Friday, July 25, 2008

Learning to Count

Think of a chubby little two year old. What happens when you ask a two year old how old he is? He will often be able to say, "I'm two" while trying to make his sticky little fingers make the number two. Sometimes it's one finger, sometimes, it's three, or four. Sometimes it's actually two fingers.
No matter. This child who attempts to show any number when saying the word "two"is on his way to learning how to count and understand quantity.
This is the first important math concept young children learn: putting a name to "how many."

I'm going to explain the intricate teaching methods for helping a child learn to work on this important skill. Pay attention; it's complex.

You count. Count everything you come across. Count fingers, toes, knuckles,
Count socks in the laundry before they go in the machine, and when you are folding them. Count birds in the sky, peas on the plate, dishes in the sink, silverware at the place setting , sugar packets in the sugar holder, telephone poles, stop signs, number of hugs you get or give per day.

Play counting games. Tell your child to close her eyes and not open them until you count to five or ten or sixteen.
When you are hanging out playing with a game or toy, count the pieces before you put them away.

If your child is old enough not to stick things in her nose, spill out the coin jar and count them together on the floor. Don't worry about counting the value of the coins, just count the number.
Count beads, buttons from the button box, Legos, checkers, and Barbie shoes.
When she is a little older, start working on counting by ones, then twos, then fives, then tens. Group things together, and count by groups.

As always, don't push it. Keep it fun. Learning is a game. Learning is life.

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