Make Learning to Count as Easy as 1, 2, 3
While all children learn at their own pace, one of the earliest developmental milestones for preschoolers is learning numbers and learning to count. According to the U.S. Department of Education, most children entering preschool do so with some knowledge of numbers and counting. They can count up to 5 or 10 and can recognize a few numbers.
There are numerous activities you can use to help your child learn numbers and counting as they prepare to enter preschool. Here are three tips to make learning to count as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Count Familiar Objects: Make numbers ‘tangible’ by counting objects familiar to your child. You can start by counting toys like blocks, stuffed animals, crayons, cars, dolls, and anything else your child plays with everyday. Place the toys on a surface and point to each item as you count. Ask your child to repeat after you and count along again and again. Children need to hear and practice things many times in order to learn them. Have patience and trust that your child will learn, one number at a time.
- Make Counting Part of Everyday Activities: While setting aside a time for a counting lesson is great, don’t forget that your child is observing the world and learning every minute of the day. Take every opportunity to ask the question “How many?”. Ask your child “How many?” as you put toys away, set the table, fold laundry, etc. to incorporate learning opportunities throughout the day.
- Use Counting Songs & Rhymes: Children’s songs, especially nursery rhymes, have a learning component to them. So many of them are actually counting songs! You may be familiar with the classic “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” which counts in order from 1 to 5, and with the popular “Five Little Ducks” which counts backwards from 5 to 1. These songs are great to introduce early learners to numbers.
Canticos also has a great counting song to help young kids learn to count in English and in Spanish.
Little Elephants/Elefantitos: A traditional Mexican counting song that follows little elephants attempting to balance on a spiderweb. As one more elephant climbs on, children will learn the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in English and Spanish…until all the elephants fall down! Similar to “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed,” this song will have children laughing along as they learn number sense in this classic children’s song.
Check out the video here and play it on loop! Repetition helps young minds learn faster.
And for yet another way to learn, check out the Little Elephants/Elefantitos bilingual board book here. The interactive features help your child recognize numbers as they lift the flaps to uncover the number of elephants from climbing onto the spiderweb until ‘Oops’ the spiderweb breaks and they all fall down.
So get to counting - playing, singing, reading, and having fun! Your child will learn - you can count on it!
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