Teaching Even and Odd Numbers

How to teach young children odd and even numbers the easiest way using simple materials found at home or in the classroom.

Some maths concepts are hard to teach and even harder for young children to 'get'. Teaching children odd and even numbers can be tricky but it needn't be. This is the easiest way I know to teach young children odd and even numbers. It's so easy, I taught my six year old after dinner one night using this approach. It's a great way to introduce the concept of odd and even numbers in early childhood.

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How to teach children odd and even numbers the easiest way - the secret to how to teach odd and even numbers to young children | you clever monkey

This approach to teaching odd and even numbers works because many children are visual learners and the objects and the language used are familiar and relate-able. 

To start, collect 10 objects. 

I chose some of our much loved Happyland people. Place two people side by side. Most young children will be able to tell you how many there are. I don't start talking about two being an even number at this stage but have introduced the concept of even and odd numbers generally as a way of sorting numbers, another number pattern.


The easiest way to teach odd and even numbers to young children | you clever monkey

I start with a pair of people rather than just one as I've found it's then easier for children to see the 'odd one out' when there are three objects or more. 

Then I add one more person bringing our total to three.

'Who is alone?' I ask.

'Who doesn't have a friend?' 
'Who is the odd one out?'
'How many people can you see?'
'Three!'
'So do you think three is an odd number or an even number?'
'ODD!!'

The easiest way to teach odd and even numbers to young children | you clever monkey

Help reinforce the concept by repeating with different combinations of people and invite your child to create their own. You'll also note I've place the figurines in ten-frame order to make them easier to subitise and/or count. Early writers could write the number they see too.

Numicon - one of my favourite maths resources for any Early Years classroom, is perfect for teaching young children odd and even numbers. Again, it provides such a visual prompt to support their understanding of the concept.

How to teach children odd and even numbers the easiest way - the secret to how to teach odd and even numbers to young children | you clever monkey

Numicon is my must have resource as it's good for teaching so many concepts. Just see how many ways we've used it in class.

My nine year old also shared her tip for working out odd and even numbers. She imagines people on seesaws - an even number of people means the seesaw works, an odd number of people the seesaws don't.

The easiest way to teach odd and even numbers to young children | you clever monkey


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