Remember when you learned numbers in school? Those days are long gone. Kids today are expected to know their numbers up to 20 before they even begin kindergarten. Get started now so your child is ready when it’s time for class.
Learning numbers is hard, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Use these methods to work number learning into your child’s everyday life. She’ll have fun without even realizing she’s learning something.
Teach your child to count out loud before you teach him to use numbers in other ways. Start small, counting to 3, then 5, then 10, 15 and 20. Start by counting out loud slowly, and ask your child to repeat what you say. Then ask him to say it alone. Each time he appears to have mastered a step, add a few numbers. You can do this in the car or the bathtub, at the grocery store or any time you have a free moment. Practice at least once or twice each day.
Once your child can count a few numbers, start counting items around your home. Count toys as you get them out or put them away. Count crayons and apple slices. Count whenever you see an opportunity.
Let your child help you cook. Count out loud as he helps you add cups or tablespoons of ingredients.
Use a play phone to “call” people you know. Tell your child the phone number and let her dial. When you start this game, you’ll have to help by pointing out the numbers, but eventually she’ll be able to do it on her own. Get her really excited by letting her dial the real phone when you make calls, too. Show her the numbers first and watch carefully to make sure you’re not calling the wrong number.
Tell your child they can get out four toys, 20 crayons or six bathtub toys. Help them count out items as they choose, letting them know when they’re reached their limit. If they protest, stand firm, and let them exchange one item for another. This will help give numbers meaning.
Let your child choose two cookies, five crackers or 10 fruit snacks. Help him count out loud as he chooses.
Count when you’re out.
Use spare time to practice counting. Count people in line ahead of you at the store or in chairs in a waiting room.
Make flashcards out of index cards or paper. Shuffle the numbers and have your child call out numbers as you pick them up. Later, give your child a shuffled pile and have him place the numbers in order.
Read number books.
A huge selection of books about counting and numbers is available. Invest in one or two, and read them with your child to make sure she understands.