1, 2, buckle my shoe. 3, 4 shut the door...I remember this little counting rhyme from when I was a kid. And now that I have kids of my own, I’ve got to think of creative ways to work on counting with them. My little guy enjoys counting, especially when he receives positive words of encouragement as he does it. But if you’re struggling to find ways to get your children interested in learning their numbers, I think one of these ideas will spark their interest.
source: 4 Little Fergusons
1. Count With A Deck Of Cards
In addition to practicing counting, you can use a deck of cards to work on shapes and colors. And of course, anytime you make a game out of learning, kids enjoy doing it even more.
You’ve got to check out a really fun card game called Playing Trash, that 4 Little Fergusons created. Practice counting with your little ones as you play.
2. Count By Stacking Toilet Paper Rolls
I don’t know about you, but in my house, it seems like we could have a shed full of toilet paper rolls if we held onto them. I always feel like I should keep them around because I’ll find some creative way to use them. Ta da! I have found a way! Just like kids enjoy stacking blocks, you can work on counting by stacking those empty toilet paper rolls. You can write numbers on them for a visual reference, or just count them to work on memorization. Either way, I think I’ll start a toilet paper roll collection now.
3. Count Things Found In Nature
Children are a curious bunch. And if your kids are anything like mine, they probably think that nature is quite fascinating. From ladybugs to sticks to rocks and leaves, using your child’s love of the outdoors is a great way to practice counting. Ask them questions like, “How many flowers do you see on this bush?” Once they see how good they are with numbers, they’ll love math (and nature) more!
4. Count While Eating Snacks
Since kids usually play with their food anyway, you might as well make mealtime an educational experience. Have your kids count how many Cheerios are on their spoon. Or how many pieces of cheese they dropped on the floor. If you want them to take three more bites before they go play, have them count out three pieces.
5. Count While Doing Household Chores
Folding laundry, setting the table, picking up toys. These are a few of the household chores you can use to integrate counting for your little ones. Have them count how many pairs of socks you’ve folded. Or how many spoons were set out for dinner. Or, as they pick up their toys singing “Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere…,” ask them how many toys they’ve picked up.
Let your children know you’re thankful for their contributions, and then check out pathways.org, which has 7 ideas for encouraging children to be thankful.
6. Count While Mommy Gets Dressed
My little guy loves looking through my jewelry box when I get it out. If you have a curious kitten too, use the time you spend putting your jewelry on as a learning opportunity. Have you child count the number of beads on your necklace. Or the number of earrings you have in your jewelry box. Just don’t let them count how many pairs of shoes you have. That might take awhile…am I right?
7. Count While Driving In The Car
Car rides are always an adventure with little ones. My toddler uses time in the car to ask me many important questions about life. (And then he asks them again.) I try to take advantage of his inquisitiveness by asking him questions, too. We talk about stoplights and what each color means, what kind of clouds are in the sky, and what types of vehicles we see on the road. Long car rides are especially great for conversing, so take the opportunity to practice counting with your kids in the car. As you get in and out, ask them to count the tires. While you’re driving, have them count the number of green lights that you drive through. The ride will go by much faster if you’re both staying busy as you go.
8. Count Parts Of Instruments
There are 88 keys on a piano and 6 strings on (most) guitars. Almost every instrument is built in a way that allows you to practice counting. Your children can count the different parts of the instruments that they play, or count the beats as they practice the songs they are learning (they better practice!). Have them count how many times a certain note is played in a song, or how many fingers they use.