A number line is a great tool for teaching your child (of any age) many different math concepts.
With the aid of a number line, a child can internalize that numbers can be represented as groups of objects or points on a line. Being able to understand numbers and their relationship to each other in more than one format is highly beneficial for deeply understanding mathematical concepts.
There are a lot of great ways to use number lines, too, when discussing mathematical concepts.
You might use the number line exclusively for some things, or, ideally, you can show your child the concepts in more than one way: seeing things from a different angle and with multiple examples (for instance, demonstrating skip counting on an abacus, with groups of candies, and then on a number line).
The number line is great for teaching almost anything related to math:
- Counting. You can teach your child counting with the aid of the number line, and it is a helpful visual representation of order, what comes next, and the numeral symbols for each number.
- One-to-one correspondence. When you’re counting aloud with your child, they learn that you touch one point on the line as you say each number.
- Backwards counting.
- More and less.
- Odd and even.
- Addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
- Skip counting.
- Negative numbers; adding and subtracting negative numbers.
- A great way to discuss the concept of infinity: talking about why you could always add one more point to the end of the line and the counting could keep going.
There are many, many other things not mentioned in this brief list, of course. But suffice it to say, a number line is an excellent addition to any home with young children as a wonderful aid for discussing math concepts!
I have created this free, printable number line that is colorful, cheerful, and customizable to your child’s needs!
- You can start with only one section for your very tiny child (such as 0-9) and add more sections as your child grows!
- You can hang it up on the wall and count it every time you walk down the hallway, or you can keep the sections in a folder and line them up on the floor when you want to talk about math.
- Negative numbers can be added onto the end when your child is ready to learn about them.
- I’ve included a blank number line template where you can write your own numbers if you wish (I’ve included numbers 0 through 159, as well as the negative numbers -1 through -40), or for anything else you can think of.
To download, click here.