Rote counting, simply put, is counting numbers from one’s memory, without attaching actual meaning to it. For example, when children recite the numbers from 1 to 10, they merely rote learn. They don’t connect these numbers with their implications or number sense. At beginning stage, children cannot count how many objects are in front of him or her; or add and subtract them. Nevertheless, this preliminary step is not something you can skip over or ignore.
This is because this is the first step in building the foundation of number sense and later mathematics in the child. It is thus important that the children have fun while rote learning the numbers, so that they may fall in love with engaging with numbers.
There are many fun activities that revolve around teaching children the art of rote counting as well as further ignite their interest in everything to do with numbers. We’ve curated a list of fun activities to build rote counting skills in your child.
Activities To Improve Rote Counting
1. Alternate it with fun movements
Children learn more when they are having fun. You can ensure the same for their rote counting exercise by alternating each number they say with a clap or a jump. For example, they say 1 and then clap, then 2 and clap, and so on.
They can also learn rote learning by passing the ball to each other in a game of throw and catch. This way they engage in rote counting while enjoying their playtime as well.
2. Sing the number song
There are many songs that have the number series in them. Singing these songs with the children will help them get a hang of the numbers without even realizing it. And who knows, it might awake a Mozart in one of them as well!
If you are not aware of any such songs, you will find a number of them by searching online. However, some of these songs have numbers starting backward. It might not be a good idea to sing these songs at the start of their learning phase as they may confuse the child.
Once the children become comfortable with the numbers, you can teach them the more complex songs to help them rote learn the numbers backward.
But in the initial phases, some of the good counting songs will be like ‘I, 2, 3, 4, 5; once I caught a fish alive’ or ‘1, 2, Buckle my shoe’.
3. Unleash the voice artist in you
It is said that children bring out talents in us we did not know existed. It is thus time to unleash the voice artist in you and teach them rote counting in the voice of their favorite cartoon characters.
This will keep your children hooked to the entire exercise and leave them wanting for more. Alternatively, you can make the activity more interesting by rolling the dice. You can assign one cartoon character to each number on the dice. You will then have to count the number in the voice of the character number that comes up.
After two or three turns, you can even ask the children to recite the numbers in the voice of their favorite cartoon character.
Use can also use hand puppets or even finger puppets during these voice-over activities.
4. Dance the numbers
Dancing is another way to express emotions and can be an excellent co-activity while rote learning. You can put the child’s favorite music on and give them two simple steps to dance to, after which they have to recite the number in the series.
This can be done as an individual and group activity and can fire up their motor skills along with the rote counting exercise.
5. Make it a group activity
Nothing makes an activity more interesting than a group of friends coming together. Rote counting is also an exercise that can become more interesting if turned into a group activity.
You can ask all the children in the group to form a circle and each child has to recite the number in the series according to his\her turn. They can also play it as a game of pass the ball or jumping together when each number is recited.
They can also form a pair of two or three and count together as a team.
6. Count the daily objects
This, although is not strictly rote learning. This is because when the child is counting the objects viewed in daily life, like the number of tables and chairs, they are attaching a context to these numbers. Rote counting, on the other hand, is merely stating the numbers without attaching any meaning to them.
However, this is the right next step in the direction of number learning. Once the child gets comfortable with counting from 1 to 10, ask the child to start counting the objects he or she encounters in his daily settings. This helps the child understand the significance of the entire exercise as well as make a practical usage of the entire rote counting exercise.
Rote counting is the initial step on which the foundation of lifelong mathematical skills is built. It is also an activity that requires minimal resources. Teaching the child role counting in a fun manner can open an entirely new world of numbers to play with and eventually master.