Counting tips for parents
Maths can be fun for you and your child to learn together. Counting is a basic skill your child will need and can build on later. You can use 10 tips to help your child with counting - including starting easy, using household items, computers, shapes and sizes.
Counting can be fun and entertaining
The earlier a child is taught to count, the better prepared they will be when they start school. Begin counting as early as possible. You can start by counting things that you see every day.
Before your child can walk and talk, you can count fingers and toes, stairs and toys. As they get older, they can join in and count with you. Count everything and anything with your child.
Sing counting songs such as "One, two buckle my shoe". Play Hopscotch – it's a counting game. There are other counting games such as Snakes and Ladders, Dominoes, Uno and Ludo.
Online counting games
You can use computer games to help your child count. Only use games that are "parent approved". There are also websites that have fun maths games.
Different ways to count
Once they understand counting in ones, you can introduce skip counting, such as counting in twos and fives.
Counting household items
Count the number of items or toys as you put these back in the box. Sort the washing into different colours, pair the socks or count and match the clothes pegs. Or when putting away the shopping, count how many tins of beans or cartons of milk you’ve bought.
Practise adding and subtracting with with younger children. For older children practise multiplying and dividing.
Explore your child's curiosity
Go on a number hunt together and discover places where numbers are used such as:
- a clock
- computer keyboard
- car licence plates
Counting the beats to your child’s favourite song and getting them to clap their hands or stamp their feet to the beat is a fun way to get your child counting. Use a whistle or other object that makes a noise and get your child to count the number of times you make the noise.
Use family activities
Your child's world is filled with everyday number problems to solve. For example, "There are four people in this family and each needs a knife and a fork to eat dinner.