## Funny Friday: Toddler Rules for Counting

How a toddler counts to 30:

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, FIVEteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, TWENTY-TEN.

I don’t have a video recording of it but hopefully I’ll get it before he learns the correct way to count – it’s tough getting a child to do a repeat performance when the camera appears…

With Gavin so keen to have more Thomas and Friends flash cards, I decided to make a set of flash cards to teach him numbers.  Gavin already knows numbers, but he still has difficulties recalling the number when he sees it.  Since some of the main characters from Thomas and Friends are numbered from 1 to 10, it made my job a lot easier.

Using Microsoft Powerpoint again, I inserted the number (e.g. 1), the word (e.g. one) and a picture of the corresponding train with that number (e.g. Thomas is number 1) on each slide.

When I showed hubby, he asked me whether Gavin could count and if he understood the concept of counting numbers.  The whole purpose of the flash cards isn’t necessarily to teach Gavin how to count or to learn his numbers but to create an interest in learning and to help develop the part of his brain that processes numbers.  If he learns to count and remembers his numbers as a part of the process, that’s great!  At the end of the day, all this is just to help stimulate activity in his brain to help facilitate the learning process when he’s older.  Anything that he learns from it is a bonus.

That said, I have taught Gavin the concept of counting using a Thomas and Friends counting magnets we bought from the Gardens in Midvalley.  Every so often, I catch him pointing to objects and counting them the way I had taught him, but he always starts from number three.  Since he clearly understands how to count but not his numbers, I decided to make the following slides using the troublesome trucks (one of Gavin’s all-time favourite characters from Thomas and Friends) as a counter to help him along.

Unlike the alphabets, Gavin didn’t seem to pick this one up as quickly, but he still enjoys it nonetheless and at the end of the day, that’s what counts.  Just when I thought he wasn’t really getting anything out of this, he pointed to the number six on a calendar and said, “Percy.”  Percy’s number is number six so it looks like he’s making an association with numbers.  Previously, he would only do this with colours – for instance, to Gavin, green is Percy’s colour.

Since watching Gavin and observing how he learns, I’ve realised that he knows a lot of things but pretends he can’t do it.  For instance, I used to sit with him to work on his 25 piece Thomas and Friends jigsaw puzzle that we bought from Toys ‘R’ Us in Singapore.  He would always ask me to help and I assumed it was because he couldn’t do it on his own.  One day, I left him on his own to work on the jigsaw puzzle while I went to do a few chores around the house.  When I left, all the pieces were on the floor beside the puzzle.  When I came back, I spied him with half the jigsaw puzzle in place – he had done it by himself, without help!

Since that day, I’ve learned never to underestimate a child.