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How to Teach Kids to Count

All this week, I've been posting about math things for the classroom like the Giant 100 Chart Poster for the wall and the 100 Board Game for learning skip counting and patterns.  To end the week of math fun, I wanted to put together a roundup of ideas for teaching kids how to count.  Most kids can recite the numbers in order and learn them almost like a chant, but to actually understand the quantity and value of a number takes a lot longer.  Here are a few ideas to help kids practice.

When I first started homeschooling, I was very drawn to the Montessori method.  The sequence makes sense to me, I like the materials, and the styles seems especially suited to hands-on learners (kinetic kids).  Because of our family dynamics and other factors, we never went "full Montessori;" however, we still dabble in the supplies and ideas frequently.

The Spindle Box is one way that the Montessori Method teaches one to one counting.  The set up provides 5 or 10 places for kids to put counters and some long objects for counters.  The "spindles" can be straws, sticks, q-tips, or other thin objects.  The child counts out the correct number of spindles into a pile, and then picks them up in one hand to move them to the cup or tray.

It's important for the parent or teacher to give the child only as many counters as they would need.  For numbers 1-5, you'd need 15 counters and for 1-10, you'd need 55 spindles.  The exact amount serves as a self-check for kids to see whether they've added the right number to each cup.  The child should do the spindle box as many times as they'd like until they feel like they understand it.

Beyond the Montessori method, there are many other DIY ways to teach kids how to count.  I tried to include a variety in the above picture.  Some of them are Montessori-inspired and some are not.  You can find a fun way to learn math for almost any theme kids like or any theme study you might be working on.

Penguins ♦  Dinosaurs  ♦  Mini Trains  ♦  Coffee Straws

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