Learning to Count: Math Help for Young Kids

Counting is a basic and necessary skill that introduces your child to the world of math. Learning to count can be fun if you get involved and make it interesting. Start your child off on the right foot by getting him or her excited about numbers.

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How Can I Teach My Child to Count?

Teaching Numbers from Birth

You can start teaching your child to count from infancy. When she plays with her toes, count them along with other body parts - one nose, two eyes, one mouth and ten fingers. As she gets older, you can help her count other objects, such as the number of stairs she climbs or how many cars pass on the street. Offering lots of praise will motivate your child to count higher.

Singing Counting Songs

You and your child can make up tunes to go with the counting. You can also find counting songs to sing along with, such as Chicken Count by Jack Hartmann, The Counting Creatures: Numbers to 50 by Ron Brown and Buford & Bessie Count to 100 by Peggy Collins.

Using Stories to Teach Numbers

You can make up counting stories featuring your child as the star. Here's an example:

'Billy has one penny. Daddy gives him another one. Now Billy has two pennies. Grandma digs deep in her purse and finds another penny for Billy. Now he has three.'

You can also find books about counting like Curious George Learns to Count from 1 to 100 by H. A. Rey, Richard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever by Richard Scarry and The Icky Bug Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta.

Playing Games to Learn Counting

Create this simple game with scraps of paper and large dried beans. Make a dot about the size of a bean on one piece of paper, ask how many dots there are and have your child place a bean on the dot. The next one has two dots, and you do the same procedure. Repeat that for as many numbers as you and your child have patience for. You might even write the number on each scrap of paper as a first introduction to written numbers.

You can use empty containers and objects such as beans or buttons for another counting game. Place a strip of masking tape on each container. Draw one dot on the strip of tape on the first container, two dots on the next and so on. Have your child place the correct number of objects into each container. You can mix them up so that she has to think a bit for each one.

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