Number rhymes and songs are a great way of familiarizing young children with numbers. It is fun and entertaining way to get them used to counting.
Before learning to count your child needs to be able to match one object to one other object or person. You can do this by laying the table, one place setting for every person, or drawing. “Can you draw one balloon for every little girl?”
When you start to count, touch each object. It helps them understand that we are counting one object at a time.
Start with counting up to three, then add one more number at a time.
Mix up the order of things you are counting to make sure your child does not think a certain object has a certain number.
Make your child aware the importance of numbers in everyday life by counting the number of red cars you see when you are out. Point out house numbers on doors, or the numbers on the shelf of the supermarket. Ask them if they can see a ‘2’ anywhere. Show your child how number appear around the house, on the telephone, scales, clock.
Counting trays can be used to show your child how to count the appropriate number into each container. Use an egg carton, or collection of yogurt pots. Write numbers on the bottom of the containers or on bits of paper.
This is a fun way of practicing counting. One person give instructions such as “Mummy says take three big steps and two tiny hops”. The child has to do this. If they make a mistake then it is their turn to give the instructions. “Jess says pat your head two times”. You can start with one instruction and then more to make it harder.
Sorting objects into groups is an essential part of learning to count. Children will start to think about sameness and difference and how things can be categorised. Let your child sort the cutlery or sort the washing out into piles.
Developing the power of estimation is a useful skill for numeracy. Have fun by asking your child how many apples they think are in the bag then take them out and count them together.