Prekinder to Grade 2 Mathematics


Numbers, Numerals and Digits

Numbers, Numerals and Digits


This is little Lucy. She loves to play with a ball. But she doesn't really have a ball at the moment - she's thinking of the ball, so she has the idea of a ball in her mind. In fact, she has the idea of one ball in her mind, and she wants to chase it!

Numbers are ideas too. They're the ideas we use to count things or measure them. We might count Lucy's ball with the number one, but it is really just an idea in our minds.

If we want to talk or write about numbers, rather than just thinking of them, we need to use numerals such as "1" or "one". But we could also hold up 1 finger, or tap on the ground with our foot once in the same way that some dogs have been trained to "count". Lucy might thump her tail against the couch once if she was as clever as we like to pretend she is.

There are many different ways of referring to the same number. All numbers have names or symbols that we call numerals. Some numbers like \(\pi\) ("Pi") can't be written down exactly in decimal format, but we still have the idea of what "Pi" means, so it is still a number.

Numbers, Numerals and Digits


Numerals are the names or symbols that we use to refer to numbers when we are talking or writing about them.

For example: 17, 253 and seven are all numerals.


Just like words are made up of letters, digits are the symbols that make up numerals.

Our everyday numerals are made up of the ten digits:


For example: The numeral \(867\) is made up of the 3 digits "8","6" and "7".

For example: The numeral \(29\) is made up of the 2 digits "2" and "9".

For example: The numeral \(3\) is made up of the single digit "3".

For example: The numeral \(867,389,272\) is made up of the 9 digits "8","6","7","3","8","9","2","7" and "2".

You can use digits to build numerals that are as long as you like! The numbers keep going on forever and ever, and so do the numerals that we use to write them.

Numbers, Numerals and Digits

The Connection Between Digits, Numerals and Numbers

We know that letters make up words and words are used to describe the idea of something: Numbers, Numerals and Digits

Well, the same sort of thing happens with digits, numerals and numbers. Digits make up numerals and numerals are used to describe the idea of a number.
Numbers, Numerals and Digits

Getting the words confused

Everyone gets mixed up and says "Number" when they really mean "Numeral". It really doesn't matter because people will understand what you mean. The important thing to get right is to use "digit" only to refer to the symbols that make up numerals.

Other Types of Digits and Numerals

There are lots of different ways of writing numerals. The ancient Babylonians used a stylus to make wedges in clay tablets, the ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphic symbols for their digits and the Romans used Roman Numerals. Numbers, Numerals and Digits

Why not search the internet and see if you can find some other different numbering systems? There are heaps of them!


This mini book covers the core of Math for Foundation, Grade 1 and Grade 2 mathematics including 

  1. Numbers
  2. Addition
  3. Subtraction
  4. Division
  5. Algebra
  6. Geometry
  7. Data
  8. Estimation
  9. Probability/Chance
  10. Measurement
  11. Time 
  12. Money
  13. and much more

This material is provided free of cost for Parent looking for some tricks for their Prekinder, Kinder, Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 children



Grade 1/Year 1, Grade 2/Year 2, Prep, Foundation, Kinder and Pre-Kinder

Learning Objectives

These lessons are for kids aged 4-8 with the core objective to expose their brains to concepts of addition, subtraction, division, algebra and much more.

Author: Subject Coach
Added on: 6th Apr 2018

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