How to teach counting to toddlers?
Created by Ritu Ghai Updated on Feb 17, 2020
Did you know you can start teaching your child numbers right from the time they turn one? I did the same with my elder son and he started counting from 1 to 10, just before he turned three! And was I one real proud and happy mum the day he got it right in one go!
My friend and stay-at-home mum to two boys, Prachi Sapru, is a real inspiration. Even before her first son was two years old, she used to ask him things like ‘I come before ten and after eight. What number am I?’. She even jived with her little boys on good-old number songs – One two buckle my shoe; 5 little monkeys; Ten little Indians and Three ducks. Now that’s what I call fun with numbers!
Children learn faster when teaching is fun based, so the first thing I did was to look around the house and collect all his favourite and personal items like toys, pencils, articles of clothing, shoes, socks and even cereals shaped as numbers. While selecting things, just remember that the items with which your child is familiar will help him/her to catch the number game faster. Then I sat with him and started grouping each item while counting aloud each number. I repeated this a couple of times. This actually got him excited about ‘numbers’; it was not the usual counting-by-rot routine.
Bringing in numbers in his routine activities really helped too, for instance counting the number of buttons on his shirt and apple slices on his plate. Gradually, I made him count the number of slices eaten and those left in the plate. This introduced him to the concept of subtraction and addition.
Getting familiar with numbers before pre-schooling is important as it cuts out the chances of your child getting baffled when s/he encounters numbers for the first time in school. Here are some more interesting ways to introduce your child to numbers:
- Markets are flooded with games and books that help you teach numbers to your child and with internet opening up various options, one can also take a print out of plenty of online printable worksheets. Experiment with different online counting games and videos to help your child become a mini-mathematician in no time.
- Flash cards, foam and wooden puzzles are other interesting ways to teach counting to your toddler.
- While taking your child for a walk or to the market, ask him or her to spot numbers on the shop signboards, price tags, house plates, mailboxes…and so on.
- Have your child take part in a number game activity by matching number pictures with the quantity of items.
- Involve your pre-schooler with home tasks such as counting ironing cloths, counting their toys or picking up a particular number of spoons or the exact numbers of candles according to their age.
- Playing dice games is another good idea.
As a parent, you are your child's first teacher and he will always ‘count’ on you to learn something new…right? So get going and have some fun while you are at it. If these tips come handy, do share your feedback in the comments section below. If not, even then we would love to hear from you. Have some more tips? Share with fellow parents. Happy counting!
| Mar 01, 2017
my baby gal is only 2 n 1/2 .. she counts 1 to 10. whenever we go to terrace i count the stairs from 1 to 10 then repeat, she too counts with me and learned. rhymes like one two buckle my shoes, 5 little ducks , there were ten in the bed and many more also helped her a lot. i used to ask her to bring potato if i have to cook vegetables, she brings it by counting like " mamma take one potato, mamma take two potao" till i had 10 with me.
| Apr 02, 2017
i began around when my son was 7 months old, that's when he started solid foods. i began mouthing number of ingredients of his favourite khichadi and counting them using the five fingers. his grand mother would count the plants with him which he helped her in watering since he started walking at 11 months. as a toddler of 22 months today he can count upto 4 and recognises numbers till 9. the lift buttons too have been helpful! i am a stay at home Mom and my son will start his playschool in June.