Learning to count is an important maths skill. Teach your little one how to count through these ten fun and easy activities.
By Rohan Philip
Apart from being caregivers, parents are also their child’s first teachers, teaching him various life skills to help him evolve into a well-rounded individual. They also initiate their child into academics by helping him learn the letters of the alphabet and numbers early on.
However, for a child, learning to recognise numbers and counting can be daunting tasks. But, by creating a conducive learning environment and adopting the right methods, achieving numerical fluency can be made easy for children.
We have compiled a list of 10 unique and fun ways to help your child learn numbers and how to count—the building blocks of maths.
1. Spell the number: The easiest way to familiarise a child with numbers is to encourage her to spell them out. For example: one – 1, two – 2, and so on. This is a great way to teach her how to count. Begin with one and count up to nine. With time, help her understand how a combination of two digits make up one number.
2. Count using fingers: Once your child is comfortable with the order of numbers and their spellings, you can begin to teach him to count using his fingers. Learning to count using fingers is very important for a child. Berteletti and Booth in their study, ‘Perceiving fingers in single-digit arithmetic problems’, published in Frontiers in Psychology (2015), say, “finger representation and finger-based strategies play an important role in learning and understanding arithmetic.”
3. Count with cards: This game uses a child’s visual memory to help her associate a quantity with its number name and corresponding numeral. You will need nine pieces of cardboard and sketch pens. Draw one circle on the first card, two on the second and so on, until you reach the number nine. Flip the cards and write the corresponding number along with its spelling. Let your child play with these cards.
4. Roll the dice: For this game, you require a dice and cards with the corresponding numbers on them. Ask your child to roll the dice. Then, ask him to pull out the number card on which is written the number shown on the dice. This will help him associate the number with the quantity it signifies.
5. Dot the paper: Write different numbers on pieces of chart paper to make number cards. Shuffle them and challenge your child to arrange the numbers in ascending order. You can also give your child a pencil and ask her to put as many dots as the number on each card.
6. Count and fill: Buy a standard twelve-piece egg carton and cut off the last two grooves, to leave just ten behind. Using a sketch pen, number the grooves from one to ten. Now, give this carton to your child along with tiny paper balls of various colours. Ask him to look at the number in each groove and pick the same number of paper balls to fill it. This activity will not only strengthen his counting skills, but also improve his fine motor skills.
7. Arrange the sticks: Give your child a bunch of evenly-sized twigs or sticks and ask her to arrange them in groups of ten. Demonstrate how to do it by arranging the first group yourself, and then let her take over. Instead of ten, you can also ask your child to arrange in groups of four or five and so on.
8. Make a chart: Put up charts with numbers and the quantity they signify (e.g. 5 - picture of five pups) around your child’s room. The constant visual stimulation will help him associate numbers with quantities.
9. Compare and arrange: Give your child a box of assorted number cards. Now, tell her a number and ask her to arrange all the cards in the box in three groups – less than, equal to and more than the number you said. This activity will help her understand the order of numbers and their significance in terms of the quantity better.
10. Build number blocks: Write numbers on building blocks and ask your child to build a tower by arranging the numbers in the ascending or descending order. Not only will this activity help him learn how to count but also build his motor skills.
While we have listed these ten activities to help you teach numbers to your child, you can also come up with your own fun ideas to show your little one that learning numbers can be fun.
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