Learning how to count through play

How can I teach my child to count?

Starting from the beginning!

The numbers 1 and 2 are a great place to start for a young child as they already have … 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 arms, 2 hands, 2 legs, 2 feet! So when you are getting them dressed you can begin to say ‘put your arms in, 1,2’, ‘put your socks on, 1,2’, ‘let’s put on your shoes, look you have 2 shoes for 2 feet, 1,2’… and so it goes on. You can extend this by seeing if they can say the numbers with you while you touch each item and count them; touch one shoe and they say 1, touch they other shoe and they say 2, repeat back to them ‘that’s right you have 2 shoes!’

Extension: When playing see if they can pass you 1 or 2 toys. Can they give you 1 more… now how many are there? 3!

Count everything!

It’s as simple as that… steps going up the stairs, children in the park, teddies in the box, people at the table, ducks in the pond, trains on the toy train track… people at the bus stop… teach them by asking how many and model how to count encouraging them to join in. if what you are counting is touchable that touch each object as you count out loud.

Extension: Can they count first and tell you the answer?

Number Songs!

A fun easy way to learn the number names in order, forwards and backwards. Encourage your child to use their fingers to hold up the amount while you are singing the song. Singing number songs when you are out for a walk, at bathtime, or playing can help your child to be able to say number names in order, or by rote.

Extension: Use toys to act out the song.

Number Books!

Reading lots of number books encourages a child to count ’with one-to-one correspondence’, which means touching each object as it is counted with the added bonus that usually the numeral is alongside it, which helps the child to recognise the number which represents the quantity.

Extension: Can they they tell what number is going to be in the next page?

Learning about numbers through play

More Playworth Play Ideas