Reading Two-Digit Numbers: Easy DIY Activity

Our new number blocks

Luke (age 4 years, 2 months) is really into learning numbers up to 100 right now.  I posted before about 3 simple numbers and counting activities we’ve been doing to help him learn his numbers.  His favorite of those by far is the number cups.  We still use them several times a day!

Number Cups: Make any number 00-99

This week when I was at A. C. Moore (craft store) buying supplies to create Lorax characters for our sensory bin, I saw a pack of plain wooden blocks, slightly larger than dice, in the wood craft section.  I think the pack was $3.99 for a pack of 13, but I got it cheaper because I had a $10 reward certificate and a coupon, too.  I thought they would be perfect for another simple number practice activity!

I opened the pack and laid out all 13 blocks.  I got out several different colors of Sharpie permanent markers, and starting with number “10” I wrote one number in order on each of the 13 blocks in one color.  Then I switched colors and wrote the next 13 numbers on the blocks; I wrote the numbers in numerical order, but tried to make my block choice for a particular number random, if that makes sense.  I kept doing that until I filled all the blocks.  I didn’t quite make it to 100; I think I got to 87 before I ran out of spaces.  I may pick up another pack to finish up to 100 and to add in 0-9 as well, but for now, these will provide plenty of practice!

For lack of a better storage solution, right now the blocks reside in a kids’ plastic restaurant cup on our kitchen table.  

Our new number blocks

Luke will take out one block at a time, roll it, and read the numbers.  He’ll stick with one block for awhile usually, which I think is great because he’ll end up repeating the numbers a few times each, and he definitely gets faster and more accurate at reading the numbers the more often he sees them.  

Our new number blocks

He is definitely retaining what he’s learning because I’ve seen a lot of growth in a short amount of time!  

I’m sure we’ll be able to come up with other fun activities to do with the blocks once he’s mastered simply reading the numbers.  Some ideas that come to mind are rolling two dice and doing a greater than-less than type activity, making a tower of blocks by stacking them from least to greatest, or rolling a die and then making that number using unifix cubes, finding it on a hundred chart, or making it using the number cups.  I know Lilah will enjoy getting to use them, too, when she’s ready! 🙂

Side Note:

I find that putting a few learning “toys” on our kitchen table means we’ll see them at least 3-5 times a day and that greatly increases the chances that one of us will pick one up and “play” with it for a few minutes now and then.  I like that this method lends to Luke CHOOSING to learn, because he’s much more likely to retain the information when he is wanting to do it rather than if I were to sit down and “make” him practice.  

Right now the new number dice, the number cups, and two tornadoes in bottles (one original and one with black glitter added) are on our table.

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

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