We know how important it is for numbers to be meaningful. A child can't just say, "three," as there needs to be meaning attached to the number word. A child should have a concrete picture of what 3 means. Many years ago, we discouraged children from using their fingers to "do" math. Now, we recognize the importance of fingers to help children attach meaning to numbers. Children can and should count on their fingers. But you can take this a step further.
Trace a child's hands. Cut them out. You will likely need to do this as most preschoolers do not have the fine motor abilities to cut out more than a line or a simple curve. Once the child's hands are cut out, put them down.
Invite children to explore and count out loud by turning over the fingers. You can even play a game where children respond to questions like, "How many pets do you have? How many noses do you have?" This question and answer "game" allows children to see the correspondence between number and numeral. Math has meaning!
As a follow-up, encourage families to walk around their communities. Count the number of fences, blue cars, or people they see. Children can use their own fingers to show the number of objects they spot.
NAEYC - 2.F.02, 2.F.04, 2.F.11
Head Start - X.A.1, X.A.3, X.A.5.
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