MATH GAMES FOR ADULT AND CHILD
COUNTING TILL YOU GET THERE
TOPIC and LEVEL: Counting: Basic and Intermediate
PLAY AFTER: HOW MANY WOULD YOU LIKE?
PLAY WITH: HOW MANY WOULD YOU LIKE? COUNTING BY TWO'S, COUNTING BY TEN'S, THE HUNDREDS BOARD
PLAY BEFORE: THE HUNDREDS BOARD
Even before a child understands the numbers he or she is reciting, counting is a very good activity. COUNTING TILL YOU GET THERE is an excellent travel game, but it's been included in counting games because of its importance as a beginning math game. When traveling, one won't generally be working with concrete objects, so the counting here reenforces the periodicity of numbers, the repetition of the same sequence of sounds in number names, and the abounding number patterns. COUNTING TILL YOU GET THERE should be parallelled at home with concrete counting experiences and games of HOW MANY WOULD YOU LIKE? Particularly with older child THE HUNDREDS BOARD should be used so that numerals are reinforced and patterns in numerals may be recognized just as patterns in spoken number names are emphasized here.
When counting with a very young child, the adult should count the even numbers. For example:
The Adult and Child are seated in the front seat of a moving car.
The Child: "Mommy, how far is it to Grandma's house?"
The Adult: "It's about 10 miles, Heidi. It'll take 10 minutes. Would you like to count to see how long it takes?"
The Child: "O.K."
The Adult: "YOU START counting, Heidi."
The Child: "One."
The Adult: "Two."
The Child: "Three."
The Adult: "Four," Silence prevails. The Child is thinking. Helping her probably isn't necessary.
The Child: "Five."
The Adult: "Good! Six."
The Child: "Seven."
The Adult: "Eight."
Silence. And continued silence. The Adult holds up nine fingers. The Child then counts them and says: "nine."
The Adult: "Good! Ten." (A first major counting hurdle is achieved.)
All this has probably taken three or four minutes. The Child may now say, "Let's do it again."
As a child becomes a better counter, the players would continue counting rather than return to the number one as illustrated above.
The Child: "Let's count, Mommy. One."
Then alternating: "Two." Three." "Four." with the Adult emphasizing the repetition of the one, two, three through nine pattern, every-ready for coaching by finger hints.
As the Child gets better, the emphasis shifts away from the one, two, three sound to the more sophisticated TWENTY, TWENTY-one, TWENTY-two, TWENTY-three, TWENTY-four, ... sound.
After time, with the Adult still controlling the counting by stating the even numbers, the repetition of the one through nine sequence and the sequence of twenty is joined by the thirty sequence and the forty sequence. These are more important patterns to hear and recognize.
As the Child's sophistication grows, she should assume the role of the counter of the even numbers. It is a more difficult job because at the even numbers of ten, twenty, thirty, the counting patterns shift.
Learning to count takes a long time.
In the above example, the counting ended long before the trip. In practice, one may be counting at the time of arrival. Players may have counted all the way to two hundred fifty-one or four hundred or higher. Michael and I started these counting exercises when he was two and it took months to master counting through ten and then through twenty. Sophistication developed and we were able to count higher. Eventually we decided not to begin counting with one, but recorded the number on which we ended then used this as the starting place when we began counting again. By the time Mike was five, we'd counted through one thousand two hundred and never again bothered with the sequential counting: COUNTING BY TWO'S and COUNTING BY TEN's had replaced it.
COUNTING TILL YOU GET THERE played by two people may be used to ready a child for COUNTING BY TWO'S and COUNTING BY TEN'S. When played by two young children and one adult it is more difficult. With older, more experienced children, COUNTING TILL YOU GET THERE is an excellent readiness activity for games like Buzz and Bang-- games in which numbers are omitted when counting.
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