Number Lines – Fun Teaching Techniques for Kids

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Create a simple Number Line resource for kids. Number lines are a great resource for helping children learn to count add and subtract. Make your number line, personalise it and learn how to use it. A simple, easy-to-follow video explaining how to make and use a simple number line for kids.

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Maths Number Line | Number Lines for kids | How to Use a Number Line | Kids Number Line | Maths Game

How to teach kids counting by using number lines? Number lines are so easily used with counting and they could be even created and be part of teaching kids new crafts and how to bring out objects they are in need for instead of buying them ready-made.

There are different types of those number lines which we are talking about, those drawn on paper or whiteboard and on which the kids count and do the different mathematical equations, and there are those more creative ones which kids could create all on their own. The number line we are going to create in this video only needs a piece of paper, a straw or a pipe cleaner, a piece of tape, and some Cheerios. This is considered one of the easiest number lines ever created and the kids will love to do it all on their own to use for counting.

Start creating this number line by cutting the paper into a rectangular shape that would be enough for the straw to fit in. Stick the downside of the straw with the piece of tape that you have prepared to let it stay in place and then start inserting the number of Cheerios you want on the pipe cleaner to learn to count and do some mathematical operations. Eventually, kids could show their artistic part by decorating that number line they end up having.

The questions that parents could ask and which the kids could apply and solve on this number line are numerous. First parents could start by asking the child to count the number of cheerios that are found on the number line then they could ask the child to separate the cheerios into half and see how much would that be, they could ask them to add a specific number to any of the two sides and see how much would it end up being and they could also do the same but instead ask them to remove a specific number to learn subtraction, and so on.

This number line is only to number 10 and this is important for kids to pay attention to when they are asked to create their equations. This is one of the other things that parents could ask the kids to do, they could ask them to write a specific equation down on paper and then make all the counting on the number line to check whether the written equation and its answer are written or else wrong.

Number Lines
Maths Number Line | Number Lines for kids | How to Use a Number Line | Kids Number Line

Number Lines: Learn and play

Number lines are usually known to help make counting much easier for the child and thus help them in solving the different mathematical equations which they might be trying to solve (Mental Math for Kids).

In addition to this technique of creating the number line and counting on it using the Cheerios, there is also another one that could be easily created and which also depends on a straw or a pipe cleaner, some Cheerios, and in this case, the need for Play-Doh is important. The play doh will be used as a base to support the straw and then the Cheerios will be placed inside according to the equation that needs to be solved and the numbers in it (Counting for kids).

There are lots of ways to help the child to learn to count and at the same time know how to add and how to subtract, and to help you know any of these different methods, we have brought this number line technique to give you a good and easy idea and also make the kids more excited since they are going to create their number line.

Always give the child the chance to lead, whether in creating the craft or even in the game, just as you are going to ask them some questions and wait for the answer, you should give them the chance to do the same and ask you some questions along the way. This will provide the child with more self-confidence and at the same time will give them the chance to get creative with doing their things.

There are different ways to teach the child to count, it could be even as simple as counting their monster characters and cars for example (Learning Numbers).

Never worry about your child learning something new because they will eventually get there, it might take them some time, but this is ordinary with kids, they are sometimes different and might learn things in different intervals of time.

Help your child to explore the key concepts of numbers, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in maths. Spelling, reading, writing and grammar in English. Help them to develop their imagination and creativity with crafts and to explore a range of skills to cook, bake and create tasty treats and snacks.

Easy-to-follow activities will support you and your child to learn and practice new concepts as well as enjoy spending time together. Help your child to progress and explore and most importantly – have fun!

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The Cognitive, Mathematical, and Developmental Benefits of Number Lines for Kids

Number lines are more than just visual aids; they’re powerful tools that unlock a world of mathematical understanding and cognitive development for children. Here’s a closer look at the benefits they offer:

Cognitive Benefits:

  • Concrete Representation of Numbers: Number lines transform abstract numbers into tangible lengths, helping children grasp number concepts visually and spatially. This connection between symbol and quantity strengthens memory and recall.
  • Building Spatial Reasoning: Moving counters or objects along a line engages spatial reasoning skills, fostering an understanding of distance, direction, and relationships between numbers.
  • Visualizing Addition and Subtraction: Addition and subtraction become concrete actions of moving markers along the line, making these operations more intuitive and easier to understand.
  • Estimation and Comparison: Children can estimate distances and compare quantities by visually judging the relative positions of numbers on the line. This develops estimation skills and number sense.

Mathematical Benefits:

  • Early Number Sense Development: Number lines introduce concepts like ordering, counting, and comparing numbers in a hands-on way, laying the foundation for future mathematical understanding.
  • Understanding place value: Visualizing numbers on a line helps children grasp the concept of place value, where each position holds a different weight. This paves the way for understanding larger numbers and decimals.
  • Exploring Fractions and Decimals: Extending the number line beyond whole numbers allows children to visualize fractions and decimals as positions on the line, aiding comprehension of these concepts.
  • Problem-Solving Strategies: Number lines offer a visual tool for solving addition and subtraction problems. Children can physically move counters or draw jumps to represent their thinking, developing problem-solving strategies.

Developmental Benefits:

  • Fine Motor Skills: Manipulating counters and objects on the line strengthens fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity.
  • Focus and Concentration: Following the line and performing actions on it requires focus and concentration, improving attention spans and cognitive control.
  • Collaboration and Communication: When using number lines in group activities, children learn to collaborate, communicate their thinking, and explain their solutions.
  • Confidence and Motivation: Successfully using number lines to solve problems boosts confidence and intrinsic motivation to learn more about math.

Age-Specific Number Line Activities: Tailoring Fun to Development

Making number lines engaging and effective requires activities suited to each age group’s developmental stage. Here are some ideas:

Preschool (ages 3-5):

  • Number Line Walk: Draw a large number line on the floor. Call out numbers and have children hop or jump to the corresponding spot.
  • Color Matching: Create a number line with colored sections. Give children objects of different colors and ask them to place them on their matching sections.
  • Counting Train: Use toy trains with numbered cars. Arrange them on the line in sequential order and sing counting songs.
  • Number Hiding Game: Hide objects with numbers on them near a number line. Children find them and place them on the matching spot.
  • Number Line Bingo: Use flashcards with numbers and a number line bingo board. Call out numbers and have children mark them off.

Kindergarten (ages 5-6):

  • Beanbag Toss: Label buckets with numbers. Throw beanbags and add the numbers of the buckets they land in.
  • Jumping Frog: Cut out frog shapes with numbers on them. Draw a number line. Hop the frogs along the line to add or subtract.
  • Number Line Race: Divide children into teams. Each team has a counter. Roll a die and move the counter the corresponding number on the line. The first team to reach the end wins.
  • Missing Number Mystery: Write a number line with some numbers missing. Children identify the missing numbers and write them in.
  • Storytelling with Number Lines: Create a story involving characters moving along a number line, incorporating addition and subtraction problems.

Early Elementary (ages 6-8):

  • Estimation Challenge: Show children a distance on a number line and ask them to estimate how many jumps a toy car needs to get there. Then, measure the distance to see who was closest.
  • Fraction Fun: Extend the number line to include fractions. Children identify and compare fractions by their position on the line.
  • Number Line Treasure Hunt: Hide clues with addition or subtraction problems on a number line. Children solve the problems to find the next clue and eventually the treasure.
  • Number Line Relay: Divide children into teams. Each team member solves a math problem related to the number line and passes a baton to the next. The fastest team wins.
  • Create Your Own Number Line: Challenge children to design their own number lines with themes or specific purposes.


  • Adapt the difficulty level and complexity of activities based on individual children’s abilities.
  • Encourage exploration and creativity. Let children invent their own number line games and variations.
  • Use manipulatives, visuals, and real-world connections to make learning engaging and meaningful.
  • Most importantly, have fun and celebrate the joy of discovery through number lines!

Technology’s Role in Enhanced Learning

In today’s tech-driven world, integrating technology with traditional learning methods can significantly boost engagement and understanding. When it comes to number lines, a variety of apps, websites, and interactive tools can transform them from simple lines into dynamic learning experiences. Here’s how technology can enhance learning with number lines:

Engaging Apps:

  • Interactive Number Line Games: Apps like “Number Line Race” or “Counting Train” allow children to manipulate virtual counters or objects on a number line, adding dynamic visuals and gamification elements to practicing addition, subtraction, and ordering.
  • Personalized Learning Apps: Adaptive learning apps like “Khan Academy Kids” or “Math Planet” assess individual skills and offer customized number line activities based on each child’s needs, ensuring they work at the right pace and challenge level.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences: Apps like “AR Number Line” or “Counting Playground” utilize AR technology to superimpose interactive number lines onto real-world environments, adding an immersive and engaging layer to the learning experience.

Educational Websites and Online Games:

  • Interactive Number Line Activities: Websites like “PBS Kids” or “National Geographic Kids” offer online tools where children can click and drag objects on a number line to solve problems, compare fractions, and visualize concepts.
  • Educational Games with Number Lines: Games like “Number Line Jump” or “Number Line Challenge” provide a fun and interactive way to practice skills like estimation, skip counting, and comparing numbers on a number line.
  • Animated Number Line Stories: Websites like “Math Playground” or “SplashLearn” offer engaging animated stories that incorporate number lines, helping children grasp concepts in a fun and relatable way.

Interactive Tools:

  • Smart Toys with Number Line Features: Toys like “Osmo Math Wizard” or “Number Rock” use physical manipulatives and interactive number lines to encourage hands-on learning and exploration of mathematical concepts.
  • Smart Whiteboards and Interactive Displays: Utilizing these tools in classrooms allows teachers to create and manipulate digital number lines, fostering collaborative learning and engaging presentations.
  • Number Line Apps for Tablets: Apps like “Number Line Manipulatives” or “TouchMath” offer touch-screen experiences where children can directly interact with the number line, promoting fine motor skills and visual-spatial learning.

Considerations and Safety Tips:

  • Choose age-appropriate and educational apps and websites. Ensure they align with curriculum expectations and promote appropriate learning goals.
  • Set clear screen time limits. Prioritize other learning activities and avoid technology overuse.
  • Supervise children while using technology. Guide them towards educational options and discuss online safety practices.
  • Consider accessibility and diverse learning styles. Choose tools that cater to individual needs and offer multiple ways to interact with the number line.

Tips for Differentiating Number Line Activities

Every child learns differently, and activities should cater to their unique needs and abilities. Here’s how to adapt number line activities for diverse learning styles and abilities:

Visual Learners:

  • Use brightly coloured number lines and manipulatives.
  • Incorporate pictures, diagrams, and real-world images to represent numbers and concepts.
  • Encourage children to draw their own number lines and illustrate solutions.

Auditory Learners:

  • Read aloud instructions and problems.
  • Incorporate songs, rhymes, and chants related to numbers and number lines.
  • Encourage children to verbalize their thinking and explain their solutions.

Kinesthetic Learners:

  • Provide manipulatives like counters, blocks, or beans to move along the number line.
  • Incorporate movement activities like hopping, jumping, or clapping to represent numbers and distances.
  • Encourage children to create physical representations of number lines using objects or their bodies.

Children with Special Needs:

  • Break down complex tasks into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Offer multiple response options, such as pictures, symbols, or words.
  • Use assistive technology like screen readers or magnification tools.
  • Provide additional support and scaffolding as needed.

Additional Tips for Differentiation:

  • Vary the difficulty level of activities. Offer simpler versions for beginners and more challenging versions for advanced learners.
  • Provide different types of activities to cater to different interests. Some children may prefer games while others prefer puzzles or projects.
  • Allow children to choose their own manipulatives and tools. This helps them feel ownership and engagement in the learning process.
  • Focus on individual progress and celebrate effort, not just achievement.
  • Collaborate with teachers, therapists, or other professionals to develop personalized learning plans.


What are the benefits of using number lines for kids?

Number lines offer a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Stronger number sense and understanding
  • Improved spatial reasoning and visualization skills
  • Development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Enhanced problem-solving abilities and critical thinking
  • Increased confidence and motivation in learning math

What age groups are these activities suitable for?

The activities suggested in this article are adaptable for children from preschool (ages 3-5) to early elementary (ages 6-8). You can adjust the difficulty level and complexity to suit each child’s developmental stage.

How can I integrate technology into number line activities?

Consider educational apps, interactive websites, AR experiences, smart toys, and touch-screen manipulatives. Remember to choose age-appropriate options, set screen time limits, and supervise children while using technology.

What if my child has special needs?

This article provides tips for differentiating activities based on learning styles and abilities. Additionally, it encourages collaboration with professionals to develop personalized learning plans.

Where can I find more resources for number line activities?

This article serves as a starting point, but you can explore educational websites, libraries, toy stores, and online forums for additional ideas and printable resources.


Number lines are more than just lines on a page; they’re powerful tools for unlocking mathematical understanding and igniting a love for learning in children. By incorporating engaging activities, real-world connections, and technology integration, you can transform number lines into a dynamic and personalized learning experience. Remember to cater to individual needs, celebrate diversity, and focus on the joy of discovery. Make math an adventure with number lines, and watch your child confidently embark on their journey towards mathematical success!

Have you found this interesting? Why not check our articles about addition for kids: Mental Math Strategies, Number Facts, and Addition for Kids.

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