We love to count

Learning to count and recognise numbers is the first stage of maths. It is a skill all children need. It is also one that they can enjoy.

Saying and remembering each number is only part of the process of counting.

Children will learn to understand the words they hear (“one, two, three…”) and how each number is written (1, 2, 3…). They will also learn what the numbers mean in real life.

There are so many opportunities to count. You can count cars or buses as you walk down the street, you can count trees or shops, or start to look for the numbers on houses.

You can find opportunities at home for your child to count. You don’t need to make a big deal about it, just make it something to do in your daily routine.

Ideas for counting

  • As you unload the dishwasher, say to your child: “I hope there’s going to be enough bowls for dinner tonight – let’s check!”
  • As you hang out the washing: “Can you please get me 3 pegs?”
  • As your child gets dressed: “Let’s count the buttons on your shirt.”
  • Count the number of times you and your child can throw a ball to each other without dropping it.
  • Count the number of eggs in a carton.
  • Read and talk about stories and rhymes that use numbers, such as Five Little Ducks and Baa Baa Black Sheep.

Ideas for upping their counting game

  • When your child can count independently, ask your child to count as far as they can. You can then encourage them to join in with you while you continue counting. 
  • You can ask your child to start counting from a number other than one. This will help them when they are learning to add two groups of numbers together.
  • There are loads of board games that use dice (such as Snakes and Ladders, or Junior Monopoly). You can use the dice from these games to help your child’s learning. Start with the type of dice with dots so that they can get used to counting the number and then change to the dice that show numbers to help your child read and recognise them.

Learning about numbers and counting can be a great time for your child as they start to recognise how numbers work in the world around them and what they can do with them. They will love it.