Is your child getting frustrated learning to write their numbers? Learning how to write numbers can be a difficult activity for preschool and Kindergarten age kids. We have a secret for writing numbers that just might do the trick!

Writing numbers - image shows a hand with thumb placed in page and number 5 written around it.
Writing numbers is easier than you might think!

Easy TechNique for Writing Numbers

This tip, from an Occupation Therapy Assistant on Facebook, might be one of the best ones we have seen. Thumb numbers can help your child use their hand as a guide to learn to write.

Related: Over 100 numbers for kids activities for learning

With thumb numbers, your child places their left hand in a rough L shape. Each number they draw is based on using the index finger and thumb as a guide.

Thumb Number Writing for Kids

The top part of the 2, for example, fits your child’s thumb. The L part of a written 4 fits against the L part of the hand. Their thumb points at the center of a number 8.

The Facebook post shows the positioning for each number. Even a 6 fits into the L of your hand with the idea that “Six sits on its bottom.”

Related: Help kids learn number words with this simple activity

Kids can practice this on paper or on a small white board.

Once your child is familiar with the shape, switch the hand for a finger tip, and your child will be able to bring their handwriting down in size to fit a smaller piece of paper.

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1. Number One Formation

The child’s left hand is resting on the side of the page and the index to thumb webspace of the left hand is used to guide the number 1 formation with a pen or marker.

Number formation for number 2 - writing numbers with kids - thumb extended and marker drawing a number two around thumb
Around the thumb to form a number 2!

2. Number Two Formation

The child’s left hand extends the thumb out to a 45 degree angle or so and is used to trace the round upper part of the number 2 all the way to the thumb base and then a straight line extends out.

Number 3 formation - writing numbers - index finger shown with looping number three around it
Your index finger helps form the number 3.

3. Number Three Formation

The child’s left index finger points onto the paper and is used for the upper loop of the number 3. If needed, the index finger can be moved slightly to trace for the lower loop or the child can follow a free hand pattern.

4. Number Four Formation

The child’s left hand goes out for a letter L pattern and the index finger to webspace is used to trace for the left side of the upper 4 and the thumb extends perfectly to be traced for the cross line.

Number 4 formation - index finger helps
Use your index finger to guide the second step in making a number 4!

Now use your index finger to help guide the perpendicular line and you have a number 4!

5. Number Five Formation

Kids can keep that same letter L formation with the left hand and then use the index finger to webspace for the vertical line in the 5 and then circle around the thumb to form the circular part at the bottom of the number 5. Add a horizontal line at top and you have written the number 5.

Isn’t this just brilliant? Let us know if you end up giving it a try!

6. Number Six Formation

The child’s left hand is in the letter L formation and the number 6 shape is created by tracing the index finger and then sliding around the webspace into the thumb with a curve and then looping it at the bottom.

Six sits on her head!

-Kevin Delores Hemann Koster

7. Number Seven Formation

Child’s hand starts in letter L formation and the top side of the thumb starts the horizontal line of the 7 and helps create the angle of the vertical slanted line.

8. Number Eight Formation

The child’s extended thumb acts as a guide for the middle of the figure 8 formation.

9. Number Nine Formation

The child’s extended left thumb is a guide for the circle portion of the 9 above the thumb and the vertical line extending down below.

Related: Looking for a play based preschool curriculum?

Left Handed Number Writing

Keep in mind that the main tip is based on having a right-handed child, using the left hand as a guide. For a left-handed child, they can flip their right hand which seems clumsy, or trace them a copy of their own left hand to use.

More Number Learning Fun & Number Writing Activities

Did this easy tip help your child with number writing?

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  1. Do you have any strategies for teaching left handed students? I have a large number in the class who write left handed and find it very hard to get numbers (and letters) around the correct way.