Are you wanting to work with your preschooler on number identification? Is your child uninterested in flashcards? Try structured play instead. This number identification game incorporates one of my kids’ favorite toys: airplanes! 

We acquired a toy aircraft carrier on a recent trip to a thrift store. It’s the new hot toy in our house and my kids have been playing with the aircraft carrier daily, so I capitalized on the opportunity to play with them and sneak in a little number identification learning at the same time.

Each child selected their own airplanes to use while I placed on the floor some numbers that I had cut from foam sheets.




Using my best walkie-talkie voice, I gave flight orders to the first child: Fly your airplane to number 2!


We played several rounds, with orders to fly to single digit numbers.


Then I made things a little more difficult by grouping the numbers into double digits.



To challenge kindergartner, I gave him multiple flight instructions:
  • Fly to 34, then 21, then back to the carrier.
  • Fly to the smallest number you can find, then return to the carrier.
  • Fly to all the numbers, landing in order from largest to smallest, then return to the carrier
To challenge my second grader, I gave him flying instructions in secret code:
  • Fly to the number that has only tens, and no units.
  • Fly to the number that is equal to double nines.
  • Fly to the number that is 40 minus 6.
  • Fly to the number that is 23 plus 24.

This number identification game is a great example of how learning can be fun. I loved that my kids were getting in extra mathematics reinforcement through play. My kids loved that I was down on the floor, playing with them.

Looking for more number activities? Click here.