I was at Target earlier this morning and was so close to buying a pack of "Number Cards" for my 2 year old, since she is really getting into number identification and counting. Luckily, before I checked out, I realized that I could save myself a few bucks and make math so much more meaningful just by making my own. Do I really think she is going to know/care about the difference between factory-made and mom-made? I think not. Rather than spend the $4.99 on the pre-made cards, I got a pack of blank 3 x 5" index cards. All I need now is a Sharpie. The nice thing about making these homemade cards is that I can:
1. go up to whatever value I want (we're at 30 right now),
2. decide if I want to write only numerals, or words and numerals, or even add pictures (see #3)
3. draw pictures of things that I know she will love! (right now she's in love with Max and Ruby, so I can draw 10 bunnies or 15 carrots or whatever) The fact that the pictures will relate to something she loves will make the cards a positive thing that she really enjoys, as opposed to an isolated math threat.
The possibilities of these cards are truly endless. We'll start with identifying and ordering from least to greatest, but from there, we could do so many different FUN (and educational) things with these cards -- all for the cost of a pack of index cards!
Remember, kids need to make connections to really make learning meaningful. What does your child love? Find out and use that as the base for any learning opportunity!