Learning to count is easy … as easy as 1, 2, 3 … right?
Well, yes and no. There are actually quite a few processes involved in teaching a child to count. But you don’t have to study the concepts and principles behind it all – you just have to expose your child to as many opportunities to practice counting and recognising numbers as you can. Incorporating their learning into their play is a great way to do this – it’s fun and also gives them skills such as creativity, co-ordination and problem-solving.
Here are some games that will help your child to better understand numbers and counting – while playing with the LEGO DUPLO Number Train …
1. Building the train – recognising numerals
My 4YO can count but it’s more memory than understanding at this stage. And sometimes he leaves out ’13’ … perhaps he is superstitious. A step towards ‘understanding’ numbers is to identify numerals. He already has some knowledge in this area – he cracked my smart phone’s passcode when he was 2 – but when building the LEGO DUPLO Number Train (or making a train-boat by combining it with the Toddler Build and Boat Fun set, above) he is reinforcing his learning and I see exactly where he is at.
When building the Number Train children can start to identify the ‘number blocks’. Encourage them by pointing them out and calling them by name – “where is the 2?”, “I still can’t find the 6” … etc
2. Building a tower – one to one counting
The 4YO loves to go a bit off-plan with his LEGO building and either builds complex hybrid vehicles (think airplane digger or garbage truck zoo airplane) or simple but vertigo-inducing towers.
Tower building is a good opportunity to work on the concept of one-to-one counting. This is the idea of matching objects to numbers and understanding that each object being counted is ‘one more’. Have them count each block as it is placed on top of the next – “1, 2, 3 … etc”. Then try taking them down again one at a time and counting backwards.
3. What comes next? Understanding number order
The concept of ‘number order’ is a bit new to The 4YO but it is one that will accelerate his understanding of numbers and help him grasp maths concepts when he starts school next year. A good idea given that his father is a maths teacher … no pressure then!
Put all the numbers in order and take one away (or wait until one of your other children steals one!). Ask your child which number in the sequence is missing. To advance his understanding further start the counting higher in the order… for example … “6, 7, 8 … what comes next?” This will introduce them to each number individually and think about the numbers place in the order (rather than relying on rattling them off by heart from number one).
4. How old are you? Early number recognition
The 2YO is already counting and showing signs of number recognition so we play a game called ‘how old are you?’. Before we had the LEGO DUPLO Number Train we’d play this by putting number stickers on our foreheads. There was only one incident when the kids asked me how old the baby was and when I turned around she had ‘5’ (as in months) stickers all over her poor little head. Of course she was loving the attention!
Put all the DUPLO Number Train numbers in a pile and give the children their own ‘special number’ – their age. Younger children will learn to recognise their own number. Put them all back in the pile and ask the children to find their ‘special number’. Show them your age too – that should blow their little minds!!
This blog post is sponsored by LEGO® DUPLO®