Before you send your little ones off to school, help them learn the basics of number recognition, counting and math at home with these counting games.
The first few years of your child's life are very important in terms of development and learning. Preschool age is an ideal time to teach your kids about numbers and counting. By laying the fundamentals down early, you'll help your child succeed in mathematics later in school.
Your kids will enjoy these educational -- yet fun -- counting games and learning tools that are designed with preschoolers in mind!
Dora the Explorer First Day at School
On the NickJr.com website, you can find a selection of counting games geared toward preschoolers. A favorite is Dora the Explorer First Day at School, which allows children to practice counting, adding and comparing as Dora, Tico and Boots navigate their way to school. In this game, children learn about the concepts of "most" and "least," as well as practice their counting and listening skills.
Your preschooler doesn't just need to learn to count, he/she also should start to recognize numbers. For this game, you'll need paper, a marker and some blocks. Use 10 sheets of paper and write a number (0-9) on each sheet. Then ask your child to say each number aloud, then place the proper number of blocks on each sheet of paper. For a portable version of this game, check out these free printable number, shape and color flashcards!
Blue's Gold Clues Challenge
This game from NickJr.com is actually four games in one. In the Numbers Kingdom, your child will identify colors, as well as practice counting. Other areas of this game include Alphabet City and Shapes Forest. After your child has earned Gold Clues at each location, they can put them together to complete a puzzle. Perfect for four- and five-year-olds, this game is challenging and a whole lot of fun.
At PBSKids.org, you can find various counting and math games that your children will enjoy. Juggling George features childhood favorite Curious George, and offers simple challenges for counting, adding and subtracting. This game allows your children to work their way up into harder levels as they progress, in order to keep them challenged.
Make an effort to sit down with your family to eat together as much as possible. Turn dinner (or breakfast) conversation into a learning opportunity by asking your children basic questions, such as "How many plates are at the table?," "How many legs are under the table?" (table legs, chair legs and people legs included), and other simple counting and math questions. For more number fun, check out more than 20 number games from PBS that feature faves like Sagwa, Barney, Rosita, Melvin and more!
Counting with coins
Once your child has begun counting, you can introduce the concept of money. Start by teaching him to recognize different coins and name them. After that, associate the value of each coin to teach him about its worth. Start out slow with pennies and nickels, by showing how five pennies have the same value as one nickel. This game will reinforce his counting skills, as well as introduce him to money and math. If you want to simplify things a little (or don't want to turn over cold cash to your preschooler), download this fun set of printable play money!
The Counting Song
Teach your kids to count to 11 with this catchy tune.