1. Overview

“Bean Bag Counting” teaches your child how to count to 5 by associating numbers with beanbags. Children should be comfortable counting to 5 beanbags without the aid of a parent before moving on.

Count the beanbags!
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2. Materials

Beanbags or any other object your child can hold in his/her hand.

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3. Activity

Video: Count the beanbags!
Place one beanbag in front of your child. Say “One” corresponding to the beanbag you placed on the table. Have your child repeat “One” after you. Then have your child do it alone. Make sure your child touches the beanbag and says “One”.

Adult: [Places one beanbag on table in front of child]
           [Touches beanbag] One.
            You count the beanbag.
Child: [Touches beanbag]
Adult: Now you try it by yourself.
Child: [Touches beanbag] One!
Adult: That’s right. [Touches beanbag] One.
Once your child is ready, add an extra beanbag. When you start counting multiple beanbags, make sure you point to each beanbag and say “One, Two, Three”, etc. First, you say it and then have your child repeat after you each time.

Adult: [Places three beanbags on table]
            [Touches first beanbag] One.
            Now you say it.
[Touches first beanbag] One!
Adult: [Touches second beanbag]
            Now you say it.
[Touches second beanbag] Two!
Adult: [Touches third beanbag]
            Now you say it.
[Touches third beanbag] Three!
When you count the last beanbag together, start from one and count all of the beanbags at once without your child repeating you after every number. Then have your child count the beanbags all at once.

Adult: Good.
[Touches first beanbag]
            Two [Touches second beanbag]
[Touches third beanbag]
            Now you try it
Child: One. [Touches first beanbag]
            Two. [Touches second beanbag]
            Three. [Touches third beanbag]
Adult: That’s right.
[Touches first beanbag]
[Touches second beanbag]
[Touches third beanbag]
Once your child is able to successfully complete the game, continue adding beanbags until your child can count all five beanbags.

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4. Confidence Builder

If your child needs help counting the beanbags, hold your child’s hand and guide it to the correct beanbag while counting. Have your child repeat after you as you complete the activity.

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5. Extensions

Once your child has mastered the basic game, try some of these variations to increase the difficulty:
  • Use different objects (grapes, pennies, stuffed animals, etc.)
  • Place the objects in a different order and have your child count them again going from left to right.
  • Scatter the objects in front of your child (not a straight line) and have them count the objects.
  • – Rearrange the objects after your child has already counted them and ask your child to tell you how many objects there are. Do not let your child recount the objects (this teaches number constancy – the idea that the number is the same regardless of how the objects are arranged: an idea we will follow up on later in “Hide and Seek”).
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6. Questions and Answers

Q: What should I do if my child says the wrong number?
A: Stop your child and correct him by starting from the beginning and touch each beanbag while saying the correct number out loud. If your child still can’t complete the activity, take your child’s hand and do the activity together. Repeat until your child is able to complete the game flawlessly.

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