This is the first in our series of “My kid can be a mathematician” posts.

In this post, Pam plays a version of “Finger Flash” with her niece, Jeanne.

Watch here.

Why play this game:

Kids need to count (everyone knows this), but kids also need to recognize 1, 2, and 3 objects without counting (called *subitizing*). Jeanne can do this even with 4 fingers. Go Jeanne! Also, kids need to realize that the number at the end of the count represents the total. Listen to me ask Jeanne, "So how many?" after she has already counted "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6." When she replies, "6!" I know she probably has *cardinality* - knowing that the last number represents the total. Lastly (for today's post), we want kids to be able to recognize and use relationships. For example, I show 5 fingers and then 6, 10 fingers and then 9. Jeanne begins to use those relationships as we play.

Desired outcome:

We want kids to know that counting is fun! We want kids to learn that they can use relationships to tell you how many - they do not need to count by 1's every time. Six is 1 more than 5, 9 is 1 less than 10, etc. Stay tuned for upcoming videos where we'll show what to do when kids are not as far along as Jeanne or when they are further!

How to play:

- Don’t stress! Make it a game. Games are fun. Games are not stressful.
- Hold up some fingers.
- Ask, “How many?”
- If the child counts by ones, when they finish, ask, “So, how many?”
- Ask, “How do you know?”

Things to think about:

- Don't stress!
- If your child is learning to count, feel free to count with them. As you count with them, point to each finger or put each finger down as you count. Help them realize that each word corresponds with one finger.
- Make it a game. Smile.
- If your child counts by ones, show amounts that are relationships and repeat them. Remember when Pam asked Jeanne for 6 fingers and Jeanne had to count? Then Pam asked 5 again, then 6, then 10, then 5, then 6 This purposeful. Notice how Jeanne got more confident each time 6 came up?
- Smile. Giggle. Be encouraging. Math is fun!

To the right is a sample string to try.

Leave a comment and tell us how it went! What questions do you have?

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