Playing with Ordinal Numbers – Math Activities

Ordinal numbers are the words that tell what order objects are in.  First, second, third, fourth, and fifth are the first five ordinal numbers.  While counting is often mastered early by children, it takes longer for children to grasp ordinal numbers.  This means that children should spend more time practicing them.  The good news is that it is easy to use toys to practice ordinal numbers with the following activities.

Math Games – Put the Toys in Order

Start by reviewing the ordinal numbers.  Get out a set of toys that your child likes – plastic animals, toy cars, or blocks.  Have the child set the toys out in order as you tell them the ordinal number.  For example, tell them “put the white car first, put the blue car in the second spot” and so on until you have reached either the tenth or twentieth spot.  Practice counting those toys using ordinal numbers and pointing to each toy as you count.

Once the toys are in order, ask you child different questions about the order of the toys.  While there are many questions you could ask, here are some general ideas for you:

• What position is the blue car in?
• Where is the zebra in line?
• Which animal is second?
• Which car is in the fourth spot?

This is also a great time to practice first and last as well.  Keep asking questions using all of the positions or until you feel that your child is answering most of the questions correctly.

Drawing with Ordinal Numbers

Another fun way to practice this concept is to draw 10 or 20 lines in a row on a piece of paper.  Then have your child draw what you tell him in the place that you tell him. This allows you to practice putting items into position even when given out of order. (For example, you could start with drawing a smiley face in the third spot, then a star in sixth position, and next the sun in the ninth spot.)  Continue naming objects to draw until all the spaces have been filled.

Ordinal numbers activities can be fun when you use things that children think are fun anyway like toys and drawing.

How do you practice ordinal numbers at home?

Check Smart Tutor Elementary Math Curriculum and Free Math Games

Photo by Nesson Marshall