Give a Number

Recommended Age: 3+ | Mathematical Topic: Counting

What To Do

Did you know children can be good at counting and good at telling how many objects they see, and still not understand that counting tells us how many? It’s true. All children pass through this stage. And putting counting and “how many” together turns out to be one of the most important ideas children learn about numbers before they enter kindergarten. You can help them make this connection by changing the order of counting and labeling. For example, you can start by saying how many objects you think you see (“Hey, I think there are 7 trucks!”) and then count them, as if to prove your answer or check to see if you’re correct (“Let’s see if I’m right. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7”). This helps children see that “How many?” number is more than just a repeat of the last word counted. Switch it up by asking your child to guess how many are there, and then you count them. Or have a puppet guess and then ask the children to check by counting. It’s okay if the puppet’s wrong sometimes too. It adds to the fun and creates a great learning moment, when your child sees that counting is what we do to get the right answer.

Moving On

Ask your child to give you different numbers of objects, going up to 10 or 15 if they can count that high. If your child can give you the right number, they understand the concept.

See it in action