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creating number sense & using the rekenrek

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Helping our children develop number sense and an understanding of relationships between numbers. When a child understand where number are in space, and can relate to that number, they can build confidence and think bigger about the world around them!

We can help our children have a solid grasp of numbers sense in “a number” of ways!

  • Seeing math in the real world, particularly creating opportunities outside and with nature objects will make this experience all the more fun! We have shared many examples of this: Reggio math table, Reggio preschool math
  • Helping your child see numbers or counting things together is a great way to gain understanding without resorting to worksheets!

All mathematical understanding begin with a strong number sense. Here are key concepts your child should begin to master when they turn 6 and are ready for formal learning or kindergarten:

  • Systemizing 2, then 3, then 5! Seeing these numbers in groups without having to count!
  • Mental math problems up to 5, then 10, and doubles!
  • Talking creatively about real life scenarios (i.e. if I had 5 apples and took one away, what am I left with; then do with ways to make number 10).

The Rekenrek is an amazing mathematics tool and it is ESSENTIAL for systematizing fives! This helps your child develop and see number sense in a gentle way, so they can learn at their own pace.

The Rekenrek has built in 5s and 10s, so your child can create positive experiences around learning these number relationships!

We use this all the time, especially in preschool and kindergarten, but truly, they are great for any 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th grader who is still counting their fives (or threes!) and hasn’t quite figured it out yet! Here are some prompting statements/questions that we like to use:

  • How many beads does this show? How do you know?
  • What is one more than this number?
  • What is two less than this number?
  • How many more beads do you need to make ten?
  • Show me five with the beads.
  • Show me six with the beads.

Tell me:

Have you used a Rekenrek? What have been your experiences?

Some free resources for Rekenreks that we’ve found include:

Number Wall Posters 

Rekenrek Flash Cards 

Teacher Prompt Cards 

Sums 0 – 5 

Rekenrek Flash Cards 

preschool rekenrek

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