Learning to count has different stages, and here are three basic ones to concentrate on with your little one.
Counting in Order
The first stage is counting in the correct order using the names of numbers: 1 (“one”), 2 (“two), 3 (“three”), etc. Sometimes children skip numbers as they learn how to put numbers in order or they may repeat the same number more than once: 1, 2, 3, 2, etc. The same thing happens when children are learning the alphabet and it takes repetition for the order and names of numbers to be memorized.
- Counting practice while getting dressed: “Your ten toes are bare, let’s count them (1-10). Now it’s time to put on your socks – one, two!”
1 to 1 Correspondence
This means that each item that is counted once and one at a time. Basically, each item represents one thing, so it is counted as one thing.
- Counting practice during bath time: “Hmm, how many toys do you have in the bathtub? One rubber ducky, one bucket, and one, two mermaids.”
This is a fancy word to explain that counting makes up a quantity and the last number is the total of everything counted. For example this is counting 10 items (1, 2, 3… 10) and knowing that that the last number 10 tells you the total number.
- Counting at bedtime: “Let’s count how many books we’re going to read before bed: 1, 2, 3. Three books.” (Yes, this will make you sound like the Count on Sesame Street!)