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Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Fun with Numbers

Make counting fun. We went tractor "hunting," counted the tractors and pretended to drive them. 

Summer is the perfect time to notice numbers.  Whether you are on a road trip, at the pool or just shopping at the grocery store, point out numbers to your child.  We just went on a road trip and I couldn't believe how many numbers my son found or the things we counted. Even if they can't read the number, just pointing out the number encourages young children to begin identifying numerals.  

Vacation Counting:
1.  Numbers at the pool:  My four-year-old loves to jump off the edge of the pool, so I asked him to jump from the number 3 (marked for 3 feet deep).  Once he found the 3, he wanted to jump from the 5. 
2.  Numbers at a hotel:  When taking the elevator I asked him to push the number 1 or any floor that we needed.  He noticed there was a number outside our room and matched it with the room key. 
3.  Numbers on the road:  We looked for speed limit signs.  Even though some of the two-digit numbers were hard for him to say, he could find one number he knew.  
4.  Things to count:  We counted trains and trucks at a construction site.   Anything that had multiples, we tried to count. 
5.  Numbers at the store:  We went to buy souvenirs and I asked my son to find the price tag on the train he wanted. He asked, "What does it look like?"  I said, "Little numbers on a sticker.  Can you find it?" He surprised me when he read, "It says 12, mom."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Only Way Back is Forwards

Only Way Back is Forwards
I am totally amazed at the amount of counting/math that is involved with finger patterns.  It begins on their fingers going forwards, then isolating a finger pattern to name the number, linking finger patterns to an actual quantity, instantly recognizing a finger pattern that is flashed and linking finger patterns to real life scenarios such as counting wheels on a car. 

Lately I have noticed my four year old using his fingers to help keep track of "things" such as presents at a birthday party.  I have noticed a confidence build inside him as he notices numbers everywhere.  Now that he has an underlying confidence and really understands forwards counting, I have been talking to him about counting backwards.  

Beginning to Count Back
1.  Tie the counting back into something fun, such as jumping into the pool or racing your child around the house.  I say something like, "When I get to 1, go. Ready 3, 2, 1, go!"
2.  Depending on your child's age and ability level you can start with going back from 3 to 1 and then build from 5 to 1 and eventually from 10 to 1.
3.  Have fun while counting back.  We were watching the space shuttle take off and my son noticed the countdown so we now say, "blast off" after we get to 1. 

Video of Blast Off
This first clip is counting back from 5 to 1 without finger patterns.
The second clip is counting back from 5 to 1 with finger patterns.