Don’t you love it when you find something that is easy, educational, and the kids think it’s great? I made these number houses for my youngest two (ages 3 and 6) to go with a unit on the postal system and addresses. If you have a wooden train set, these wooden houses go perfectly with that. Or use them with Hot Wheels cars or Playmobil people – so many possibilities!

Deliver the Mail Pretend Play

For our activity, I cut out small rectangles from poster board to be letters. Then I addressed the letters to the numbers on the houses. For older kids, it would be fun to create pretend street names and write out a full address. My goal was for Janie (3) to just match the numbers.

We put the letters in the cargo cars of our Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train set, and Janie and Jonathan had a great time delivering the mail to each house!

Developmentally, this ended up being a fantastic activity. The sorting and the delivering was all such fun!

I found with Jonathan that it was hard for him at age 4 to remember alphabet letters. We would talk about the letter, and he could recognize it, but the the next day he had no idea what it was! At his age I wasn’t terribly worried, but I did find that it helped to give meaning to the letters. For example, we started working on just the letters in his name. If you have a child who is struggling to remember his or her numbers, I would totally try introducing a playful activity like this! It gives kids a fun reason to remember which number is which. Obviously, this is not teaching the value or the numbers, but for recognizing the numerals this is great!

How to Make the Houses

I’m so thankful to have big kids now! I asked Aidan (high school) to cut these out for me since he is taking a wood shop class this year. In 15 minutes, he had used our miter saw to cut out a dozen little houses! The younger kids and the neighbor kids helped me sand them, which was a fun skill right there.

Then I painted the houses with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint has a tendency to chip off, so even though it does adhere to wood better than rocks, I decided to do a coat of varnish just in case.

More Learning Ideas:

• Match toy people to the houses. For example, put 3 people in front of the house with a 3 on it.
• Line up the houses in numerical order. I only have 5 houses now, but I’d like to paint the rest for Janie to line up!