One of the key concepts of math in preschool is understanding that a numeral represents a specific quantity. We have several materials in the room to help children make this connection. Some look like cakes, others like apple trees, and some are simply spots to put with a numeral. Below are two examples of items in the room that children can select to help build this concept.
The materials that Charlotte is using above require a student to count the number of beads and then match them to them to a the number. The numerals are already written in sequential order. Once that stage is complete, students color in a graph that shows how numbers 1-10 create a "ladder" or "stair step."
The item that Ava is using requires a child to first recognize numbers, and then place them in sequential order. After the numerals are laid out button spots are placed to match the quantity.
An additional aspect of these examples is that children use a pinch to move the materials. This is one way of building fine motor strength that is used in writing.