I do not remember learning how to count. I believe I learned the pattern first, started counting up to 10, then 100, and so on. For my 6 year old daughter Rosie, however, it may have been different, as she early on set up a goal to reach: 100. Indeed, in K, it is a big deal Mom to know how to count to 100. Once she reached her goal, though, I started wondering if she hadn’t given too much importance to 100 as such. Like when a few weeks ago, she started counting by 2s in the car. 1…3…5….//…43….45… 47…….. until …. 97… 99… and 100 !!!!! As if there was a wall: I have reached 100, I am good now, I can stop.
So I make sure she has plenty of opportunities to explore the decimal system. To 100. And up. And a set of manipulatives that I find quite educational is the base-10 Blocks.
The set comprises Ones (little cubes called Units), Tens (a bar of 10 Units called Rod or Long), Hundreds (a plate of 100 Units, called Flat), and Thousands (a big cube comprising 1000 Units, called 1000 Blocks).
And Rosie enjoys “playing” with them, trading blocks i.e. 10 Ones for a 1 Ten, or 10 Tens for a 1 Hundred, using them to solve word problems, addition (see picture hereafter), even “creating” large numbers and see what they would look like (see 1358 for instance, on the picture below).
Just google Base-Ten blocks, and you will find tons of activities using these blocks, depending on your child’s grade level, and the concept you want to explore (place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc). If you do not have a set, you can even find online 2D templates to print out (would be helpful for the kids to see the 3D version at least once, though, before switching to a 2 D version).
I found these blocks extremely helpful. I am a fan. And you can count on me to write posts regularly about them.