## When to start

Babies begin to count much earlier than many believe. Already at 18 months - that tender age when many babies still have neither speech nor developed motor skills - children are actively interested in the number of objects, develop Learning to count begins in infancy: evidence from 18 month olds' visual preferencess their own strategies for counting them and enough nervously react to errors made by adults on numbers.

Therefore, the first games for acquaintance of a child with an account can be started as early as a year and a half.

However, it is important not to rush and not expect miracles from very young children. The ability to notice your own mistakes and establish clear patterns connecting numbers comes a little later - between 3 and 5 years Learning to count begins in infancy: evidence from 18 month olds’visual preferencess. It is this age that is considered optimal for starting meaningful math studies.

## 10 easy and fun ways to teach your child to count

### 1. Use digital examples more often in speech

By the age of 3-5, the baby is already developing a good vocabulary and is curious about words that are still incomprehensible. The more often numbers will sound in your speech ("It's time to wake up: it's already eight!" “To take this bun, you need to give your aunt 12 rubles”), the more attention the child will pay to them, curious and trying to get to the bottom of it.

### 2. Count wherever possible

You can count the steps. You can count down the seconds before the elevator doors open. You can use counting rhymes before starting any business: "One-two-three - Christmas tree, burn", "One-two-three-four-five - run." It is important for the baby to understand: numbers are not something abstract, but part of everyday life.

### 3. Play counting songs with video sequences for your baby

This is one of the most accessible, simple and fun ways to introduce a child to numbers, their order and the simplest rules of addition and subtraction. As surprising as it sounds, children learn math most effectively when they hear familiar and understandable oral speech. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation.

On YouTube, for example, there are tons of counting songs that your toddler can play on a trip or hum together throughout the day. Here is a modern urban counting song in Russian:

And here is a wonderful English-language collection for the little ones:

In general, choose what your baby will like - and go ahead: watch, listen and sing along.

### 4. Link numbers to development

The simplest example is the marks on the game stadiometer. “Look, on your last birthday you were 92 centimeters tall, and now it’s already as much as 100! Let's try you on in a month - I wonder if you will grow up to 101 centimeters? " The preschooler is actively looking for his place, himself in the world around him. He already realizes that he is growing. And the numbers growing with it, arouse natural interest as one of the ways to know oneself.

### 5. Play sorters

Sorting is one of the most important mathematical tricks. We separate even numbers from odd, integers from fractional, simple from composite … Naturally, the baby is still far from such concepts, but the logic of future arithmetic operations can be taught as early as 3-4 years old.

Sorter toys are well suited for this: using holes of different shapes, the child learns to separate different geometric shapes.

But the matter is not limited to toys. Sorting is quite accessible in everyday life. For example, you can ask a three-year-old to arrange towels in piles: white in one, blue in another. For a four-year-old, the task can be complicated by proposing to use two different sorting methods at once: "Could you first separate the white towels from the blue ones, and then put all the big white towels in this basket, and all the small ones in this one?"

### 6. Build

Toddlers love to tinker with all sorts of blocks and blocks. And this desire can be used as a way of teaching elementary mathematics. For example, to build a house, you need four walls. And the hole in the fence around the house (for example, made by a toy tractor) can be closed with one block … Oh, no, one block is not enough! And how much do you need? The child himself will realize that two or three blocks are required, and thus will come to the idea of multiplying objects.

With the help of bright plastic bricks, divided into different numbers of identical parts with rounded "thorns", the preschooler learns to feel the length: here on this block there are two "thorns" - it is short, and on the other - three, it is longer. Lego makes it easy to master addition: after all, if the length of the brick is not enough, it can always be lengthened by connecting it to another.

But not by single addition … Subtraction, operations with fractions, the square of a number, the search for the arithmetic mean - this is what you can learn while having fun with Lego. Lifehacker wrote about the nuances of Lego mathematics for the little ones here.

### 8. Use mnemonic cards

These are cardboard pictures familiar to many, where numbers are depicted next to the corresponding number of objects. For example, 1 can be depicted next to an apple, 2 - with a couple of bananas, 3 - with three cherries, and so on. The main purpose of such cards is to create a stable connection between the image of the number and its actual value.

It is good if such mnemonic elements are encountered by the baby as often as possible. For example, magnetic cards can be hung on the magnetized board of a children's easel or on the refrigerator. From time to time, without bothering the child, it is important to go over the cards with him, counting from 1 to 9 and back. This fixes in memory the sequence of counting and understanding what exactly is hidden behind abstract words like “two”, “three” or “nine” that are still incomprehensible to the baby.

Well, to make it interesting for the kid himself to tinker with the cards, there are models "with a secret". For example, sliding ones.

### 9. Count by the Montessori method

Legendary teacher Maria Montessori in her book “My Method. Guidelines for the upbringing of children from 3 to 6 years old”said that almost the best results in teaching preschoolers to count were shown by classes with money (or their dummies).

I give the children coins of one, two or four centimes, and with their help the little ones learn to count to ten. The most practical way to teach children to count is to show them the coins in use, and the most useful exercise is to change money. Such exercises are so closely related to everyday life that they arouse keen interest in all children without exception.

Maria Montessori

At the next stages, mathematical games with other subjects are connected. For example, apples: their child is invited to count and distribute equally to all the children present). Or, for example, with cups, when the baby is asked: "We are going to drink tea now, bring so many cups so that there is enough for everyone" (that is, the child has to first count the number of those present, and then bring the required amount of utensils).

Also Montessori considered it necessary to connect mathematics with sensations. It might look like this. Offer your child several brightly colored sticks of different lengths (you can simply sprinkle them on the table) and ask them to choose the longest one by eye. When the kid makes a choice, ask if he is sure that his wand is the champion? To check, compare it sequentially with the others remaining in the shared heap. It's good if on each of the sticks its length is indicated in the form of a noticeable number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 centimeters and so on. So the child will learn to feel the length.

### 10. Use the Glen Doman technique

American physician Glen Doman believed that the brain of a small child is much more powerful than is commonly believed: it is able to instantly analyze and perceive huge streams of information, even if it seems to adults that the baby "does not understand anything."

Doman's technique is based on approximately the same principle as mnemonic cards: on the establishment of a connection between numbers and what they mean. For the start, Doman suggested that parents make cards out of cardboard: a number is written on one side of them (in the case of 2-3-year-old kids - from 1 to 10), on the opposite side, the corresponding number of clearly distinguishable dots is applied.

According to Doman, you need to do math when your child is in a good mood.

Just a couple of minutes will be enough for the lesson. Show the kid a card with one dot and say clearly: "One." Then go to card two and so on. Do not delay: it should take no more time to show one card than to pronounce the corresponding number.

In the first lessons, the child should simply observe. Do not ask him to repeat or perform other actions. After showing all the cards, be sure to tell the baby how much you love him, how you like to teach him, pat on the head, hug and, if possible, treat him with something tasty: physical encouragement is an important part of Doman's method.

In the first couple of lessons, the cards should follow one after the other in a clear numerical order - from 1 to 10. Starting from the third or fourth, they can be shuffled like a deck. And do not forget: we show quickly, we praise generously. This will allow the child, without getting bored in the learning process and even having fun from it, to firmly master the connection between digital symbols and quantity.

## What's next

With the help of the methods listed above, the kid will be able to playfully learn how to count to 10 and in reverse order, as well as perform the simplest arithmetic operations: add and subtract. It will be easy for him, because he operates not with incomprehensible symbols, but with the meaning hidden behind him - the number of objects. For a 4–5 year old child, this level of mathematical knowledge is quite sufficient.

The next step is to consistently learn to count to 20, then to 100, to get acquainted with more complex operations: multiplication and division. However, even at higher levels, it is important to follow a key principle: mathematics should not turn into a heavy duty. The more joy and games in the account, the easier and easier it will be for a child (and then a teenager) to communicate with numbers.