At sometime the vast majority of children will use their fingers to help them with counting and later with adding and subtracting. As a parent I have also used finger counting as a cunning way of getting my daughter not to have too much of something. How have I done this? Well my daughter just loves us reading to her before bed and when asked how many books she will say “all the books”, so I instigated a new rule, she has to tell us a specific number and she has to show us the number using her fingers – so we are definitely not having more than 10. Recently I have started saying that she has to chose a number less than five and this has been an interesting discussion point.
Another interesting discussion point arose when I told my daughter she could have three toys in the bath and I held my fingers like this:
My daughter was adamant that I was not displaying three fingers and that this was the only way to display three fingers:
I then got my daughter to count my fingers and then she agreed that I was holding up three fingers. We then discussed why groups of objects can look different but still have the same number of objects in them. My daughter now loves finding different ways to represent numbers using her fingers, especially the number six – I wonder if in future this will help her with her number bonds as sometimes she will hold up one finger on one hand and five on the other and sometimes four on one and two on the other and sometimes three on each.