Monday, August 5, 2013

Teaching Toddlers Number Recognition and Math Readiness



Welcome to the first day of the 5 Days of Teaching Toddlers. Today I am going to focus on some of the fun number/counting activities we have done with the children.

Rote counting:

Since they were very young we have counted the steps as we come downstairs. When daddy started counting the steps with Tabitha after we moved into the house, I don't think we realized we would still be doing it 5 years later. We have 16 steps and when we get to step 11 you can reach the wall that is the children's bedroom closet. As toddlers they have learned to anticipate that number 11 because they get to hit the wall. And after we say 16 and are downstairs, we say, "Hello Downstairs!" The girls used to hit the banister while I said that, Harold on the other hand is fascinated by the portraits on the wall of my older children (Steven, Floyd and Krystal) when they were young.

One-to-One Counting/Number Recognition:

When I was working at the Montessori in the toddler room we came up with this fun activity and I decided to make it for the girls. I printed numbers onto cardstock from the DLTK-Growing Together Number Template page.  Then I cut them out and "laminated" them (when I say laminated, it means I covered them with contact paper). Each number gets the corresponding number of Velcro pieces. Then I print and cut out little matching pictures. In the past I have done the snowmen for winter (pictured below), this year I think I will have the pictures match our theme.


I also love that it is a great way to introduce the number zero, because there are no Velcro pieces attached they can't attach any pictures.


If I had been thinking, I would have used black Velcro so it would stand out better. 


We count the number as we put the pictures onto the Velcro.


In addition to the above activity, we have done one-to-one number crafts. I have used craft sticks, plus we have made crafts to go with our lessons. 

One of the earliest number activities I remember doing with Tabitha included jumbo craft sticks and dried kidney beans. I used 5 craft sticks and wrote the numbers 1 through 5 on the top of the sticks. For each stick I then sat down with Tabitha and we counted as I put the appropriate number of glue dots using white Elmer's glue. Then we counted again as she put the beans on the glue. I recommend using the white glue for these activities because the child can actually see the dots of glue that correspond to the number on the stick. Of course, glue sticks wouldn't work for beans anyway, but I have used these Counting Number Sticks to make ants on a log as well, using construction paper ants.

Here is a look at our ladybug counting that was a part of our Ladybug Lapbook.
(There are numbers up there, they are just hard to see)

And we also did apple seeds on apple slices, though the numbers were on the back instead.


We played a game where they lined them up in order


Then we flipped them over.


And they had to match the numerals on the one set, to the quantity on the other.


One summer when we were focusing on a number a week we played a game.  I stood in the living room and told the girls they needed to follow my directions.  I asked them to bring me certain objects, one at a time.  I said, "Tabitha, please bring mommy one block.  Amelia please bring me one doll."  Then when they brought me the requested object I asked for another from each of them.  We laid them out on the couch and took a picture.  Made a great activity for listening and following directions and learning the quantity of  "one."


The following week we did the number 2.


Here are some other fun things to do with counting:
  • We count blocks as we build.
  • We point to the numbers as we count the days on our calendar.
  • We count buttons/snaps as we get dressed.
  • We clap and count.
  • Even at a young age they are helping in the kitchen, especially when we do Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen. We always count when we add ingredients in. I also have them help make juice (frozen, from concentrate) and they count how many cans of water we are putting in. While we count I make sure to let them know how much we need (3 cans of water or how many cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, etc). As we go I ask them how many more we need to make the required number, showing them that the number needed decreases as we add more. 
Fun Counting Songs (These are songs we sung at the Montessori and I continued singing with the girls):

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Once I caught a fish alive
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Then I let him go again
Why did you let him go?
Because he bit my finger so!
Which finger did he bite?
This little finger on the right!
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1 little, 2 little, 3 little Indians
4 little, 5 little, 6 little Indians
7 little, 8 little, 9 little Indians
10 little Indian boys and girls. 


They jumped in the boat and the boat tipped over.
They jumped in the boat and the boat tipped over.
They jumped in the boat and the boat tipped over.
10 little Indian boys and girls.

They swam and they swam til they reached the shore.
They swam and they swam til they reached the shore.
They swam and they swam til they reached the shore.
10 little Indian boys and girls.

Watch those Indians shoot their arrows.
Watch those Indians shoot their arrows. 
Watch those Indians shoot their arrows.
10 little Indian boys and girls.

Don't miss any of the posts in my Teaching Toddlers series:

Monday: Teaching Toddlers Number Recognition and Math Readiness
Wednesday: Teaching Toddlers with Montessori Activities
Thursday: Teaching Toddlers while teaching older children
Friday: Favorite Resources for Teaching Toddlers

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