How high can you count? How fast can you count backwards?
Can you count in multiples? Can you count in another language?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35...
...34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20...
Do you need a quick activity to keep restless ones occupied? Why not try counting.
Count as high as you can. For the two year old child you may be counting up to three, four or five. For the teenager it may be as high as a billion. I wonder how long it would take to count that high? Wow! What a thought!
Make the task more challenging by counting backwards! How fast can you go? Do you always get stuck and have to think in one particular spot? Think about why?
You can randomly count or count "something". If you are away from home without "supplies" don't fret. There are things to count wherever you go! Count buttons on a shirt, cups at the table, people standing in line, cans on a shelf, cars on the road, fingers, toes, people or feet around you (while waiting in line or a waiting room). If you are waiting in a doctor's office how about counting ceiling or floor tile. Try to guess before you start counting, to make the counting game more interesting and fun.
If you are at home, try adding objects to touch to establish one-to-one correspondence while counting. This establishes pre-math skills and adds colorful fun.
Examples of counters: buttons, beads, marbles, pennies, cherrios or grapes (eat when finished counting!) or any other small round cereal, pasta, beans, small stones, etc. What else can you think of? These manipulatives also help develop fine motor skills while picking up the objects. Of course, if you are counting with toddlers and preschool children make sure you count small items with supervision!
For your preschool children, make pointing to and counting objects part of your daily routines. This will help increase their math skills, enabling them be more successful when they enter school.
If you are thinking, my kids are older, this counting thing is just for little kids...how about:
*learning to count (at least up to 10) in another language? or several languages?
*practice counting by 2's, 4's, 6's, 8's, 10's, 12's, 15's, 25's etc.
...now that would be fun and a huge help with multiplication.
*counting higher than 1,000. How does that go? billion, million, trillion...
*counting backwards from high numbers