How Many Do You See?


Saying the last number in the number sequence (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, there are 6 cups) and realizing  that is how many  objects in a set is understanding number and quantity.  By introducing this concept into everyday activities you help increase your child's math skills.

Tools and Materials

Clay or play dough, rice, water, measuring cups and containers, cookie dough and small candies, chocolate chips or raisins

Steps to take

Laundry detergent tops or yogurt cups are great for scooping and pouring- add some food coloring to make the water visible.

At Home

  • Take 2 lumps of play dough of equal size and form different items (a snake and ball, a pancake and a tower) and then ask your child "Now, which is bigger?" Some children don't yet understand that the quantities of the clay are equal even though we have changed their shape. Your child may answer that they are different, showing that they are developing an understanding of quantity. You can further this understanding by providing your child with materials to fill and pour such as sand, rice or water and measuring cups and other containers
  • Make number cookies-decorate cookies (make 2 dozen) with 1-10 candies, chocolate chips or raisins, after they are baked match cookies that have the same number of candies, mix the cookies up and ask your child to "find all the 2s and ask how many candies are on a cookie before they are eaten!" (1-5 for new counters).

On the Go

If you  have more time 

  •  At the grocery store say to your child, "How many apples do we need so that everyone in our family can have one?"
  • When you are out in the world counting, point out quantities that are always the same like a car always has 4 wheels, birds always have 2 legs and trees have 1 trunk.
  • Hold five small found items in your hand, like 5 rocks and ask "How many are there?", Your child may count "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" to arrive at the answer. Close your hand and open it again and ask, "Now how many do I have?" See if he can remember the last number in the counting sequence.
  • Use a die for various games. Roll your number, count it match cookies that have the same number of candies, mix the and say "Your rolled a 5, now give me 5      
  • Jumps, hops, claps, wiggles, baby steps, handshakes)." Roll the die and have your child take turns counting out the number you have rolled on the die (you can also use pebbles, blades of grass, snow balls, twigs or other small objects).

Words to Know

quantity  amount    number  count    how many

Possible Observations

Counts objects; matches numerals with objects; Answers questions; plays games; matches quantities