Even as early as one year old, children can learn to show their age with their fingers. At that age, they don’t have a concept of numbers, and can only respond with words and gestures they have memorized. But before long, they are able to grasp the quantitative concept—which will benefit their math skills, cognitive ability, and executive functions.
A study from the University of Missouri shows that Preschoolers who are taught to count to 20 and understand the cardinal values of numbers before grade 1 earn better scores and a higher chance of success with math later on.
Teaching your child to understand the quantitative concept of numbers and being able to count doesn’t have to wait until just before kindergarten. Expose your child to numbers with fun activities that involve counting familiar objects and crafting artwork with stamps and stickers.
How high should a 4-year-old be able to count?
By age 4 your child can probably count up to 10. From then on, working towards counting to 20 and higher by kindergarten will help your child be better prepared for math when they get to grade 1.
Help your child group small numbers of objects and add or subtract some to show how numbers can grow or be reduced. Your child will gradually begin to understand the concept of cardinal numbers, which will form the foundation of their math skills later on.
Fun counting activities to practice cardinal numbers
1. Count the balloons
Help your child count from one to ten verbally—you can point out the groups of balloons as you count, if your child is still struggling with the order and sounds of the numbers. Point to each number as you say it out loud, so your child can repeat the sounds as they look at the numbers. Let your child color the balloons and count how many are in each group, then let them find the correct number and glue it in the box.
2. Stamp counting
Let your child stamp the correct number of shapes to match the indicated number for each row. If you don’t have stamps handy, you can improvise by dipping your child’s finger in paint, or using stickers instead.
3. Stacking scoops of ice cream
Let your child color the scoops of ice cream in different colored flavors and cut them out—a great chance to practice their scissor skills!—then let them stack the indicated number of scoops on each ice cream cone. Play an ice cream vendor game with your child, asking for different flavors and numbers of scoops, and help them practice counting.
4. Find the right number of pepperoni slices
Help your child cut out the pizza slices, then let them count the number of pieces of pepperoni on each one and find the right section of the plate to put it. Another good practice opportunity to develop your child’s scissor skills.
5. How many are there?
Let your child find the different items in the image and help them count each type and write down the number next to each object at the bottom of the page. Counting the colorful shapes while searching for them in the crowded image challenges your child’s attention span as they learn to count.
Here are 5 free printable counting activities to teach your preschoolers. Let your child have fun while learning about numbers and counting to gain an understanding of the quantitative values of numbers.
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