Building a Tower of Numbers

D, I noticed that you were developing an interest in counting and I wondered what would be a good way to invite you to count through play, while also encouraging your recognition of numbers. I brought our stacking people toy out of the closet and placed it on the shelf; it wasn't long at all before it drew your attention.

This toy is interesting because as you place the people on top of one another a number shows above their heads on the stick behind them. You were counting as you placed the people, one on top of the other.

When you noticed the numbers you inquired, "What number is that?"

I explained that as you count, the number of people that are stacked will be the number that is shown above their heads. You were so excited! You began to count and ask if the number that you saw was the number you had said. How wonderful! You quickly made connections as you continued to play with this engaging toy.

I laughed so hard when you dropped the people back in to their basket saying "Ouch! Ooh! Ouchie!" You are such a creative little person and so drawn to dramatic play that you gave the wooden people personality as you tidied up.

What It Means

You were able to count the stacking people to determine how many of them there are (4.13 Determining Quantity, ELECT page 55) and you are beginning to recognise numbers in print! (4.15 Representing Numbers, ELECT page 58). I am amazed by how quickly you began to pick up which printed number connected to the number you had counted to!

You are learning to ask questions to help better understand your own observations (4.4 Questioning, ELECT page 53); asking questions is such an important step in learning something new.

Opportunities and Possibilites

I think that I will add some dominoes and large dice to our loose parts play; this would be a tactile way for you to continue to develop your counting skills. These materials could also expand in to use as building materials!

I will also gather the materials to create a counting game like the one pictured below. I think it will be a fun way to develop fine motor skills, counting skills, and number recognition. I know you'll have fun using the clothe pins for lots of other activities too! I'm excited to see all the wonderful things you come up with.