How to Teach Counting? A Fun & Actionable Guide by The Pretty Geeky
Say hello to Priya.
Priya is a 6-year-old who loves numbers and is happy to solve a math problem anytime. She sees it as an interesting challenge and can work them in her head in different ways to find the right answer.
No, she isn’t any math whiz. She’s just a regular, next-door kind of girl who is confident about math and numbers because of the early effort and conscious nurturing during her early years.
Your child can be like Priya and be comfortable with numbers, just like she is. An early introduction, consistent effort and play based strategies can help your little one become a confident and capable mathematician.
Most of us introduce the alphabet, shapes, and colours to children as early as one year, but teaching counting often takes a back seat. It shouldn’t be so. After all, math is as important and necessary in everyday life as language.
Teaching Counting to Kids
We can introduce toddlers to numbers using relevant and real-world play at home. The more familiar they become with the numbers, the more they’ll start to enjoy them and the easier it will be for them to grasp more complex concepts of math. In general, keep in mind these tips and strategies while teaching how to count:
Teach Counting Through Imitation
One of the best and simplest ways to start teaching counting is through imitation. It can be done as early as when she is a year old.
Do it using everyday objects and during everyday activities. If the child is playing with different balls, pick up one and say, “This is one ball”. Put another one next to it and say “‘These are 2 balls”. Do this often during the day with different objects. If you’re breaking a roti into bite sizes, count aloud the number of pieces, if there are grapes in a bowl, count them as you eat them.
You can ask you child to give you one crayon. Show how they need to pick it up and put it in your hand and they will imitate you. Once they’ve learnt one, move to two crayons and then three.
Sometimes the child may react, sometimes not. Be regular. Don’t get annoyed or lose patience if they take time. Different children have different learning curves. Keep at it and you may find the child wants to say it after you or copy your action.
A pre-schooler can also be taught the concept of more and less. Both of you can take the same number of corn kernels or apple slices. Count them as you put them in each bowl. You can then eat one and then ask, “Who has more apple slices?” Same can be applied when comparing toy cars, or piles of clothes. They would be able to see and say which is a bigger pile.
Keep the Activities Short. Do Them Often
Kids do not have a big attention span, so make sure you stop before they get bored or distracted. You want the association to be one of fun and not boredom. Do it every day, a couple of times a day. Children like routine, it makes them feel safe, so doing it every day is a good idea. By keeping games short and regular, you also increase fluency and interest.
Make it Enjoyable
If children must build a positive association with math, make sure they early introduction to numbers is through fun filled games and activities. Use colourful, attractive tools, throw in number songs and rhymes – it needs to be not just engaging but also enjoyable.
Bring in Novelty
Children get bored and distracted easily. To solve for that, mix up your math routine often. While consistency is important, so is novelty. Games, books, rhymes, all of it work. Doing the same activity again and again may bring in monotony and the child may lose interest.
Go Beyond Rote Learning
Sure, it’s a great idea to know your tables well but when you’re starting out with numbers for little children, use more hands-on, real-life tools that the child can experience for herself. When children see and count real objects, they understand it better. Counting fruits in the basket, counting pencils from a pencil box will help children with real world math.
Games are Crucial for Math Learning
As a mum of a young girl, I know that as children grow, their circle of interests and hobbies increase During this time it’s key to keep building on the initial love for numbers. One of the easiest and most effective ways is through math board or card games from The Pretty Geeky. Here’s why:
Easy to Set Up and Easy to Learn
All you need is a flat surface (a bowl of popcorn or chips will add to the fun) and you’re set to go. The rules are usually simple, the rounds are short (quick gratification for easily bored kids) making it easy to convince kids to play every day.
They Help Boost Life Skills
Math card games are great not just for numeracy building and math efficiency, but they also help develop motor and cognitive skills like memory and pattern recognition. Even, the simple action of holding cards, picking them up improves dexterity and eye-hand coordination in younger children.
Game: Ticks and Tocks
Math Becomes Fun
One of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects of math mastery is not the solving of math problems itself, but how children view math and numbers. If the association of the subject is one with curiosity, challenge and fun, they are more likely to persevere with solving a sum than if they feel bored or fearful of it.
Math card games help hugely in building an association of non-judgmental fun where one is allowed to make mistakes or get it wrong without the fear of marks or crosses on a worksheet. The earlier the child feels this way, the more she’ll come to love it.
Game: Take the Cake
Develops Emotional Intelligence and Confidence
Learning how to play with rules, play as a team, not giving up, learning how to control your feelings when you lose, or win are all skills children pick up over multiple rounds of simple, fun-filled math games.
There is enough being said about the overdose of screen time and its long-term harmful effects on children. No-tech card games are a perfect antidote for it. You’ll be surprised at how easily your child takes to them especially when it becomes an occasion of family fun time.
Game: Tens & Tiaras
Long story short, there are multiple benefits of math card games ranging from various academic and non-academic skills to quality family time.
So, if you are looking for an interactive, entertaining, socially engaging non-screen activity that also helps math skills and proficiency, simply pick out a deck or two of math games, right here, a bowl of popcorn or some cake and get the family around the table ready to play.
Check out the interesting range of card base games from The Pretty Geeky that help kids overcome math & science anxiety through play.