Early Learning in 5 minutes | Counting with Baby
Counting is an important task that will never get old to your child as long as you make it count. Math is everywhere, and children are inundated with quantitative values all the time. Babies begin understanding quantitative values very early. This is not a scientific debate either.
Counting everything is a small habit worth building. Begin simply with snack time. Count out the cheerios, the grapes, the crackers, the apple slices. Count it all! Take it to play time and count shapes, cars, duplos, dinosaurs but most especially whatever interests your baby most.
Counting races are also fun. Count up to 30 to see who can clean up the fastest. Count backwards when buckling up baby. Count up to see how long it takes you to fold clothes. This is an exercise of intention at first but soon it will be a habit that your baby will pick up and try all the time.
Using a sing song voice that is filled with enthusiasm is often classed as baby talk, but this natural intuitive voice is very beneficial to baby. It is one of the ways that you will make counting a joyful activity for baby. Avoid the use of non-sense words but embrace the sing-song voices that appeal to your baby most.
Making it Special
There are ways to make counting particularly special. You can designate a toy that is just for the fun of counting. This could be a special set of cars, dolls or blocks. The key to making this work is to make it quite a show when bringing out the box of counting objects. Filled with enthusiasm and theatrics bring out the box. The most important key for success is putting it away before they want you to put it away. Keep them always wanting more of it.
Sometimes you have a long list of chores that get in the way with getting your counting in for the day. Sometimes it just takes one little 2 minute video that will do the trick. You want to be consistent in the counting so if all you can do is pull out a 2 minute video at lunchtime by all means do it. To make the most of this time, it is important to participate with Baby.
Here is playlist of counting videos that will help you and find more HERE! There are tons out there on YouTube. You will want to pick videos that have a combination of large print words but most especially, look for videos that are counting objects. We want the baby to tie number words to the idea of the quantity that the number represents. Otherwise the numbers are arbitrary and meaningless.
I highly recommend Marshmallow Math. It is a simple book to get you started in your baby’s math journey. Most of the exercises can be done easily with baby using everyday objects to grow and strengthen your baby’s mathematical mind.
Below is a list of apps that I have used for counting with baby. Some are free and some are not. I love them all and it is good to switch up the apps you use to prevent boredom and strengthen their understanding as each app offers something a little different. Baby will gain the most from these apps by you doing it for them. They will get distracted by playing with the screen, but by merely playing with the app in front of them, they will begin to deduce patterns.
Remember, math is everywhere. 30 seconds of counting spread out through the day will make a massive impact on baby’s love for numbers! You are developing their awareness by these different exercises and it could be years before they really grasp these ideas but they are still worth doing. You are setting a joyful tone for learning and developing their language skills. They will also have a wealth of knowledge to draw from when they begin to put their mind to understanding their own relationship to numbers.
Have a favorite way of introducing numbers to baby? Comment below. I would love to hear.
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