Teach Your Baby Maths: Fun Counting Rhymes for Under 1s


counting songs and rhymes2

Music is a fun, easy, cheap way to give your baby her first experience of counting, adding and subtraction. Babies and children need lots and lots of this  – it gives them a good grounding in what the numbers 1-10 look like (ie what does three balls look like?) and what they mean. Parents I knew when I was a teacher always used to be proud to tell me their child could “count” – by which they meant he could recite numbers from 0 upwards.

Whilst reciting numbers is a good party trick, it is really just a feat of memory. You are far better off teaching your baby how many teddies there are on the bed, or how many carrots they have left on their plate now that you have taken one away.  This gives them a true understanding of number. It is also important to teach them the basics of adding or subtracting one more.  That is not to say, don’t bother teaching your baby to recite numbers in order.  It’s just important not to focus solely on that.

The brilliant thing is – you can do all of this with counting rhymes! There are lots of other ways to introduce maths to your baby in a playful way – and you can be sure I’ll be posting those in the next few months.  But you’ve got to start somewhere, and when your baby is tiny, I think counting rhymes is the way to go.

I have dispensed with writing out the lyrics to songs and putting links to them on youtube, because it takes forever to write the bleedin’ things out, and its only on the off chance that a mum that reads the post might not know the song.  Truth is, most mummies know all of these classics from their own parents or various music groups they attend.  I  figure, if you really haven’t heard of the song, you can find it easily on youtube!

Here are my favourite counting rhymes :

1. Five Little Ducks

Do it with your fingers, or, even better, invest in five plastic ducks and sing it at bath time.  T and I now put them on the edge of the bath and he knocks them all in, as I count 1,2,3,4,5 – then we begin the song.  He loves getting involved in the song and – it gives him a chance to throw things over a precipice – one of his favourite pastimes at the moment – without restriction!
2. Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer

I love the melody to this one – it’s really upbeat.   I think it’s important to like the tune of the songs you sing – as you end up singing them an awful lot, and if they’re dull, you won’t feel like doing it, and neither will your baby…which kind of defeats the object really!  When the men fly off into the air, I wiggle my index finger upwards and say “Whoooosh!”.

3. Five Little Monkeys (jumping on the bed)

I make my five fingers dance on his leg and then jump off – he loves it!
 4. Ten Fat Sausages

This is fun to do because you can click your fingers on “pop” and clap them on “bang”!  I am easily pleased hehe.
5. One, Two, Three, Four, Five (once I caught a fish alive)

Lovely melody to sing, and one of the only counting rhymes that goes up to ten, using all of your fingers.  At the end I wiggle my little finger right in front of his nose and this makes him smile!

6.  Five Little Speckled Frogs

I do this with my fingers at the moment, turning them upside down to sit on the log, then using my hands to “dive” in, when they jump into the pool.  But I have plans to buy five little plastic frogs.

Well those are my favourites – hope you enjoyed reading them!

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