The concept of zero is usually harder than counting and other early number concepts. Thus, we usually introduce it only after a child has understood the value of numbers to some extent. The difference between 0 and other numbers is that all of the other numbers have a tangible visual form, whereas 0 does not.
Some children really struggle to understand that 0 means nothing. Here are a few number zero preschool activities that you can use to teach and reinforce the zero concept. We first associate the number 0 with empty and nothing, and slowly help them understand the relation of 0 with other numbers.
Bowls and Number Cards
Make a few cards with 0 written on them. Take a set of 8-10 bowls and arrange them in a line. In a few of the bowls place a piece of candy, or any other object. The child needs to place the number 0 card in front of the bowls that are empty.
Paper Cups and Branches of Leaves
For this activity, fill paper cups with sand and place 8- 10 of them in a line. Place a twig with leaves in each cup to make miniature trees. On some of the trees, remove all the leaves. The child has to place the number 0 card in front of the trees that have no leaves.
Trees with Apples Pictures
This activity can be done as a bulletin board activity, a white board activity or even a worksheet. Draw or make a set of trees. Inside some of the trees, draw some apples. The child is to write the number 0 under the trees that have no apples.
This activity is very easy to make and hardly requires any space. Keep a lot of pennies, or even checkers counters, available for this activity. On a sheet of paper, draw a grid of squares. Inside every square write a number between 0 and 5. The child has to see the number and place the right number of coins on it. On the squares that have 0 written on them, the child must not place any coins.
Here is another game to help children understand number 0. The children must start at the top of the stairs. When you call out “one,” the child must jump one step down. If you call out “zero,” the child must stay where he is. If a child steps down when you call out 0, he is out of the game. In this manner children must try to stay in the game until they reach the bottom of the stairs.
Thus, these are some number zero preschool activities that you can use. Here are some more ideas for teaching math through activities. If you have ideas to add, please leave them in the comments section below.