This week, the children took part in activities that draw attention to the purpose of counting – to find out ‘how many’ objects there are. Last week, they used subitising to identify the number in a set; they are now developing their counting skills to enable them to identify how many there are in a set that cannot be subitised. This connects subitising and counting to cardinality whereby the last number in the count tells us ‘how many’ things there are altogether. The children have also practised developing 1:1 correspondence, by counting numbers at the same time as moving or tagging the objects. Using active gestures, such as indicating with a wand, helps to make this link explicit so the children have been making their own counting wands to support their independent counting.
The children also explored how all sorts of things can be counted, including sounds. Singing counting rhymes will give them opportunities to hear, join in with and develop their knowledge of the counting sequence. This week we have been singing the song '1, 2, 3, 4, 5 once I caught a fish alive'; it would be great if you could keep singing this song together at home and practise showing the numbers on fingers.
The children have also been enjoying exploring the new maths area outside. They have been practising forming numbers in the sensory sand trays and counting out matching amounts of pebbles/pinecones/conkers.
Make a counting wand together at home - collect a stick from outside and decorate it with ribbons/paint/pipe cleaners. It is useful to add a button or bead to the end of the wand so that the children can hear the 'tap' of the wand as it tags the item they are counting - this encourages 1:1 correspondence and helps them keep track of their tagging of numbers.
Practise counting objects at home such as windows, shoes or teddies. It would also be helpful to practise counting claps/stamps/jumps to develop the idea that you can count things that you can't necessarily touch or see.