Counting 101 (and beyond)
April 25, 2016 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Our three year old LOVES to say his letters and numbers. When he gets to Z, he triumphantly (and accurately) announces "and that's all the letters!" When he gets to 100 he proudly informs us, "that's all the numbers!" I've tried to tell him about 101, 102, etc., but he does not believe me. He would believe it if a YouTube video or app told him so. Any suggestions? (Yep, I know this is not a big deal. I just like watching the light bulb go on when he realizes just how big the world is.)
posted by slmorri to Education (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Not a YouTube video or app, but my 3 year old figured out 101 and beyond by looking at the page numbers at the bottom of the page in my novels and cookbooks.

I saw the lightbulb!
posted by Maarika at 1:56 PM on April 25, 2016 [13 favorites]

Really Big Numbers is a kids' book about, well, really big numbers, starting with small big numbers and going on to REALLY big numbers. Three is a tiny bit young, but my three-year-old liked it a lot even though he didn't understand all the concepts.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:03 PM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

He would believe it if a YouTube video or app told him so. Any suggestions?

Not an app. But ten dollars in pennies might do the trick?
posted by carsonb at 2:04 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Here is one to 120
And one from 101 to 200
posted by BoscosMom at 2:19 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm a big fan of doing this in a tangible way. I'd get a bunch of pennies, count 100 of them while laying them out in a 10 by 10 grid. Get to 100. Cheer.

Then look reaaaaaally puzzled as you pull out the 101st penny and ask him what you do with this one. Give him time to think through it.

If he insists that it's 1, pull out another penny, and put it separately. Ask if that's the same as your 101 pennies on the left. Ask him, would he rather have this many cookies, or this many cookies?

(When Micropanda was being stubborn about numbers, I nearly always got him to choose the numerically correct path if we were imagining cookies. He would not have given up 100 cookies for the sake of being stubborn.)
posted by telepanda at 2:20 PM on April 25, 2016 [27 favorites]

You likely have well over 100 pennies at home or can easily get them. Do some real counting.
posted by theora55 at 2:32 PM on April 25, 2016

or what telepanda said.
posted by theora55 at 2:32 PM on April 25, 2016

💡 lightbulb emoji

Yes of course! Tangible things! Coins, cookies, page numbers. Thank you!
posted by slmorri at 2:41 PM on April 25, 2016 [7 favorites]

Why not just have him watch 101 Dalmatians?
posted by kevinbelt at 5:00 PM on April 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

My little mathematician is 5 and Telepanda's answer sounds like great advice.

He's into sports now, so if we were working on this concept, I'd PVR the 4th quarter of an NBA game, and pause for a discussion once a team got to 98 points.

Little ones love these moments of discovery. Be ready with the next amazing thing about numbers to engage him with: 199 -> 200 or 999 -> 1000.

Also, Lego boxes have the number of pieces in the set printed on them. You can visit the toy store to compare. This method would probably cost you $25 though...

Also, we played soccer in the basement around that time. Counted the score with magnetic numbers on the basement fridge. Initially, we played to 10 or whatever. At one point, we stopped resetting the score after each session. The numbers kept going higher. I imagine your little guy, like mine, would not set his score back to 1 after scoring his 100th goal.
posted by thenormshow at 5:45 PM on April 25, 2016

posted by MsMolly at 6:14 PM on April 25, 2016

Your child has stumbled on some deep philosophical questions that have captured the imaginations of... certain philosophers for a while. Most of them acknowledge numbers bigger than 100 though.
posted by dust_hypothesis at 6:21 PM on April 25, 2016

The number line is your friend.

Now and also later. You can always draw a longer line (with a big enough piece of paper: a roll of butcher paper for the win) so there are always more numbers, but even more important as you progress it’s easy to see that there are negative numbers, spaces in-between the counting numbers, and a whole bunch of other phenomena related to number theory. You can add and subtract by counting up and down on the line and so on. It is tangible in that you can actually point to the place of the number on the line and count the numbers by counting the tickmarks on the line, but it also conveys a whole lot of subtle information that counting coins doesn’t.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 9:57 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Be careful. When I was a kid, I spent the night at my aunt and uncle's place when he showed me that there are an infinite amount of numbers between 0 and 1.

Don't tell that to a nine year old. I don't think I blinked the entire night. I know I didn't sleep at all.
posted by Sphinx at 11:58 PM on April 25, 2016 [6 favorites]

« Older I completely stop breathing while using my CPAP   |   48 hours in San Francisco Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.