How to Teach Your Child to Count
As parents we all want our children to succeed, but how can we help them along? Your child's education is an obvious and important road to future success. Moreover, studies show that early education is critical to your child's future success, because your child is statistically likely to remain at whatever level he or she enters school at. In other words if your child enters school and is ahead of his or her peers he or she will remain ahead.
To give your child a head start in math an obvious starting place is counting. However, a lot more goes into learning to count than most adults realize. There are three key components to counting that your child will need to learn: number order, one to one correspondence and number recognition. Only five minutes a day one any one of these components and your child will soon be leaps and bounds ahead of his or her peers.
Dot-to-dot Puzzles Online
Includes simple dot-to-dots starting with 1 to 3 with the most advanced dot-to-dot using numbers 1 to 25.
- Connect the dots
Connect the dots, word search puzzles, preschool activities, mazes, and more. Activity Pad offers printable connect the dots game with images that will be fun for preschoolers to color.
- Connect the dots online, dot to dot
Connect the dots online, dot to dot, all your favorite cartoon stars, animals and more. These online games don't include audio but they will not allow clicks to incorrect numbers and give color completed puzzles.
Teaching Your Child Number Order
The order of numbers is one of the easier aspects of counting to teach. This is because the results of your efforts are more immediate and obvious. Your child will begin proudly counting everything in her environment for you.
I will break these ideas down into learning types (visual, audio or kinesthetic), however, a wide variety of approaches is a good idea for a young child and combining methods can often have the greatest impact. For visual learners work on dot-to-dot puzzles. Remember to say the numbers with your child as she works the puzzles. The Kumon workbook My Book of Number Gamesstarts with easier puzzles and slowly progresses to more difficult dot-to-dot puzzles. There are also a number of free puzzles available on the Internet. If your child is an audio learner sing counting songs. My girls liked the song "Four Little Ducks", which unfortunately is not available on YouTube. However, I did include a couple of other fun counting songs is your children do not yet have a favorite. For your kinesthetic learners try playing hopscotch. For boys consider just drawing a progression of circles with ascending numbers. Give him a good distance to jump and have him shout the numbers as he does.
Color by Number Puzzles
- Color by Numbers
Free, printable coloring book pages, connect the dot pages and color by numbers pages for kids. The puzzles can be arranged by difficulty rather than puzzle name.
- COLOR by NUMBER 97 free coloring pages
You will love these color by number free printable coloring pages. They are a great combination of coloring and number recognition. Reveal the hidden picture in these puzzles.
- Color by Numbers Online
Printable color-by-number pages or try the online version. It does not include audio but it does provide a hint if your child clicks on the wrong number. It also includes simple and hard versions of the game.
Teaching Number Recognition
Number recognition can actually be taught as your child learns number order. Hold up the numbers as you sing your number songs. Say each number as your child looks for it on a dot-to-dot puzzle. While playing hopscotch games have you child look at, then say, the appropriate number. If your child needs additional assistance with number recognition have her work on color by number puzzles. The Kumon workbook I mentioned previously also contains color by number puzzles.
Teaching One to One Correspondence
One to one correspondence is probably not something that you realized your child needed to learn. However, young children do not recognize that each object directly relates to a single number and vice versa. As they begin to learn number order you might see a young child pointing vaguely over the objects being counted until she gets to the number she believes to be correct, or she might use multiple numbers on a single object, or she might simply keep counting when she runs out of objects. This demonstrates a need to learn one to one correspondence.
Your child needs to learn that when counting each object is represented by a single number and each number corresponds to a single object. A simple way to begin teaching this is to point out each object carefully as you count with your child. Or you could try a simple game that your child might enjoy involving large dice and counting objects. We used counting bears at our house. Have your child roll the die or dice. Then place a counting bear on each dot as you count them up. This provides your child with a visual and kinesthetic representation of one to one correspondence.
This can be one of the more frustrating conponents of counting to teach because you will have to teach this concept over and over with seemingly no results. Don't loose heart. Just continue to introduce your child to the concept and one day it will simply click.
Teaching your child is a very rewarding activity. Invest just a little time each day and your child will soak it up like a sponge. Young children a designed to intake information and you will find yourself surprised at just how quickly your child learns to count.
Good luck and have fun together.