Let’s talk about counting! Counting is one of the first math skills we work on in kindergarten and that is because our students need it to build a strong math foundation. When we teach counting, we not only work on rote counting (the ability to recite numbers in order from memory), but also understanding one-to-one correspondence (the knowledge that each number represents one object). In kindergarten, our goal is to have our students be able to recite numbers 1-100 by memory, and be able to count objects up to 20. These are important skills that require A LOT of practice, so I am going to share some engaging activities you can work on at home or in school with your little ones.
Counting and Cardinality
All kids learn to count in their own time and there are fantastic ways we can facilitate their learning in this area. You’d be amazed how much kindergartners love to count and how often they are willing to show you how high they can count.
If a child knows how to count to 100, that is a great start! We can use that knowledge to help build an understanding of the numbers and their relationship with one another. We dig deep into how numbers work together so that we can use them in math problems and equations down the road. It’s important that students understand numbers, their quantities and all the different ways to represent those numbers.
How Can You Teach Counting?
The best way to introduce counting numbers is to keep things fun and engaging for children. You can incorporate counting into your daily routine and your kids won’t even realize they are learning. For example, while eating dinner, you can ask your kids how many pieces of broccoli are on their plate. They can touch each piece as they count it. Then have them eat a piece and ask them to count how many they have now. As they build their understanding of number sense, they may even be able to tell you how many pieces without needing to count again! Plus, they ate a piece of broccoli so, win/win ;)
Other ways you can incorporate counting into your daily routine is by having your kids count each step as they walk up and down stairs. While playing, you can have your kids find and count all of the yellow objects in their toy box. Then, when it’s time to clean up, you can incorporate counting into the task by asking your kids to pick up a specific amount of toys or books. They will be more willing to practice and in turn memorize how to count if it’s integrated into what they are already interested in doing!
Keeping it Fun
There are so many ways to incorporate counting into play. We love to use the LeapBuilders® Blue’s Clues and You!™ products to help facilitate our learning! Here’s a look at how we use these toys to bring counting into our play.
This 81-piece block set featuring a character figure from the show Blue’s Clues & You!™ includes colorful building blocks as well as three double-sided building cards to inspire creativity. As you are building with your children, ask them to hand you three blue blocks and four orange blocks for your building. This encourages one-to-one correspondence, as well as color recognition.
They can also create their own building and you can ask them to tell you how many blocks of a specific color they used, or how many blocks they used in all.
Finally, you can have your children build towers and have them count to see which tower has more blocks or which one has less.
Your kids will love stacking blocks on the letters train and pulling the Blue and Josh figures around. To incorporate counting, you can have your kids stack blocks on the train to show the numbers 1-12. You can also have them stack two letters on each train car and have them count how many blocks they used in all.
Create and learn with this 42-piece block set, featuring figures of Blue, Josh and Magenta from the show Blue’s Clues & You!™. Build a school for Blue, Josh and Magenta including a school bus, a show-and-tell area or use your imagination with the easy-to-hold building blocks.
As you can see, we turned the floor of Blue’s school into a ten frame to practice counting and building numbers to 10. Your kids can choose a number block and place it on the left-hand side, then build that number using blocks. The number blocks also show how many dots are needed to make the number so your kids can check their work as they go.
They will have a blast driving numbers to the school on the school bus and building each number on the ten frame!
I hope these examples gave you some fun ideas to help your kids practice their counting!
Hadar Hartstein, also known as Miss Kindergarten, began her teaching career in 2010 and quickly fell in love with all things kindergarten! She strongly believes that learning should be fun, so she works to find creative ways to keep her little learners engaged while also building their confidence in learning new skills. You can find her on Instagram @misskindergarten and read about how she enhances students' learning on her website: www.misskindergarten.com