Isn’t it just the cutest thing to see when your toddler holds up their fingers to show a number? But if they are not already saying their number 1-10, or cannot count things before them, worry not! We’ve got you covered with the quickest way to teach your child how to count, and the easiest and most fun methods for your child to learn all about numbers!
When To Start Teaching Counting To A Child
Your child will first encounter numbers when they go to kindergarten, where they will be taught the basics of numbers and counting. After they reach the first grade, they will learn numerical concepts like addition, subtraction and comparing whether one number is greater than or less than the other. However, early learning of the basics at home ensures that your child is better prepared to understand these concepts in school.
The right time to introduce your tiny tot to the huge world of numbers and counting is when they are about three years old. At this age, your little one has learnt to recognise and identify many, many, many objects in the world around them. How many? Let’s have them count on their own!
Benefits of Teaching Counting To Young Kids
When numbers are introduced at an early age, young kids learn much more than merely 1..2..3… Here are some of the benefits of teaching pre-schoolers how to count:
- It boosts their memorising skills
- Children learn about the concept of ‘more’ and ‘less’
- Early step into the idea of an order or sequence
- Learning numbers and counting sets the base for analytical thinking.
- Makes kids ready for advanced math concepts that are introduced in school
- When the foundation of numbers and counting is strong and fun, math homework of the future will never be boring!
Best Ideas & Activities To Help Your Child Learn To Count
Are you looking for some easy ways to teach your child how to count? The trick is to make it fun and involve them in the process. Here are some activities that will make it super easy for them to learn the basics of numbers with a strong foundation.
1. Magnetic Numbers
Magnets are fascinating objects for pre-schoolers. You can use magnetic numbers and a board to teach your child about numbers and counting. When learning is in their own hands, it becomes way easier for kids. And when it is through play, it lays a strong foundation and makes learning fun.
Try activities like calling out a number and asking your child to stick it up on the board. You can also put up some numbers on the board in a jumbled form and ask your child to set them in the right order. Filling in the missing number is another game children will enjoy using magnetic numbers.
These colourful big numbers that can be hand-held are a lot more fun and engrossing for younger kids compared to simply looking at these numbers in a book.
2. Number Cards
Number cards are a great learning tool for children. Through visual illustrations and engaging tasks to do, learning becomes interesting with a strong foundation. There are several kinds of number cards that make learning easy for kids. For instance, the Intelliskills 123 Reusable Number Cards include lots of fun activities for children. They can learn to identify numbers through flashcards, learn to write by tracing, and engage in lots of other exercises that teach them how to count. Sounds daunting for a little pre-schooler? Don’t hesitate as there is lots of space for mistakes. After all, these sheets are reusable! If you don’t succeed at first, simple wipe and try again!
3. Look At Me
The easiest way to introduce kids to counting, is by teaching them about themselves. Ask them, “How old are you?” Show them their age by holding up your fingers, and speaking the number out loud. Let them repeat after you. After a few days, see if they can answer the question on their own, without prompting.
Your child will also enjoy counting their body parts. Let them count and tell you how many fingers and toes they have, how many eyes, ears, hands and legs and so on.
4. How Many Slices of Fruit?
You can also make snack time super fun for your kids by asking them to count how many slices of apple are there on their plate. You can also make it an interesting game by assigning numbers to each slice. Call out a number and let your child pick up the corresponding slice to munch on, while enjoying these counting games.
5. Chew Your Food 32 Times
While they’re enjoying their snacks and fruits, let’s also teach them the importance of chewing their food well. Thirty-two may be a very big number for them to count, however, you can surely break it down for them. Ask them to count 1 through 10 three times as they chew their food. With this, you have successfully made them focus on eating and chewing, helped their digestion and taught them counting!
6. Let’s Dance!
It’s time to let your feet do the talking… or rather counting! Play a peppy song and teach a simple dance step to your child on the beat of 1..2..3..4! Let them count as they repeat the steps and dance on their favourite song. So, what are you waiting for, go break a leg!
7. Organise Your Wardrobe!
Here’s a smart way of including your little one in the major task that is folding laundry and organising it in their wardrobe. Fold their laundry and hand it to them one by one, while you have them count the number of shirts, pants, shorts, socks that they have. Isn’t your little one super excited about having that many lovely clothes? Along with counting, this is a good opportunity for them to learn the very important skill of making neat piles in their cupboard as they arrange their clothes.
8. Let’s Count To 10
There may be several times during the day when your child seems too energetic for you. Take the opportunity to make them count to 10! For instance, does your child want to run away while you are still brushing their hair? Ask them to sit on their dressing chair till they count to 10. Do you hear “mamma… mammaaa…” as your child impatiently calls you while you are busy with something? Ask them to count to 10 while they wait for you. Give yourself a few seconds to prepare for the little one’s demands, teach them the value of patience, and make them revise their counting!
9. Count Your Steps
Ask your children to count the number of steps to various spots in the house, and sit back and enjoy watching them practice counting while they take increasingly exaggerated steps towards the dining table, their toy basket or the fridge with their favourite cake inside!
10. What’s The Time? It’s Playtime!
Show your children the numbers written on a clock. Show them how to identify the number pointed out by the hour hand. If you have a fixed time when your child goes out to play, let them keep an eye on the clock and tell you that it’s playtime!
Telling time per se is a skill learnt at a later stage. But children will enjoy being able to spot numbers on the clock and making some meaning out of it.
11. Count The Whistles
Busy in the kitchen and wondering how to keep your child busy? Ask them to count the whistles of your pressure cooker and let you know when there are three.
12. Fun with Skip Counting
You must have come across this term when trying to understand how to teach your child counting. Skip counting means nothing but counting by adding a particular number to the previous number. For instance, if you skip count by 3, you count 1, 4, 7… and so on. Sounds like a tough hill to climb? Let us break it down for you.
Once your child learns numbers till 10, you can introduce the concept of skip counting by 2.
- Step 1: Ask them to count all the numbers from 1-10.
- Step 2: This time, ask them to count one number out loud, and the next number in their mind. Let them repeat this, to observe how they count only alternate numbers.
- Step 3: Ask them to count faster in the next round. Keep repeating till you notice that they don’t need to take a pause to count the alternate number in their mind.
Hurray! Your child now knows skip counting.
After mastering the numbers from 1-10, teach them what lies beyond with 20, 30, 40… and let them skip count to memorise these numbers.
It’s a huge world out there with numbers too many to count! With these fun activities, you can make counting easy for your little one. So what are you waiting for? Get the fun going on 3… 2… 1… !