My two year old is learning to count, but when he gets up into the teens, he gets a little confused.  13, 14, 16, 19, 20!

As kids are learning to count those teen numbers can get pretty confusing.  But they are not just confusing to count off, it is also difficult to understand what the numbers represent.

In order to build number sense, kids need to learn how to represent numbers.  That means knowing that 13 is ten and 3 more.

Whenever kids practice counting objects up to 20, it is always a good idea to group the objects into 10 and some more.

Here are some games and activities you can do to practice number sense at home.

  1. Number Scavenger Hunt
    • Give your child a challenge
      • Can you find 13 things that are blue?
      • Can you find 11 things that are smaller than an apple?
      • Can you find 16 things that have stripes?
    • After they collect the objects, count them to make sure they found the number.  Group them into 10 and some more.
    • Tip: Make it fun by playing along.  Have your child give you some challenges.  Set the timer.  Kids always love a race! (ex: Can you find 13 things that are blue in 3 minutes?)
  2. Guess How Many
    • Draw some dots in different arrangements and have your child guess how many you drew.  Then, group them into ten and some more.  Count ten.  Count the rest.
      • Practice counting on (not always starting at 1).  When you make a group of ten, you don’t need to count the ten again.  Say 10.  11, 12, 13.
      • Ask, now, can you show me 10? Cross out or cover up objects until you have ten left.
    • OR Gather some objects.  Put them in a bowl, bag, or in your hand.  Guess how many.  Then group them into ten and some more.  DSC04615
      • Practice counting on.
      • Take away until you have 10.  Have your child guess how many they need to take away to make 10.  Then, check.
        • Ex: You have 13.  They say you need to take away 3 to make 10.  Take 3 away and recount to confirm you have 10 left.
  3. Check out this $1.00 printable pack in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  There are 10 pages that practice building number sense with the numbers 11-20.   Slide1
    • These printables practice:
      • counting 1:1 (counting accurately by touching each object while counting)
      • counting with different sequences of numbers (starting and stopping at different points)
      • decomposing a number into ten and some ones (14 is 10 and 4 ones).

Playing these games with your child will be so important in building their understanding of numbers.  Have fun!