It’s very easy to teach a child to write/recite 1 to 100 by rote learning. But, trust me, that’s not the most crucial thing. Rather, it’s important for a child to understand quantity, estimation and other mathematical concepts along with each number. Ideally, they should have fun while doing it.
Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.
We all know that numbers play a very important role in every aspect of our lives. Learning numbers starts at the preschool stage. It’s very easy to teach a child to write/ recite 1 to 10, 20, 50 or 100 by rote learning. But, trust me, that’s not the most crucial thing. Rather, it’s important for a child to understand quantity, estimation and other mathematical concepts along with each number. Ideally, they should have fun while doing it.
To make number counting easy we should follow the below mentioned pedagogy:
- 2-3 years – Introduce numbers through quantity
- 3-4 years – Introduce number symbol & then quantity-symbol association
Here, I outline eight simple ways that we can have fun with numbers:
1. Numbers everywhere
Our surroundings and environment are full of numbers on doorways, milestones, street numbers, shop numbers, hoardings, car number plates, bus numbers, signs, traffic signals etc. The next time you head out with your cute little monster, keep your eyes peeled for numbers and take turns calling them out. You can even make it more fun by tacking on a counting rule: Once you find a number, you have to count up to that number, whether you count trees, cars, dogs, or telephone poles.
2. Clean up and count
When it’s time to clean-up your toddler’s room, don’t just scoop up the toys; instead use the few minutes to stimulate some math skills. For example, encourage your toddler to guess which toys/items represent the largest portion of the mess. Are there more lego blocks? More cars? Or more books? Then count up the toys as you go and see who guessed right. For an older preschooler, work together to make a chart of his favorite toys (action figures, books, cars, stuffed animals) and keep a running tally of what shows up most at clean-up time. He/ she will start associating written numbers with the amounts they represent.
3. Rhyme time
I am sure your toddler and pre-schoolers would enjoy nursery rhymes the most, so introduce some that involve numbers and counting. A few favorites of mine are: “Five Little Ducks,” “Five Little Monkeys,” “Ants go marching by”, “Ten Little Indians” and “I caught a fish”. Since you’re holding up your fingers to represent the characters in the rhyme, your child gets a good sense that “five” is less than “ten.” The refrain in the song expands your little one’s math vocabulary by letting him hear numerical terms again and again. Also some of these songs are good practice in counting backwards as well.
4. Roll a pair of dice
￼￼Grab two dice and a piece of paper with the numbers two through twelve written on it. Roll the dice, count all the dots, and circle each number until you’ve rolled ￼them all.
5. Amazing game with a twist!
￼￼The only things you need for this game are two players, paper and a pencil, so it’s great when you’re waiting somewhere. It’s like the rock, paper, scissors game except we say, “Rock, paper, number!” Then, each player holds up as many fingers as they want. We count all the fingers and point to the correct number written on the sheet of paper. (You could also practice writing the numbers together.)
6. Counting around the house
Once your child can count a few numbers, start counting items around your home. Count toys as you get them out or put them away. Count crayons, apple slices, spoons, magazines, furniture, plates, pillows, fans etc. Count whenever you see an opportunity.
7. Hello Hello!!
Use a play phone to “call” people you know. Tell your child the phone number and let her dial. When you start this game, you’ll have to help by pointing out the numbers, but eventually she will be able to do it on her own. Get her really excited by letting her dial the real phone when you make calls, too. Show her the numbers first and watch carefully to make sure she’s not calling the wrong number.
8. How many?
Tell your children they can get out four toys, 20 crayons or six bathtub toys. Help them count out items as they choose, letting them know when they’re reached their limit. If they protest, stand firm, and let them exchange one item for another. This will help give numbers meaning.
Here are some more fun counting ideas for you: Fun with Maths