Like most parents I want to support my kids and help them to learn. We all want to do our best to make sure our kids are school ready when the time comes. Every child develops at a different rate but the more we can do to encourage learning from a young age the better. I was really struggling to engage with my autistic son when he was a toddler but finding the right ways to interact with him like Attention Autism, Picture Exchange Communication and the TEACCH method really opened up our interaction.
How do I teach my child to count?
Like most parents I was concerned with what I could be teaching my kids at home and whilst there are many things you can work on, colours, shapes and numbers are key learning areas. For young children to enjoy and engage with learning it needs to be fun. Incorporating learning into play is the best place to start.
Very young children can learn to say numbers 1-10 but they won’t necessarily understand counting for a while and many don’t learn to count until they start school. Some children are better at saying numbers than recognising them and vice-versa. Try not to worry about the level your child is at and just keep providing fun opportunities to learn, they will get it when they are ready.
Music & Nursery Rhymes
Children learn through repetition so unfortunately you will be singing the same nursery rhymes over and over again. Music is a great way to help your child learn. There are lots of nursery rhymes you can use for numbers:
- 1, 2, 3, 4 5 once I caught a fish alive
- 5 little ducks
- 5 little monkeys
- 10 green bottles
- 5 little speckled frogs
- 12 days of Christmas
- Ten in the bed
- 5 currant buns
- 5 little men in a flying saucer
Nursery Rhyme Lyric sheets:
My kids are much better at learning visually so if you have visuals or toys you can use that’s even better. My kids love making the bottles fall as we sing 10 green bottles.
Number & Counting Books
There are so many great books to help children learn numbers. Rhyming books are particularly good as these are easier for children to remember. These are my favourite number books.
The series of Ten Little .. books by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty are brilliant. They are wonderful rhyming books that will help kids to recognise and count between 1 and 10. My favourites are Ten Little Dinosaurs and Ten Little Pirates. My nieces really love Ten Little Princesses.
Another great counting book, again using rhyme is One Mole Digging a hole by Julia Donaldson.
My First Numbers is a good one to let your children explore, I used to keep this one in the car for the boys to look at while we were driving.
There are also some brilliant wipe clean books which are great to help children learn how to write numbers. My 3 year old is particularly enjoying these at the moment.
Using the TV & IPAD to learn numbers for toddlers
Using your child’s interests to support them to learn is the best way to get them to enjoy it. Lets face it there is noting kids love more than TV and IPADs so use that to your advantage.
The best TV show out there for children learning numbers is Numberblocks (pictured above). This programme is fantastic and if your kids haven’t seen it you need to check it out. My son loves all the characters 1-10 and it has helped him start to understand counting too. Numberblocks have some great associated resources online, they have a range of apps which both my boys love. You can also get your hands on a Numberblocks magazine with the characters to build and lots of number activities included.
Another great number app for little ones is ‘counting bear’.
Little Baby Bum has some great number learning songs that can be played online through youTube or on Netflix. Whilst the songs are a bit annoying for us adults they seem to be mesmerising to most young children and they are brilliant for learning numbers. Here is one that helped my boys to count to 20.
This only works if your child likes puzzles but if they do then there are some brilliant number puzzles out there. My favourites are:Wooden Shape and Number Puzzle from Early Learning Centre
When your child has got the hang of numbers you can simply tear up a sheet of paper and write down 1-10 for them to put in order.
The Duo Puzzle and Counting Rings from Jumbo Toys are brilliant for learning to count:
Numbers are Everywhere
We are surrounded by numbers all the time so the more we highlight numbers the more familiar children will be. You can point out the aisle numbers in the supermarket or numbers on houses. If you are cooking show the child when you are measuring out the ingredients. Let children help with money and let them count out coins. It is easy to have visual aids around to support children to recognise numbers. A poster or wall chart in their bedroom is a great idea, I started with a poster of 1-10 and now we have 1-100:Count to 100 wall chart from the Works
Toys for Learning Numbers
You probably have a house full of toys which are great for learning numbers from toy phones to toy tills. One of my favourites is the Duplo Number Train a great birthday or Christmas present.
Duplo is another block system so like Number blocks it is great for introducing the concept of counting in a visual way.
An abacus is another toy that can support your child when learning to count, its also good for developing motor skills.Early Learning Centre Abacus
I hope you have found this post helpful, let me know your suggestions for teaching numbers and counting in the comments below. While you are here you can sign up for my monthly newsletter and get a free guide to autism therapies for young children.