What age does a child usually start to understand the concept of numbers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I know alot of kids DD age (23 mo) know how to count bc they have memorized the numbers, but when do they start to understand that if you have 1 cookie and you get another that makes 2, if that makes sense.

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#2 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 08:37 AM
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DS (21 months) has understood one cookie, two cookies for a few months but any number beyond that is either "many" or "four-six."

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#3 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 10:00 AM
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Micah actually learned what 1 or 2 of something was before he learned to count somewhere between 2 and 2.5 (mostly 2 items). I was actually getting a little worried just before he exhibited the skill because he did not have any knowledge about numbers at all. He didn't pick up rote counting until about 2.75. He seemed to always skip one at the beginning (to the point where me requesting "start with one" became a habit). But, he also gained understanding of 3 or 4 items and an ability to recognize the written number of 3/4 of the single digit numbers at the same time. Currently, he can regularly count 1 - 9, 11 - 14, and 18 - 19 followed by random "teens". It is kind of strange how he picks things up. He seems to not really care about a particular skill, then his knowledge seems to explode.

2- to 3-years-old
3- to 4-years-old

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#4 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 10:41 AM
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DS is 3 and gets the 'how many' question... he can reliably count to 4, and actually to 10, though he frequently skips 5 But otherwise he's good If you give him 3 or 4 things (cookies, beans, shoes, whatever) and ask him how many, he'll count them and say '3! or 4! or 2! Which is pretty good, imo
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#5 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 01:30 PM
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DS is 21 months and can count to 8 (memorization), and can tell us when he has two of something. Like a couple weeks ago he had a bagel, broke it in half and said "TWO BAGELS!" He will also "count" his matchbox cars "six-seven-eight" but doesn't actually know how many there are passed 2.

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#6 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyCatherine185 View Post
DS is 21 months and can count to 8 (memorization), and can tell us when he has two of something. Like a couple weeks ago he had a bagel, broke it in half and said "TWO BAGELS!" He will also "count" his matchbox cars "six-seven-eight" but doesn't actually know how many there are passed 2.
My DD is exactly the same, can count to 8 with memorization and understands 1 and 2 of something. She's working on 3 but not there quite yet. I think it's because they have 2 of things on their bodies and not 3 of anything, so since they learn body parts before counting they learn to count to 2 more easily. That's my theory.

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#7 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 03:24 PM
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When they say, "MORE!"
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#8 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 03:30 PM
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I would say it depends on the kid. Starting out faster in some things doesn't necessarily make them smarter or mean they'll be good at it later in life.

When I was a toddler my dad said I did great with math flashcards, but later on ended up in the special ed class in math. I like to read 123 books even with my babies as soon as they can pay attention but who knows whether it really helps in the long run.

So don't worry about it. Kids will learn in their own time.
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#9 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 03:51 PM
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My older two were very young when they "got" numbers. My oldest could count items up to three by the time he was 12 months old, and by 18 months there was really no limit to how high he could count (items, not just memorization) and starting to add smaller numbers (both real life adding like the cookie example and more abstractly knowing that things like 2+2=4). He is clearly outside the range of normal. DD was a little older, but still young. DS2 is 4.5 and just now starting to understand that numbers represent items and getting that if he has one cookie and someone gives him one more he has two. He can sort of count, but really gets messed up in teens and sometimes forgets that seven comes after six and not before. He has other math type skills that are awesome - recognizing and reproducing patterns, for example - but he's just not interested in counting things.

ETA: My point was - totally depends on the kid.
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#10 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 05:13 PM
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Denver II Developmental Milestones

This is one of my favorite charts.

It shows that out of a standardized group of 2000 children, 25% of them could count 5 objects at or before 48 months, and 90% could do that at 5 years old.

ETA: From Another Language Milestone Chart
Typical language deelopment for 60 months:
Can use many descriptive words spontaneously-both adjectives and adverbs
Knows common opposites: big-little, hard-soft, heave-light, etc
Has number concepts of 4 or more
Can count to ten
Speech should be completely intelligible, in spite of articulation problems
Should have all vowels and the consonants, m,p,b,h,w,k,g,t,d,n,ng,y (yellow)
Should be able to repeat sentences as long as nine words
Should be able to define common objects in terms of use (hat, shoe, chair)
Should be able to follow three commands given without interruptions
Should know his age
Should have simple time concepts: morning, afternoon, night, day, later, after, while
Tomorrow, yesterday, today
Should be using fairly long sentences and should use some compound and some complex sentences
Speech on the whole should be grammatically correct
My DD could count 2 of something at around 17 months. 'Two' was one of her first words. She started saying all the number 1-10 at about 18 months. And, only now at 23 months can she rote count 1-10 with no mistakes.

I also know that she can now count 1,2, or 3 things and understand what she is doing. Next time I have a chance I am going to see if she can count 4 and higher of something.
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#11 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 05:27 PM
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DD is just now 2.5 and she will count (by memorization) up to 20 and sometimes a little higher. Like if we are swinging her she will count each time we push her, etc. She's been doing this for about 2 months. Now as far as actually counting items, she's gotten the concept of 1 or 2 for a long time but as of a few weeks ago she will actually count items. Like 8 carrots or whatever where she actually counts out each thing, I haven't seen her go past 8 so I'm not sure if she can or not, maybe? Or she will ask for a specific number of things and know whether it is right or not with what we give her.

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#12 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 06:02 PM
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Math and numbers are just the language we use to describe the concepts. So kids will all vary, just like any other bit of language. It is very difficult to tell when they get the concept vs. when they can verbalize it.

I could ask DD to bring me 2-3 eggs from the fridge at just over two years old and she would do it. It was six months later before she could count a stack of cookies. I think she understood it much sooner than she could verbalize it.

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#13 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 11:25 PM
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My DS is 25 months and has just decided he's interested in numbers. I wouldn't say we ever talked about numbers very much but he woke up the other day with the ability to count objects up to four. Today, he is 'reading', or recognizing, the printed numbers 2 and 8. It really beats me, especially since he's been such a late talker--he only really started to talk a couple of weeks ago. Number words weren't even part of his vocab in imitation of us before this.

Just like puzzles, once he decided at 14 months they were interesting, that was it. Now, a 24 piece puzzle is only a minor challenge the first few times he works it and then it's too easy. But there are so many things other kids can do that he's been slow on. I guess some stuff he just doesn't give a rip about right now, and that stuff that he does, commands 100% of his focus.

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#14 of 15 Old 05-31-2010, 01:45 AM
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At 25 months, DS counts as follows: one, three, four. He definitely has known the concept of 'more' for a long time. He seems to know the concept of adding and subtracting quite well, because he knows for example when one of the tires of his lego car is missing, and will ask where the one tire is in order to make it a complete set. Just like he is asking what certain letter symbols stand for, he is now also beginning to ask what number symbols stand for.
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#15 of 15 Old 05-31-2010, 01:48 PM
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DS can count to thirteen reliably (memorized... higher sometimes, but all the "teens" get garbled around sometimes), and can count up to three objects consistently, though we've seen him count up to six objects if they're lined up nice and straight and he's not in a hurry (which is... well, he's always kind of in a hurry). He gets that there's a one-to-one correspondence, but sometimes doubles back and counts the same one twice, or skips one. He just turned two.

So he's good at counting for his age. But other two year-olds do stuff that he doesn't do. It totally depends on what piques their interest when, I think.

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