Teaching Toddlers How to Count
Toddlers are always looking for new ways to explore their world. For many of them, counting is a skill that can be both fun and educational. Teaching toddlers how to count will not only help them learn the basics of math but also give you an opportunity to bond with them! We've put together some great tips on how to teach your child the joys of counting.
When you teach toddlers to count, we recommend using fingers as visual aids. If the child can already identify numbers mentally and see your fingers as you count, they will start to associate your hand gestures with specific numbers.
At What Age Should You Teach Toddlers to Count?
Toddlers can start counting as early as two years old, and sometimes even younger! Remember that the primary goal at this age is still language development. So, don't put too much pressure on them if they’re not ready.
The best thing to do is let your child be curious about numbers and have fun with you! As long as children enjoy learning how to count, you can always teach them. Even if counting doesn’t click until later on, the time and effort are still well-spent.
How Many Numbers Should You Teach Your Toddler?
In the English language, we have the numbers zero through ten. However, you should start teaching your child to count up to five or six. Once they have mastered these numbers, they can begin to learn more on their own.
Can Most Two-Year-Olds Count to Ten??
It’s true! Many two-year-old children can already mentally identify numbers from one to ten, while others can even do more. However, each child has a unique pace when it comes to learning numbers. So, don’t force them to count if you see others do, and it’s not a big deal if they can’t. But here are a few steps you can do to help you teach your child how to count like a pro in no time.
Steps You Can Do to Teach Toddlers to Count
1. Start by showing your toddler all of your fingers, from pinky to thumb.
2. Point to each finger one by one, and say the number that corresponds with each finger, in order. For example, say, "One," and point to your ring finger. Then say, "Two," and point to your middle finger, and say, "Three." and point to your pointer finger. Repeat this a few times until your toddler gets the hang of it.
3. Show your toddler all of your fingers again, and this time say each number as you point to each finger. Do this a few times until your toddler feels comfortable counting with you.
4. Now that your toddler has learned how to count from one to three, you can practice counting fingers. Show just one of your fingers to your toddler, then show the other fingers. Point at both fingers and say "[number] plus [number]." For example, say, "One plus two." Say this a few times until your toddler feels comfortable. Then say it with more fingers.
5. Now that your toddler knows how to count fingers, and knows the number names in order, you can practice counting objects together. There are two ways of doing this: one is by pointing to the object and saying the number name of that object, then showing another object and saying the number name for that object.
For example, you might say, "One apple. Two kites." Or you can say a random number of objects first, then show your child all of the corresponding fingers after counting objects, so he or she knows how many objects there are in total. Then, you can count one object at a time and say the number name of that object. For example, "There are five trucks," and then after pointing to all fingers, "One truck." Repeat this a few times for each object.
It's okay if your child says the wrong number during this exercise. As long as your little one is practicing and trying, that's what matters the most. Your toddler will get it right after repeated exposure. You can also play games with toddlers like BINGO using numbers, and when they get three in a row, they win!
At Mrs. Myers' Learning Lab, we offer small group programs that teach toddlers to count in fun yet engaging ways. Contact us today for more information!