Learning to identify numbers and count is the first step on the road to understanding mathematics. Math readiness, which includes the ability to recognize numbers and use them to count objects, is the foundation for basic arithmetic skills such as addition and subtraction.
Each child passes through developmental stages at his or her own pace. Counting and number recognition activities require observation and listening skills. As a child progresses, counting skills enable children to make quantity comparisons between groups of objects, and to perform basic arithmetic operations.
How do children learn to recognize numbers and use them to count? In order to recognize that a number can be used to describe a quantity, a preschooler must learn to associate an abstract symbol, the shape of a written number, with the number of items in a group. Number recognition and counting skills can be reinforced through repetition. By working with a child to introduce the concept of numbers by counting groups of objects found in the child’s environment, parents can help their children develop the skills they need to understand and enjoy mathematics.
Understanding that a specific number can be used to describe the quantity of objects in a set is essential when assigning the labels ‘greater than’, ‘less than’ or ‘equal to’ in order to compare groups. Addition involves combining the number of objects in two or more groups. Counting is a skill that is fundamental to both making comparisons and addition.
As a parent with a busy schedule, how can you help your child learn basic number concepts? Chances are, you’re already doing it. Talk to your child about numbers. Count objects in groups whenever possible. How many bananas are in the bunch? How many spoons in the drawer? Listen when your child talks. Point out the number of objects that you encounter together when you are with your child. You’ll be amazed at how much your son or daughter will learn if you’ll simply talk about the number of common household objects in a group.
The speed at which a child learns to recognize and name numbers and uses them to count objects varies greatly. But once a child has learned to recognize numbers and understands the concept of counting, he or she will want to practice this new skill often.
Numbers 123 is a fun, convenient way to introduce and reinforce basic math readiness concepts with your preschooler. For all the times you and your child have a minute or two, this iPhone application is the perfect opportunity to practice counting skills. It will entertain both of you while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, or traveling by bus or train. The possibilities are endless.