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.

 Features: Sets with items to be counted fade into screens with numbers. Each number and the name of each object is pronounced. A musical game reinforces concepts. Touch buttons to practice counting objects and to review numbers Sequential/Random option for determining the selection of Flash Cards On/Off option for sound effects \$0.99 Available at the Apple iTunes Store.
Activities

Number Flash Cards

Number Flash Cards help to encourage recognition and identification of numbers in a variety of ways. Objects appear on the screen and dissolve into a card labeled with the name of the object. As each card appears, the quantity and name of the object is pronounced.

The child controls the pace of the learning experience by either swiping the screen or clicking a button to move to the next flash card.

The Preferences screen provides control over four options. Sound effects can be turned on and off. Whether the name of a shape and number of objects is spoken can also be controlled. For variety and to hold the child's interest, control over whether the shape or the cartoon character is displayed first can also be changed.

The type of counter used can be switched to base 10 blocks to show larger numbers.

Number Buttons

Number Buttons is an interactive game where the child touches a button that is labeled with one of sixteen different objects. When the object button is touched, a group of objects associated with the button appears on the screen.

Shaking the phone randomly selects a different set of sixteen objects.

To play Number Buttons, ask your child to say the name of the object and count the objects in the set by tapping the screen. Or, say the name of an object and ask your child to find and press it, and then count the objects in the set.

Music Time

Music Time turns your iPhone into a musical instrument where dogs and cats 'sing' notes. Using a simplified piano keyboard, the child taps the keys that correspond to the numbers under the notes in the simple musical notation. As the child taps the keys, the cartoon characters play the notes of the song.

In addition to helping the child learn the sequence for numbers 1 through 8, this activity helps to develop a sense of rhythm and melody.

Press the right or left arrows to change songs. Tap the dog, cat or piano to select the instrument. Tap home to exit.

Numbers 123 is now available at the Apple iTunes Store.