Counting books can be a fun way to build literacy skills while introducing new math concepts. Add songs, talking, play and writing to reinforce skills through repetition.
For children 4 and up, Lemonade in Winter is a story about a brother and sister whose entrepreneurial ambition drives them out into the snow to hustle cold sour drinks. Predictably, business is not good, but the two problem-solve throughout and practice counting their money. This is a great read that invites you to count along, maybe with real or play money to help you keep track. Afterwards, you can create a sensory bin full of beans and coins and name the coins as they find them. You can also encourage your child to set up their own pretend shop to sell things. Then they can practice the vocabulary by setting prices and adding up the “profits.” For older children, you can extend this activity by helping them to plan for and buy a gift for someone in the family.
One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me is a peaceful book for toddlers. The simple rhyming phrases number the leaves as they bud in the spring, then count back down again as they fall in the autumn. Talk to your child about the changing seasons and then take a walk outside to count things that they see in the natural world.
Counting with a Lady Bug is an excellent board book for infants. The textured pages and finger trails will encourage babies to trace them, which is helpful for developing hand-eye coordination. Exposing babies to counting vocabulary will help them develop those skills more easily. Try to count aloud how many bites they take as they eat or describe stacks of toys as “more” or “less.”
Counting and sorting manipulatives is another way to practice. Moving the objects will help children improve their manual dexterity and develop skills needed for writing. You can create a game using an egg carton, pom poms and a pair of small salad tongs. Roll a die to decide how many pom poms to put in the empty spaces, then have your child pick them up individually with the tongs.
There are many exciting counting songs to practice. One of my favorites, “Bubble, Bubble, Pop,” names colors and has fun movements. Or download “Siete Elefantes” by Mister G from Freegal and practice counting to seven in Spanish with elephants, butterflies, lions and crocodiles. (It’s free with your library card!)
Sesame Street also has many episodes that involve math and counting, and it’s also free with your library card on Kanopy. Watch Will Arnett as Max the Magician use addition and subtraction to make things appear and disappear!
Have fun! Looking for more ideas about how to help your child develop literacy skills? Come to Chandler Public Library when storytimes start back up the week of January 8. - Crystal (Downtown)