This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Counting With Baby

When it comes to "teaching" your baby things like numbers and letters, there are several, simple things you can do. Here are some of my favorites.

You can start these at birth, but please don't expect to see any results for a very long time. One day, you will be reading with your 12 month old and she will tell you the letters in her alphabet book (this happened with us with Kaitlyn). It will just pop out one day and you will see your simple activities have paid off! You can continue doing these things throughout your child's life, making it harder as they get older.

Vary based on activity, but in most cases you just need you, your child, and your mouth.

I am always talking about how much I love books. I majored in English, so it is no surprise. When Brayden was a baby, we didn't have much money and thus didn't own a lot of books for babies, but we did have some numbers books by Baby Einstein that we enjoyed. We had the See And Spy Counting Board Book. There are lots of books out there.

On my Babywise blog, I recently asked for people to share their favorite books with me. One that was mentioned several times was Counting Kisses by Karen Kratz. That is one of the books we got for McKenna for Christmas, and we love it! She loves it and I love it. It goes from 10 to 1, with each page having kisses on a different body part (belly button, nose, eyes, hands, toes, etc.). I read it to her and kiss her cheek the number of times for each page. I say each number out loud, so I say, "one" then kiss "two" then kiss, etc.

As your baby turns into a toddler who can count, you can have her count the items on the page or each kiss instead of you.

I had forgotten about this trick, but one day I decided to Google my name and found an article in Parent's magazine with this tip from me. When Brayden was a baby, he hated to hold still. In order to keep him still while clipping his fingernails, I would count each clip. For whatever reason, it worked. I do it with McKenna, and it works.

As Brayden moved into toddler years, I would have him guess how many clips a finger would take or we would challenge ourselves to clip in fewer clips per hand than last time. As he could do simple counting, I had him count each finger. As he got better, I had him count how many clips per hand.

Carrying the principle over, I often count as I dress and lotion baby. I will say, "put a sock on one foot, two feet." This is a double bonus because you are also naming body parts.

You can count bites over and over up to whatever number you think is good for your child (for babies, I wouldn't go over ten).

I think you can see the picture here and incorporate this into your every day life. My favorite way of counting with my children is to just incorporate it into every day life. Count how many stairs you go up. Count how many toys they are playing with. Count the pieces of laundry you are folding. Take the idea from Kratz and count kisses as you dress baby. Exposure teaches them day by day, little by little.

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