Learning Guide 20 – 24 Months
By Olynda Smith
The World Around Them
As your little one grows, they are working hard to figure out how the world works. Skillfully exposing them to the foundations of all academic areas will support them as they work to unravel the mysteries of the world around them.
In this box, you’ll find a set of counters in a container. These counters are a great place to start modeling counting for them. Remember, your child will develop an interest in counting at just the right moment for them. This activity is meant as a way to support them when they are ready. You’ll know they are ready because they will respond with interest and joy.
One To One Counting
Many times adults count way too fast for toddlers, or without clear correlation to the things they are counting. This makes it really hard for little ones to really understand what we are doing with this long narration of words (“one, two, three…).
We have to make what we are doing very clear and visible for them to understand what counting is all about. Learning that the number words correlate with amounts is a big step and an important “pre-math” skill.
How To Count One To One
Take out the container and counters. Take a moment to explore them and look at them together with your child. Then dump all the counters out of the containerl. Slowly place one counter in the container at a time saying the correct number word at the same moment of the action for each counter.
Let’s say you choose to say the number the moment the counter touches the bottom of the container. Wait and say the next number when that counter is at the same moment of being placed in the container. This simple thing is the magic that helps your child understand what the heck all those number words are about. You can count the items out of the container or into the container, it does not matter. What matters is that you are consistent about when you say the number word.
Your child may or may not start counting with you. Either way is completely okay. The point here is not so much that they learn the names of the numbers but that they learn the concept of counting things.
What Comes Next
Once you have counted with the counters in the kit for a few days, you’ll be ready to move on.
If your child is loving this work, pick a container you have at home as your designated “counter” container and place 10 items in it. Some suggestions are: erasers, pencils, socks, clips or dominoes. Get creative, and watch out for choking hazards. Repeat the same activity as above, making sure to use the magic one to one method. Change the counters every week for fun!
Count By Pointing
After some time deliberately counting things in and out of containers, you can start counting by pointing. As you count by pointing, make the same gesture each time and say the word at the same moment in the gesture. Count all the rainbow people, the cars, the elephants or the petals of the flower! This box is full of counting opportunities.
Counting things that aren’t things is very abstract AND it can be really fun! For quite a while keep your counting 1-10 at most. Once you’ve been counting actual things for a while, you can start counting actions. Model this kind of counting by picking an action and counting it one to one. Let’s say you pick jumping. Say your number word at the same time in the action every time. Will you count right before you jump? When you land? In midair? It doesn’t matter. Just be consistent! Other things to count: Claps, stomps, spins, push ups or steps. If your child joins in do not worry that their action won’t match up with your counting perfectly. Just keep your own counting clear!