Teaching Number Sense Using Your Child’s Age

I have been so excited to see my son associate amounts with numbers lately.  He is starting to understand that a number is not just a bunch of shapes (one looks like a line, zero looks like a circle, etc) but he is starting to have Number Sense.



Sean Patrick's first attempt to make "three" with his fingers



Sean Patrick’s first attempt to make “three” with his fingers

Sean Patrick is 3 and a half  and I realized we have used his age in association for almost everything we do:

  •  Three minutes in time out
  • Three treats as rewards
  • Three bedtime stories
  • Three minutes on the timer in preparation for bedtime or leaving the house
  • Three crayons out at a time while he is coloring
  • Three kids in our family! (Number three is three months now but I loved this pic)



1-2-3 babies



  • You get the picture 🙂

Because there is so much consistency and exposure to the AMOUNT three, Sean Patrick knows every combination that makes up three:

I was JUST upstairs telling him bedtime stories before his nap and after the first one I told him, he held up one finger and said “That was one, two more please.”

My husband has done a great job playing “How many fingers am I holding up?” with him because he will play it fast and fun and if Sean Patrick messes up then they count to see how many he is really holding up.  (That is a common core standard by the way- recognizing that the last the last number said when counting is the number that represents the group counted!)

So, if you haven’t tried this yet, start making a habit of associating as much as you can with your child’s age.  This year Sean Patrick will learn ALL the ins and outs of “what makes three” and even if I introduce him to “what makes four” and “what makes five” when he is ready, he will really have fluency to compose and decompose these familiar numbers!



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