According to our Parent Educator with the Parents As Teachers program, many of the children entering Kindergarten can count 1 to 10 but, if you put 5 items in-front of them, they don’t know how to count them….meaning that they don’t realize that numbers are associated with quantities of items. She said that parents do a good job of helping them learn the sequence of numbers but it’s also VERY important to actually have the child count out items when memorizing their numbers. Association and visual counting is just as important as is knowing which number comes next!
One of the easiest ways to help a preschooler learn to visually count is by providing objects for the user to see and touch when practicing their counting. This busy bag, called Bean Counter, is a fun tool to grow this skill.
The bag contains a large handful of dry beans and a stack of 10 index cards; each with one number on the front and coordinating number of stickers on the back.
Upon opening this bag for my 2-year-old for the first time, I instructed him to use one card at a time and place the beans on each sticker as he counted aloud, then announce when completed. Well, that smart cookie realized the numbers were also stickers -- right after I gave him the #1, he announced he was done! I look over to see that he’s placed a bean on the actual number….funny kid. At least he did follow directions!
We then reviewed what he was ‘supposed to do’ and the bean counting took a bit longer this time. :) He had a lot of fun inspecting the stickers on each card because each set was different. Plus the cards with higher numbers had smaller stickers and he spent a lot of time just looking at everything before placing beans.
My 4-year-old jumped in to ‘help’ and he showed more interest in completing the cards in order than focusing on the actual stickers….I guess the activity interest will vary a lot from child to child as well as with each use.
I’m not a big fan of using flashcards because I’m not diligent enough to present them regularly but….this activity is fun because it’s self-correcting and is self-led play.
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