I am an anxious mom. There, I’ve said it! I fret a whole lot about my child, including whether he is learning everything he is supposed to learn. Sometimes (ok, frequently), I worry unnecessarily and prematurely. One such worry
is was over the whole counting to 10 skill.
We do a lot of math, but the only counting we do is when a) we count actual objects or b) we play hide-and-seek. In both cases, we hardly ever go all the way to 10. And honestly, I really dislike anything that has to do with rot learning, including counting and alphabet songs. So we don’t do any of that. Yet ability to count to 10 is one of skills identified on the kindergarten readiness checklist.
I know I’m not the only parent out there with this problem. In fact, in one of the Moebius Noodles courses we had a parent ask this exact question:
How can I get my child to remember numbers without just forcing him to count over and over?
To begin with, singing the number song does very little for mathematical understanding of numbers. Mathematically interesting things happen when you work with quantities and lengths. For example, one of the games we played in the course was to find objects that represent quantities, i.e. 18-wheeler truck!
But the biggest thing that will help to understand past ten is actually the notion of the UNIT. This is something best explored with visual, hands-on ideas. Incorporating math into something children love doing makes teaching them counting easy and even effortless.
My son is totally into space exploration. Fortunately, many rockets and space probes we read about are numbered sequentially (think Apollo missions or Mariner space probes). So he lines up all his make-believe rockets or just cardboard boxes, numbering them sequentially, as he readies them for launch.
A related question that was also asked in the Moebius Noodles course is
How old should the child be to understand counting, to make sense of it?
How old was your child when you first introduced counting (and not just number songs)? What were some (if any) difficulties you encountered? Please share your experience.