Emphasizing Basic Counting Principles
- Work together on assigning a single number to a single object. Part of counting that kids must learn is that each object only gets one number. Show the child how to assign a single number to each item, and then have them try as they are able. This helps teach one-to-one correspondence.
- For example, try counting apples as you place them in a bowl. Set the apple into the bowl and say the number before moving on.
- Start at numbers other than “1” when counting items. For instance, grab a handful of cherries, say 5, and then count from that number. You could say, “I have 5 cherries. Let’s count up from there as I add more to the bowl.” This helps kids understand that they must count in sequential order regardless of which number they start at.
- If you always start at “1,” kids may think they always have to start there.
- Emphasize that the last number is the total by repeating it at the end. Kids take a little while to grasp this concept. To help the child get it, say the number at the end several times to show you have that many items in total. This teaches kids cardinality, or the concept that one total number can represent a set of multiple items. By repeating the end number, you’re helping the child to understand that it’s the total.
- For instance, when you reach 8 apples, you could say, “Look, 8 apples in total! We have 8 apples together in the bowl.
- Write the numbers 1-5 on cards to have the child put them in order. Write out the number and then add something to the card to represent the number, such as 1 sticker, 2 stickers, etc. Let them rearrange them from smallest to biggest. This activity teaches number recognition and sequencing.
- Once the child gets down 1-5, try 1-10 and 1-20.