So we have reached the milestone where we actually know what single and multiple means. And hence the journey of counting started with all the excitement. Counting is one of the basic and simple math skill that a toddler can learn. But it becomes monotonous too. And being a mother of a toddler monotony is something I can’t afford. At the same time I am in no mood to buy new toys. So I thought of making counting fun by using the stuff we already have at home.
How to start with counting
Before I start with the different activities that can be done at home let me briefly explain how I started with counting. Nirvaan started showing interest in counting objects and actually could count till 20 and count the object by quantity till 3 even before he turned 2. Needless to say I was so proud but eventually he forgot it. Yes he did, and that is when I realised we need to go slow with the concepts. This is going to form the base of his learning and fast learning and unlearning might just confuse him.
Taking One step at a time
So when we decide to go slow I wanted to clear his concept about numbers and counting. We started with number recognition first. Again the montessori three period lesson helped in learning this concept. For us number recognition came way early without even teaching and hence I decided to go with it.
Naming– Showing the numbers and naming them.
Recognition – Asking the child to show
Recall– Asking the child what is this without naming.
I would suggest to start with quantity before number recognition.
After he could recognise the number I slowly started telling him what those numbers signify.
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So the most basic activity you can start with your toddler is counting fingers.So i would simply do the counting one to ten on his fingers and mine. And then hide fingers and ask how many fingers can you see. Initially he would go on counting till 10 even if I showed him just 4 or 5. But slowly he got the concept of numbers and quantity.
Can you please bring
This might not sound like much of an activity but then this is by far the most successful way for us.You can start it as early as you want may be when they don’t even start speaking. So the game goes like this every time I would ask N to bring something I would mention the quantity. “Can you pls bring one towel for me” Can you please bring two potatoes”. Remember to keep it simple and don’t ask for more which they can’t calculate instantly. The idea is to introduce them to quantity.
Now coming to little fun activities which you can do with your toddlers with the already existing toys in the house.My son loves his dump truck and hence I have used this as a prop you can pick anything a basket or a box is as good.
So we have put some potatoes , onions, plastic eggs in the dump truck and I asked N to unload one item at a time and tell me how many potatoes, onion and eggs are there. And since he can recognise numbers have put a white board with numbers for him to circle.
Balls and Dice
For this activity you would need two basket as it is a transfer activity. Place one empty and one basket with balls in it. Roll a dice and ask your child to transfer as many balls as the number shows in the dice.Its a fun activity and helps in number recognition as well.
Coins and piggy Bank
We have a DIY coin slot box which I made for fine motor skills when N was almost one. Now we use that box and the bottle caps for counting activity.
For this activity put a piggy bank (You can DIY if you wish to here is the link MONTESSORI TOY SERIES-COIN SLOT BOX ) and some coins. Ask the child to put coins inside like put three coins inside the piggy bank , then put two like that. In the end they can open it and count how many are inside.
Pom Pom Balls
There are many activities that can be planned with pom pom balls. So if you have not bought it till now I would suggest you buy a packet.
Colour sort and count
Put the pom pom in the basket and ask the child to take out all reds and count how many red pom moms are there and so on.
Number and count
Write 1 to 10 in an A4 sized sheet and ask the child to put the pom pom as per the numbers. You can make a colour coded activity sheet as well.
Sensorial Counting tub
Messy activities re always a hit at my place all you need to do it make the activity messy and my son would be super interested in it. So the first messy activity that we did with numbers where finding the numbers.
Put the number blocks or pegs (if you have puzzle ) in a tub and add rainbow rice to it. Ask your child to find the numbers .
Put Some pastas/ pom pom etc and ask the child to take it out and count. Keep the bigger items in small quantity like one ball, two pencils likewise and small items like 9 pom pom and 10 pasta.
I am sure if you are a mom you own this toy and believe me blocks are multi functional. From free play to structured there is nothing that can’t be done.We have used our blocks extensively for building and colour sorting and now we use it for counting.
Another interesting way to introduce counting is through story telling and book reading.We own quite a few books but the best so far for counting has been Winnie- The- Pooh and Ten Busy Bees – A A Milne. Other books for counting were either confusing or had so much to distraction in the same page.
Listing down few of our favourites
- One Potato, two potatoes
- One Two buckle my shoe
- One two three four five once I caught a fish alive
- The ants go marching
- Ten little Indian Boys
- Five little ducks
- Five Little monkeys jumping on the bed
- There were ten in the bed
Nirvaan hasn’t quite learned about reverse counting but he loves these rhymes and it is acting as an interesting way to introduce reverse counting.
These are few of the activities we started with to get the concept of counting clear.I would be doing another post with DIY options to make counting fun. Till then enjoy counting with your little ones.
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