Saturday, January 19, 2013

Visualizing Numbers 1-100

Early this week, we were driving to our favorite hamburger restaurant with an impatient 3 year old. We told him it would take 5 minutes. He started to count to 5, and both Big J and I began to laugh. We told him 1 minute is 60 seconds. For 5 minutes, he'll have to count (slowly) to 60 five times or 300. To my surprise, he starts to count. The last time he counted aloud he got to 39, so I was surprised to hear him get to 66 without assistance. I helped him with 67 and the 10's after that. We got to 113 when he stated that he wasn't really good at counting. I chuckled and said that he did a VERY good job with his counting.

I have to admit that I was thoroughly impressed with how far he got with very little prompting, but I knew then what my next lesson was going to be! I got home and created a chart of numbers 1-100 for J using Excel. I decided to start with 0 and go with the 10's on the top, so everything in that column would have the same first part of the number (ie. twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, etc).

I waited till this morning to print it out.

I used another sheet of paper and covered the columns (the vertical set of numbers) except for the 1's column. I called J over to look at the numbers. I pointed at the numbers in order, and he stated the number. Then I had him guess what comes after 9 (10), and I uncovered the next column (the 10's). I continued to have him guess the next column until 70 (where he was having difficulties a few days ago). I uncovered the 70's before he got to it. He didn't need prompting with any numbers until 100!

I knew he knew the numbers visually, 0-10, but I wanted to see if he could recognize larger numbers if I wrote them out. I wrote out 25 on the piece of paper I used to cover the columns in the previous part of the lesson. He knew the numbers separately, but he couldn't say it was "twenty-five". We found 25 on the chart and counted from 20 (which he recognized) down to 25. This led to another lesson, addition. 43 is 40+__ (three). He caught onto this concept fairly easily, so it was easier to find the bigger number on the chart. We did that with a few other numbers.

Other numbers we had him find on our chart: all of our ages, how old we'll be after our birthdays this year, grandma and grandpa's ages, and how old they'll be after their birthdays this year.

How do you help your little one understand numbers and sequences?


  1. I am very impressed that he counts this well! My five-year-old is really enjoying our "abacus" (not really a proper abacus, but based off of one) from IKEA. He likes to do math problems on it.

  2. He constantly surprises me with his knowledge, especially in the math area. Both Big J and I are big math people, so I figure to keep his interest and challenge him as long as he is willing.

    I saw the abacuses at IKEA the other day and considered getting one.

    J likes math that is associated with food, ie. he has to take 5 bites and he already had 3, so he has __ more to go. When I was a little older, maybe like 5-8 yrs, we did math with money, but I think he needs to be older to understand the concept that a dime, which is smaller than a penny, is actually worth 10 pennies. Right now, he just gives me a blank look when we talk about money.