to move and manipulate objects, then the information studied will be better attained.  We began creating sums this week without ever seeing a number sentence; we are cognitively developing number sense, rather than rushing into the written work too soon.


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What a joy it is to see a young child begin to learn math concepts.  My son love to count things.  He is counting grapes and legos and trucks and sticks.

This is our math time.  We count, we explore shapes and patterns, we talk about what we see.  My son has never read a number sentence (i.e. 1 + 1 = 2).  He doesn’t need to know what “+” or “=” means right now.  He does, however, need to develop his number sense.


What is number sense?

Number sense is having an understanding, or intuition, about numbers and their tangible representations.

Children learn much differently than adults.  We must get down to their level while they are utilizing these tangible objects (we are using Spielgaben here) and using questions to discover what they are learning, and to further their own investigations.

What are you thinking?

Why do you think that?

How does that make sense to you?

Children who have a solid foundation in number sense will have been given the opportunities and the experiences of using mathematics, and numbers, in their every day lives.  Number sense is to mentally calculate and estimate and to problem solve using given information.

Here is a list of mathematic outcomes your child can discover through playing and exploring with manipulatives such as Spielgaben: 

  • counting and recognizing numbers,
  • learning one to one correspondence (number sense),
  • working on and creating patterns (ABAB, AABB, AAB),
  • sequencing objects and patterns,
  • ordering (smallest to largest, etc.)
  • addition,
  • subtraction,
  • comparing objects,
  • classifying and sorting (by size, type, color),
  • spatial relationships,
  • sorting objects,
  • reasoning,
  • representing relationships, and
  • exploring measurement.


So what did we choose to learn?

Geometric sequencing.

In a geometric sequence each term is found by multiplying the previous term by a constant (x). And, in the case for 2, the constant is also the beginning term.

x, ax = b, bx = c, cx = d, etc.

There are many amazing things to learn about the number 2.  2 is a prime number.  It is also the base for the geometric sequence of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc.

We did start with the number “1”, however, so 1 was our starting number.


We learned that 1 + 1 = 2.  We created two representations of “1”, and then moved on to learn that two “1s” equal one “2”.

2 + 2 = 4, and so on.


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At the end, John asked, what is this number (16).  I did not answer him, but asked him, “how can we find out?” He ran to his 100s chart and counted up to 16.  “Sixteen!” he yelled, excited that he had found it on his own.

We counted two “16s” and he asked, “what do two of these together make?”  We counted each little dot, the first circle was 16, and we added on to discover that 16 + 16 = 32.  We made a 32 on a card and John was proud of his numbers.  We showed his daddy, and dad also encouraged and praised is hard work.

I set up another invitation to explore and learn number sense for later in the day :


Children can, and will, understand these concepts if they are given tangible materials to study and play with.  Spielgaben dots and circles are perfect for creating these sequences of numbers.  The circles keep the dot numbers where they should be without distracting an early learner with “plus / +” or “minus / -” or “equals / =” signs.  We like to pair our Spielgaben counters with our favorite sandpaper cards.


We like to put out a math invitation to learn during our days, to encourage a lifelong love of math learning and fun!


Infinite ways to create and explore number sense

Spielgaben provides children with 2D and 3D representations for endless mathematics learning and play. The possibilities are endless for a broad range of mathematics learning topics: patterning, sorting, counting, geometry, fractions.


What is included in the Spielgaben set?

  • 14 sequential Spielgaben sets made of environmentally sustainable and non-toxic children friendly materials.
  • Wooden solid storage drawers with 8 individual storage containers that stores all of the 14 sets neatly and efficiently.
  • Wooden Playboard as well as Dual Side Non-Toxic plastic playboard.
  • Learning Resources: curriculum based digital learning resources that will help parents how to incorporate play based learning into everyday routine and allow your child to experiment and learn through physical manipulation for many years to come.

Children are presented with limitless opportunities for play and learning with the Spielgaben set — you can read all the details about each set here.  All school topics and interests can be directed like this, through a hands-on, creative approach.  I can’t wait to see what my son is interested in next!!


Want to invest in a learning tool that will last a lifetime?

Spielgaben’s Version 4 retails at US $449.50. My readers can own this new version at 11% off! As a Wildflower Ramblings reader, you can get the discounted price of US $399.50 which includes shipping to the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.  (Canadian readers can email Spielgaben for shipping rates.)  All you need to do to claim your discount is send an email to info@spielgaben.com mentioning Wildflower Ramblings and you will be provided with a discount coupon!

Special: US $399.50 | AU 486 | GBP 270

Please check directly with Spielgaben for current discount available, prices change with version updates and conversion rates.  This is a sponsored post by Spielgaben, opinions are my own.


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