The Language of Numbers


Daisy uses a mixture of signing, gestures and speaking to communicate with us. She’s started to put two words together to make little sentences like “Where ball?” and with her intonations we’re able to understand.

Then last week I spotted Daisy tracing one of her fingers around her palm saying “Round, around” and adding “One”, pause, “Two”. I realised that Daisy was beginning to understand some of the action songs and rhymes that we sing with her and was repeating one of those rhymes.

Counting by rote 

By saying “One, Two”, Daisy is making another little sentence and is also at the early stage of developing the skill of being able to count by rote. Counting by rote is repeating a learned sequence of words and does not indicate an understanding of numerical meaning.

Recognising that Daisy has started to use numbers in her vocabulary gives us a new focus for our rhymes and action songs. We should introduce more rhymes and number songs that count forward, to give Daisy more exposure to the language of numbers and more opportunities for repetition.

Rhymes and action songs

Time to dig deep into my memory bank; here’s my list of suggestions –

  • Wind the bobbin up
  • Peter hammers with one hammer
  • One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes
  • One, two, three, four, five once I caught a fish alive
  • One man went to mow
  • One, two buckle my shoe
  • One for sorrow
  • When I was one I’d just begun
  • Nick Knack Paddy whack
  • And of course – Round and round the garden

Have I missed any out?

I’ve focused on number rhymes and action songs in this blog and we’ll continue to include the language of numbers in Daisy’s everyday routines. We can include number vocabulary at times such as when we’re climbing the stairs with Daisy, when she’s ‘helping’ to hang out her t-shirts or even when we’re walking along the High Street and see buses going past.

Sharing books


And of course we’ll continue to share books with Daisy, particularly books which include the language of numbers. Yesterday I bought a new book for her. “My First Book of Things To Find – Animals” is full of bright, colourful illustrations and we can spend time with Daisy, looking at these images and using early number language. As Daisy’s language develops, we can start to ask her some of the questions on the side tabs and across the bottom of each of the pages, encouraging her to look and find things in the illustrations. It’s all ready to pack for my next visit.



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