Noah (5 – Down syndrome) has been working on numbers lately. Playing hide and go seek with the other children seems to have sparked his interest in counting. When he counts now, he does a perfect intonation of counting to five or ten, but the only number he can say is two. So I’m happy to report we at least have something to work with.
Here’s our favorite number activities of the week:
The starting idea for this activity came from Pinterest, http://pinterest.com/pin/234961305530367529/. The original blog post and free printable, including numbers 1-30 and the alphabet, is here http://www.abcteach.com/directory/childhood/cut_and_paste/
I amended and extended the idea quite a bit in order to accommodate Noah’s abilities and to make the most of our work session. I found that writing the numbers in the blank square board so he could match them rather than order them from memory enabled him to be independently successful in this activity. Once he glue the numbers in place, I had him follow color them. This was a great time to practice following directions, like “Color the 1 red.” Next, I got out our foam numbers that we’ve had for eons and had him glue the correct number over the pre-cut and -pasted numbers.
Building Noah’s confidence in academic and skill-based activities is proving to be very helpful in gaining his cooperation. I’m finding lately the less confident he is about an activity, the more likely he is to whine and resist doing it.
Next came another idea born on Pinterest, http://pinterest.com/pin/234961305530367547/. This was just a simple printable booklet that used fingers and stamp pads to count 1 through 10. Very cute. You can get the free printable here: http://homeschoolcreations.com/preschoolmath.html. You’ll have to search through lots of pictures of printables on her page, but you’ll find lots of cool stuff along the way.
And another modified Pin, http://pinterest.com/pin/234961305529921075/. I loved the details the author of this task included, colored dots representing each number and the color-coded number and color words. These kinds of details are so helpful for our youngest children and children with special needs. Thanks, http://theadventuresofbear.blogspot.com/2011/08/bfiar-goodnight-moon-bonsoir-lune.html for the idea.
The original Pin was a Goodnight Moon activity. We didn’t have colored bears, but we did have colored frogs, so frogs it was:
Next, I pulled out our number magnets. I bought two sets at Dollar Tree so I could use them in a matching activity. I put the numbers in order from 1 to 10 on the fridge, and let Noah unscramble the second set of magnets and place each one under it’s corresponding number. The fact that both the 1s were yellow, both the 2s were red, etc., really helped support Noah’s discrimination skills. When he had them all lined up, we pointed to each number and counted from 1 to 10.
The easiest thing we can do to help our little ones learn to count is to capture each teachable counting moment. Is your little one helping to set the table? Count forks. Taking vitamins? Count vitamins. Reading a book? Count dogs or balloons or whatever else is on the page. Swinging? Count pushes. Neurotypical children often naturally go through a phase where they count EVERYTHING. Our special kids sometimes need extra support to experience those otherwise natural phases, but they are so helpful to go through, one way or the other. So if your child isn’t counting for himself, let him hear you count. You know what they say, “More is caught than taught.”
By the way, the next time I’m sharp or sarcastic with my kids, would someone PLEASE remind me of that very thing? You might want to wait until I’m done snapping, though.