I’m hoping that this post, Little Man and the Numbers, doesn’t come across as a little braggy, because it’s not meant that way. If anything it’s written with pride and amazement, because at two years old, Little Man, is in love with numbers, and has been for quite some time. He appears to have a real aptitude for numbers, and takes an absolute delight in playing number games. Anything with numbers is his thing.

It began with him stretching to get at the silver analogue clock on the wall. We would lift him up and he would point to the numbers. He very quickly learnt them. So a new game was born. We would pick him up and point to a number and he would laugh and tell us which one it was. We would count our way around the clock face, clockwise and counter clockwise, and he would recite the numbers. Very quickly he could count up to twelve and from twelve down to one. This was during summer 2016 and he was two at the end of January 2017.

Little Man and the Numbers

At two, he is just beginning to put words together to create simple sentences. He is just starting to get a sense of self-expression. Like other two year olds, he has some linguistic quirks: for instance, he will not say his sister’s name; he calls her ‘girl’. He uses very simple sentences like, “Daddy, poo-poo, nappy,” meaning he’s done one, not me! Or: “Awo, Girl. Cuddle!” when his sister comes home from school. He also loves saying “brusha teeth,” whilst reaching for his toothbrush. He also loves singing his version of nursery rhymes. And recently he’s started sounding like one of the seagulls from Finding Nemo with his cries of “Mine! Mine! Mine!” One of his favourite phrases, though, is said at the end of every episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: “Daddy! Daddy! One more Mickey!” So he’s getting there with the words.

But with numbers Little Man’s right up there; he is well ahead of the curve. Give him the house phone and he will key in the numbers from one to nine, whilst counting them out. When he’s out and about he will read door numbers and count down at road crossings. He also likes to play with the diaries on our phones. One of his favourite toys is a calculator we bought for him. He will key the numbers in from 1 to 8 in the correct order and then hit the clear button and start again. And if you ask him to key in numbers, there’s no delay, and he always gets it right.


Because he loved numbers so much we started looking for other ways for him to interact. His older sister, Fidget, had a number wallchart in her bedroom that ran from 1-100 in tens that we used for her to learn her numbers. Little Man took a liking to it immediately.

He would sit in front of it and read the numbers and we would point and he would answer. So we looked for other way to whet his appetite. It was during this time, mid-December 2016, that I read a wonderful post by Emily on her blog Twin Mummy and Daddy all about number recognition games for kids. You can read it here.

Little Man and the Numbers

Within this post, Emily talked about number flashcards she had bought through Amazon and how her twin girls enjoyed playing with them. My next move was to buy them, and we haven’t looked back. They were cheap as chips and Little Man adores them. They have now become an intrinsic part of our play together. We show him cards and he will tell us what the number is. I lay them out and shout out numbers and he will point to that number.

The staff at his nursery also use flashcards with him and try to catch him out by interchanging numbers, but, if you’ll excuse the pun, he’s got their number. They are amazed that they have not yet succeeded in tripping him up. He also has a toy clock with the hour numbers on one side and the minutes on the other side. He plays with this a lot and can tell you the numbers as hours and also their minute values.

Little Man and the Numbers

The most amazing thing about this for us is that the Department for Education’s Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage states that, as part of a child’s early learning goals, by the age of five they should be able to “… count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number…” Little Man has pretty much nailed this already. At the tender age of 27 months, he can recognise numbers between 1 and 100 and confidently count to 20 and back down to one again.

Little Man and the NumbersThere is a part of me that worries about it being borderline obsession with him, because he does seem preoccupied with numbers. He will watch and read aloud the countdown on the microwave. He also has alphabet and number bath toys, which he plays with every time he is in the bath. This has turned into a game as well. When he holds up two numbers, a five and six, for example, he will tell you what they are. He will then hold them together and say “fifty-six”. If you then ask him to show you sixty-five, he will immediately swap hands and hold up the numbers and say “sixty-five”. He first amazed me with this when he held up two sixes and said “sixty-six”. I then asked him to show me ninety-nine. He looked at them, inverted both numbers and held them up. I was stunned to say the least.

So here we are, amazed with our little number lover. It’s definitely something we will continue to encourage, just so long as he finds it fun. After all, he’s only two.

Any advice about suitable number games you use that we could try would be really appreciated!

Thanks for reading.



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