Learning to count is an exciting accomplishment for any preschooler. Not only does it give them a way to understand number concepts, but it also helps them develop their fine motor skills and learn to focus.
There are a few different ways you can go about teaching your child to count. You can do it yourself, or you can enroll them in a math-based program like Kumon or Mathnasium. However, you choose to teach your child, make sure you use a variety of methods and incorporate plenty of engaging repetition so they can really master the concept.
Why Teach Your Preschooler to Count at Home
Before we jump into the different strategies you can use to teach your child to count, let’s first talk about why you should do it in the first place.
One of the main reasons to start teaching your child math at home is because it will give them a head start in school. By the time they enter kindergarten, they’ll already have a strong foundation in basic counting and number concepts.
In addition, teaching your child to count at home is a great way to bond with them and help them develop their fine motor skills. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them how to focus and pay attention for extended periods of time – something that will benefit them in all areas of their life.
Finally, exposing your child to math early on will help them develop a positive attitude towards the subject. Too often, kids develop a negative association with math because they find it difficult or boring. By teaching them at home in a fun and engaging way, you can help them see that math can be enjoyable and rewarding.
6 Benefits of Teaching Your Kids Counting Early
Let’s take a closer look at some of these benefits.
1. It Will Give Them a Head Start in School
One of the primary benefits of teaching your kids to count early is that it will give them a head start in school. Counting is one of the first things that children are taught in school, and if they already know how to do it, they’ll be ahead of the game. They’ll be able to pay attention and focus on other things rather than struggling to keep up with the rest of the class.
Additionally, if your child is already comfortable with numbers and counting, it will make math lessons much easier for them (and for you). Math is often a difficult subject for kids, but if they have a strong foundation in counting, it will be much simpler for them to understand.
2. It’s a Great Way to Bond With Your Child
Teaching your child to count is also a great way to bond with them. It’s a chance for you to spend one-on-one time with them and really connect with them. You can take this opportunity to talk with them, learn about their interests, and just have fun together.
In addition, when you teach your child to count, you’re helping them develop their fine motor skills. This is important for their overall development, and it’s something that they’ll use for the rest of their life.
3. It Helps Them Develop Their Focus
When you teach your child to count, you’re also helping them develop their focus and attention span. This is an important skill for them to have, not only in school but in all areas of their life.
If your child can learn to focus on counting, it will be much easier for them to focus on other things as well. They’ll be able to pay attention in class, concentrate on their homework, and even focus on tasks around the house.
4. It Teaches Them How to Persevere
In addition to teaching your child how to focus, teaching them to count also helps them develop perseverance. This is an important character trait that will serve them well in all areas of their life.
If your child knows how to persevere through the difficult task of learning to count, they’ll be able to apply that same tenacity to other areas of their life. They’ll be more likely to stick with their goals, even when things get tough.
5. It Gives Them a Positive Attitude Toward Math
One of the final benefits of teaching your child to count early is that it gives them a positive attitude toward math. For many kids, math is a difficult and frustrating subject. But if they’ve had a positive experience with counting, they’re more likely to approach math with confidence.
And as we all know, confidence is half the battle when it comes to math. If your child feels good about their abilities, they’re more likely to succeed.
6. It’s Never Too Early to Start
One of the best things about teaching your child to count is that it’s never too early to start. You can begin teaching them as soon as they’re old enough to sit still and pay attention.
There’s no need to wait until they’re in school or struggling with math. Start teaching them early, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.
So there you have it: six benefits of teaching your child to count early. As you can see, there are many reasons why it’s important to start teaching them early. So what are you waiting for? Get started today with some of the strategies below!
Top 7 Strategies for How to Teach Your Child to Count
Now it’s time to teach your child how to count. Here are some of the best strategies for doing so:
1. Start with Small Numbers
Sequencing is the key to teaching your child how to count. They need to be able to understand that numbers come in a specific order. So the best place to start is with small numbers.
Begin by teaching them to count from 1 to 10. Once they have that down, move on to 20, 30, 40, and so on. It’s important that they understand that each number is one more than the last. Once they’re comfortable with small numbers, you can start increasing the amount.
2. Use Their Fingers
While several teachers criticize this method, another great strategy for teaching your child to count is to use their fingers, especially when they are young and are still learning the concept. This will help them visualize the numbers and understand how counting works. Over time, they won’t need to use their fingers anymore, but in the beginning, it can be a helpful tool.
To do this, simply have them hold up their hand and point to each finger as they count. As they get better at it, you can move on to other objects like pennies or pieces of candy.
If your child is having trouble understanding how to count on their fingers, you can also use other objects to help them. Counting blocks, for example, can be a great way to teach them how to count.
3. Play Counting Games
One of the best ways to teach your child to count is through games. Not only are they fun, but they’re also a great way to reinforce the concepts you’re trying to teach.
There are tons of counting games out there, so take your pick. Some popular options include Counting Candles, One Potato, Two Potato, and I Spy. You can also find many online counting games that your child will love.
Let’s take a look at how to play some of the most popular counting games out there.
This game is perfect for young children who are just learning to count. To play, simply line up a number of candles (real or fake) in front of your child. Start by having them count the candles one by one.
As they get better at it, increase the number of candles. If you want to make it special, turn out the lights and light the candles as your child counts. Then, when they count down (or backward), they can blow out the candles one at a time.
This is also an excellent opportunity to teach children about fire safety and the difference between controlled fires and dangerous ones.
One Potato Two Potato
This game is perfect for kids who are starting to understand numbers but may not be able to count all the way to 100 yet. The game is played with at least three people, but more can join in as well.
To start one person begins by saying, “One potato, two potato, three potato, four…” and so on, counting up to 10. The next person then repeats the process, but when they get to 10, they say, “One potato, two potato, three potato, four…” again, but this time they add 11. The game continues in this way until someone reaches 100 (or more, if you’d like).
If you want to make the game more challenging, start at a higher number or add in other rules, like subtracting by 2s or 3s instead of just counting up.
This classic game is perfect for road trips or anytime you need to keep your child entertained. To play, one person starts by saying, “I spy with my little eye…” and then finishes the sentence with something they can see. The other players then have to guess what it is.
For example, if the person says, “I spy with my little eye something that is green,” the other players would then have to guess what green object they are looking at. You could also throw a number variant in there. For example, “I spy with my little eye three green frogs,” or, “I spy with my little eye four red things.”
Then your child would need to find 3 or 4 green frogs or red things, respectively.
This game is perfect for teaching counting because it requires the players to visually scan their surroundings and find objects that match the description. Plus, it’s a great way to improve their vocabulary too.
Number Scavenger Hunt
In addition to learning how to count in their heads, kids also need to learn how to recognize numbers in their written form. This game is the perfect way to help them do just that.
To play, simply hide a bunch of numbered objects around the house or in your backyard. Then, have your child go on a hunt to find them. As they find each number, they should say it out loud and then bring it to you. Once they’ve found all the numbers, see if they can put them in order from least to greatest or vice versa.
If you want to make the game more challenging, try hiding objects with two-digit numbers or even three-digit numbers. You could also have them find numbers that add up to a certain sum or product.
This game is perfect for teaching kids number recognition, as well as basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
As you can see, there are a variety of games that you can play with your child to help them learn how to count. And the best part is, they’re all fun! So get out there and start counting!
4. Use Manipulatives
One of the best ways to teach kids how to count is to use manipulatives. Manipulatives are objects that can be moved around and manipulated in order to help children understand a concept. For example, when teaching kids about fractions, you might use a pizza cutter to help them understand that a half is one out of two equal parts.
When teaching kids how to count, manipulatives can be anything from rocks and pebbles to toothpicks and buttons. Basically, anything that can be moved around and counted is fair game.
Using manipulatives is a great way to help kids visualize what they’re learning. It also allows them to physically touch and count each object, which can be helpful for kids who are kinesthetic learners.
If you’re not sure where to start, try using some of the following manipulatives:
- Rocks or pebbles from your backyard
- Pipe cleaners
- Craft sticks
- Linking blocks
Once you have your manipulatives, try incorporating them into some of the games listed above. For example, instead of using regular coins for the Coin Toss game, use buttons or toothpicks instead. Or, if you’re playing I Spy, have your child find a certain number of objects instead of just one.
5. Practice In Line, in the car, etc.
Repetition is key when it comes to learning how to count. So, once your child has learned the basics, make sure to practice, practice, practice!
One great way to do this is to incorporate math into your everyday life. For example, when you’re in line at the grocery store, have your child count how many people are in front of you. Or, when you’re driving in the car, have them count how many red cars you pass.
You can also try making a game out of it. For example, see who can spot the most number plates with the number 7 on them. Or, try to find all the addresses that have a 9 in them.
The more you can incorporate math into your everyday life, the better. Not only will it help your child to practice their counting skills, but it will also help them to see that math is relevant and useful.
6. Practice Number Recognition
Being able to count in your head is a wonderful skill for any preschooler. It helps them keep track of the world around them and understand quantity. However, it’s also important for kids to learn how to recognize numbers in their written form.
Writing numbers is a complex task that requires the coordination of many different muscles. So, the sooner your child can start practicing, the better.
There are a few different ways that you can help your child practice number recognition:
Write numbers around the house: Get a whiteboard or some paper and write out numbers in big, clear handwriting. Then, post them around the house in places where your child will see them often.
Play matching games: Matching games are a great way to help kids learn how to recognize numbers. You can either make your own game using cards and markers, or you can buy a ready-made game at the store.
Use dot-to-dot sheets: Dot-to-dot sheets are not only fun, but they’re also great for helping kids learn how to recognize numbers in sequence. You can find dot-to-dot sheets online or in many coloring books.
Use colorful flashcards: Flashcards are a great way to help kids learn anything, and numbers are no exception. You can either buy a set of number flashcards or make your own using index cards and markers.
By incorporating number recognition into your child’s life, you’ll be helping them lay the foundation for success in school and beyond.
7. Have Fun!
Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun! Learning should be enjoyable, not a chore. So, make sure to keep things light and playful.
One great way to do this is to use songs and rhymes. There are many songs and rhymes out there that are specifically about numbers and counting. Or, you can make up your own.
You can also try incorporating counting into other activities that your child enjoys. For example, if they like to cook, have them help you measure out the ingredients. Or, if they like to dance, see how many different ways they can hop on one foot.
The more fun you can make things, the more likely your child will be to engage with the material. And, who knows, they might even enjoy it!
Teaching kids how to count doesn’t have to be difficult. By using these simple tips and tricks, you can help your child master this important skill in no time.
How to Teach Kids to Count By Multiples
Teaching kids to count is an important milestone. But it’s only the beginning. Once your child has a handle on the basics, you can start to introduce more complex concepts like multiplication.
One of the best ways to help your child learn multiplication tables is by teaching them to count by multiples. This means that instead of just counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… they would count 2, 4, 6, 8, 10… or 5, 10, 15, 20, 25… etc.
So once your child has the first sequence down (counting up by ones and counting backwards in ones), you can start to introduce other number sequences. Here are a few ideas:
- 2s: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12…
- 5s: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25…
- 10s: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50…
- 3s: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15…
- 4s: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20…
You can also have them practice counting by mixed multiples. For example:
2s and 3s: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12…
3s and 4s: 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 15…
5s and 10s: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30…
4s and 5s: 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20…
The important thing is to start small and gradually increase the difficulty as they master each sequence.
Another great way to help your child learn their multiplication tables is by using visual aids. This could be anything from a multiplication chart to flashcards to a board game.
You can also try making up your own games or activities that focus on multiplication. For example, you could time them to see how long it takes them to count up to 100 by 2s or see how many different ways they can make 10 when adding two numbers together.
The more creative you can be, the better. Multiplication is a crucial math skill that all kids need to learn. And by teaching them to count by multiples, you can help them master this important concept in no time. The important thing is that your child is having fun and learning at the same time.
Common Mistakes Children Make When Learning to Count
We can’t have an article about learning to count without pointing out some of the mistakes that children commonly make. Here are a few of the most common errors, along with tips on how to avoid them:
1. Skipping numbers
When children are first learning to count, they often skip numbers without realizing it. This is usually because they’re not paying close enough attention or because they’re getting ahead of themselves. To avoid this mistake, it’s important to count slowly and deliberately at first, making sure that each number is said correctly.
If your child does skip a number, gently point it out and have them start again from that number.
If your child is continually skipping numbers, working with manipulatives or tangible objects can help them solidify the concept of each number and its place in the sequence.
2. Reversing numbers
Another common error is reversing numbers, especially when children are first learning to count. So instead of saying “twenty-one,” they might say “one-two.”
This can be frustrating for both the child and the parent, but luckily it’s usually just a phase that corrects itself with time and practice. In the meantime, you can help your child by having them listen to audio recordings of numbers being said correctly or by working with them on writing numbers in the correct order.
If this problem persists, it might be a good idea to consult with a learning specialist or occupational therapist who can help your child develop the fine motor skills needed to write or read the numbers correctly.
3. Mixing up numbers
When children are first learning to count, they might mix up numbers that are close together in the sequence. So instead of saying “fifty-seven,” they might say “fifty-two.”
This can be confusing for parents, but it’s actually a very common error that children make. To avoid mixing up numbers, it’s important to slow down and emphasize each number as you’re counting. You can also help your child by having them repeat the numbers back to you after you’ve said them or by having them write the numbers down.
If your child is still having trouble, there are a number of apps and games that can help with number recognition and sequence.
Some children might also benefit from using a number line which can provide a visual representation of where each number falls in the sequence.
4. Losing track of numbers
Losing track of numbers is another common mistake that children make when learning to count. This usually happens when children get ahead of themselves and try to count too fast.
To avoid this mistake, it’s important to go slowly at first and make sure that your child is saying each number correctly. You can also help your child by having them count objects aloud with you or by having them point to each object as they count it.
For children who are struggling with losing track of numbers, try breaking the sequence down into smaller chunks. For example, instead of trying to count to 100 all at once, have your child practice counting to 20, then to 40, then to 60, and so on.
You can also try using a hundred chart which provides a visual representation of the numbers 1-100 and can help your child keep track of where they are in the sequence.
5. Getting stuck on certain numbers
Some children might have difficulty with certain numbers, and as a result, they might get “stuck” on that number. So instead of saying “forty-three,” they might just say “forty.”
There are a few reasons why this might happen. It could be that the child is having trouble pronouncing the number or that they’re having trouble understanding the concept of that number.
If your child is getting stuck on certain numbers, try breaking the sequence down into smaller chunks. For example, instead of trying to count to 100 all at once, have your child practice counting to 20, then to 40, then to 60, and so on.
You can also try using a number line or a hundred chart to provide a visual representation of the numbers 1-100. This can help your child see where the number they’re stuck on falls in the sequence and might make it easier for them to understand.
Finally, if your child is having trouble pronouncing certain numbers, it might be helpful to have them listen to audio recordings of the numbers being said correctly.
Learning to count can be a difficult process for some children, but with time and practice, most children will eventually get the hang of it. In the meantime, there are a number of things that parents can do to help their children along the way.
If you have any concerns about your child’s progress, it’s always a good idea to consult with a learning specialist or occupational therapist who can offer additional resources and support.
Additional Early Math Concepts
Maybe you have an ambitious child who is eager to learn more than just how to count to 100. If that’s the case, you might be wondering what other early math concepts your child can start learning. Here are a few ideas:
- Teaching them how to identify basic geometric shapes like circles, squares, and triangles
- Having them sort objects by color, size, or type
- Helping them understand the concept of “more” or “less.”
- Explaining the difference between “equal to” and “not equal to”
- Showing them how to group objects into sets of two, three, or four
- Teaching them basic addition and subtraction concepts
- Helping them understand the concept of “greater than” or “less than.”
- Showing them how to identify numbers on a number line
- Helping them understand place value (for example, that the “ones” place is worth 10 times more than the “tens” place)
- Explaining the concept of money and how to count it
- Teaching them about calendar concepts like days of the week, months of the year, and seasons
These are just the beginning concepts of what your child will learn in mathematics, but they’re a great starting point for teaching them early math skills.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to teaching your child to count. Some of the best strategies include using objects to count, starting with smaller numbers and working your way up, and providing a visual representation of the numbers 1-100. With time and practice, most children will eventually get the hang of it.
In the meantime, there are a number of things that parents can do to help their child along the way. The most important thing is to be patient, go at your child’s pace, and make learning to count fun! With a little bit of time and effort, your child will be counting like a pro in no time.