A card game for 3 – 6 year olds
Research has shown that children as young as two are already able to differentiate between larger and smaller amounts, even though they cannot necessarily give an accurate account of the number. We need to draw on this natural ability and harness it in teaching them about quantities at a young age.
It is on this basis that QUANTIFEEL has been developed. The central aim of the game is to give children the opportunity to visually and cognitively develop a feeling for the quantities of one to ten (and combinations thereof) without involving any symbols. Learning numbers is quite a complicated procedure actually when broken down into the three main characteristics of a number:
Quantity (or value)
Label (or name)
Symbol (or formal representation that universally depicts the number)
Numbers also have both ordinal (first, second, third – related to order) and cardinal (value related) functions. This game allows children different activities and opportunities for exploring and learning both these functions.
My underlying belief (inspired by the work of Professor Piet Human and colleagues at the Ukuqonda Institute) about developing a good number sense is that we traditionally have the order wrong in teaching children the names (or labels) of numbers, and then the quantity and symbols attached to these names. In our research and experience, the more beneficial trajectory is to rather let children develop their recognition and feeling for the quantities visually (and using other senses), then give these quantities names (or labels) verbally before only later in Grade 1 introducing the symbols, which are formal representations used to depict the quantities. The symbols will have little purpose if the children do not have some sense of the value each symbol represents and how to order them.