Shortly after my daughter turned two last year, I began teaching her how to count objects. We would sit on the living room floor and count blocks, dolls, crayons, or whatever we had on hand at the time. After several months of counting practice, it was time to introduce written numbers and begin associating them with the number of objects counted. I used flash cards and blocks as well as a wooden number puzzle. I also wanted to make something to teach number identification and counting. My passion for creating learning activities has increased since I've been out of the classroom. I think it's because I miss teaching so much!
I designed these simple button counting mats and printed them on heavy card stock in different colors. Here is the free printable for your downloading pleasure:
I gave my tot a few buttons and counted with her as she placed one on each smiley face on the mats. We started out with the lower numbers, and then worked our way up to counting to ten.
Feel free to use any objects besides buttons for this activity- pennies, beans, raisins, crackers, stones, beads- whatever motivates your child to want to count! Buttons seemed to do the trick for my kiddo. (Just make sure to supervise so that nothing inedible is swallowed.)
We store the buttons in a zip bag and place the bag and mats in a plastic folder with a flap that snaps shut. We can easily take it with us wherever we go as a "busy bag" type activity. (It came in handy at a recent doctor's appointment when we found ourselves waiting an extra long time to be seen.)
It took months of modeling and repetition until my tot could cover the mats and count on her own. Now, at age three, she can do this activity independently, and she still enjoys taking it out and practicing her counting skills.
What are your strategies for helping your child learn to count and identify numbers?
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Welcome! My name is Katie, and I'm an elementary teacher turned stay-at-home mom. This is my little space for sharing crafts, learning activities, thoughts on parenting, inspirations, and healthy snacks and recipes for tots. I'm so glad you're here!
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