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When my two older children were age three, they were very good at counting. That is, they were skilled at counting for their age. Many three-year old children can count to ten or twenty. A few can count to thirty and beyond. My children fell somewhere in the twenty-five to thirty range. Once they began counting to thirty but needed additional support to count higher, I decided to promote further counting skills. (When your child needs help to reach the next level in a particular skill, this is referred to as the Zone of Proximal Development.) This is a critical moment of learning for any child. Teaching counting skills beyond thirty was pretty easy to do using the project described herein. Your child will certainly enjoy it and you will have some fun along the way too!
Materials you will need: a hundreds chart, cards for the chart, a place to hang it, and good mommy or daddy energy!
(Find your pocket charts here.)
For the frugal parent: construction paper, marker, index cards or cardstock and yes, good mommy or daddy energy!
You can easily make a hundreds chart using large construction paper, a marker, and a straight edge such as a yard stick. First, draw the hundreds grid. Draw lines to make a grid with 10 squares x 10 squares. You will want to make sure each square in the hundreds chart is large enough to hold the cards you make. A good size is 2″ x 2″. Then, you will need to cut your 100 index cards or cardstock to fit into each square. (See note below on how to include your child on this activity.)
What to Do:
Choose a special day in the child’s life such as his birthday or Christmas. Figure out the day that is exactly 100 days prior to that special day and start counting! Decide on a specific time of day where you and your child will add a number to the hundred’s chart. I recommend starting in the morning since the concept also relates to time and the Calendar, which are also math concepts. Every day at that time, have your child point to and count out loud the numbers already in the pocket chart.
As your child begins to add numbers each day, he should begin to recognize number patterns. You can ask questions such as, “how are these numbers in this vertical column the same?” and “what do you notice about this row of numbers?” He or she will learn many skills from the chart such as rote counting, number patterns, names for symbols, sequencing, and comparisons.
If you purchase the pocket chart, it may come with numbers color coded by pattern such as numbers by two, five, and ten. You can use these later to build your child’s counting skills.
If you make the chart, don’t write out the numbers ahead of time. If your child is old enough to write, he can write the numbers each day. Then, you’ve added fine motor skills to this activity.
Most important, be excited each day while you are counting. Remember that your child is counting down to that special occasion and feeling loved and valued by mom and dad at the same time.