counting with Pumpkin

So, on a lighter note, I tried working with Pumpkin today on the numbers 1-10.  I haven’t written about him much lately, because he is really growing up and is doing so well in school.  He is much less likely to interrupt, much less likely to start to scream because someone took his lego, and unfortunately, much less likely to say really wild and creative things.

However, he is not too firm on the numbers 1-10 yet, so at centers time I pulled him from the sand table, and had him work with me in the empty block corner with big laminated number cards that I made.

First I flipped over one card at a time and asked him, “what number?”  He knew all of them except 9 and 10, and one other small number, I forget which one.

“Great!  Now, let’s put them in a line in order, because they are all mixed up.  Which number comes first?”

He smiled at me.  No clue.

“When you start to count, which number do you say first?”

“Two!”  He crowed.

“We start with two?  Are you sure?”


“Okay, how about you count my fingers.  We’ll see which number comes first.”  I held up my hand.

Pumpkin reached out and touched a finger.  “One…”

“That’s it!”  I said.  “We start counting with one!”  Pumpkin laughed delightedly.  “Okay,” I said, “let’s put the one in the first place.”  He was able to find the one card and put it down.

“What number comes after one?”  He had to count my fingers again to figure out that it was two.

“Now what number comes after two?”  Pumpkin grinned at me, but again, no clue.

“Okay, honey, count my fingers again.”  He pointed to my ring finger and said, “One…”

I interrupted him.  “Let’s start with my pinkie finger for one.”

He pointed at my pinkie finger and continued, “Two…”

“Oops, no, honey, start over with one.”

Finally he counted to THREE.  I was practically sweating at this point.


After getting through five, I asked, “What number comes after five?”  He didn’t know, so I held up two hands so he could count.  He counted the fingers on one hand, and then stopped.  When I indicated that he should keep counting, using my other hand, he pointed to the thumb of that hand and said, “One…”

He really had no idea that after five comes six.  So I walked him through the numbers to ten, and finally, finally we had them all on the floor in order.  Then I asked him to step on the number I said.  He thought that would be great.

“Three.”  Pumpkin went and stood on the number eight.  Eight and three do look a lot alike, but Pumpkin wasn’t able to think about the fact that three is a small number, and that it is near the beginning, not too far from one.  I don’t think he has any sense yet of the numbers in relation to each other.


Pumpkin had a wonderful time, and he did get some more, much-needed exposure to the numbers.  I was tickled by his enthusiasm, and a little tired when I thought about how far we have yet to go.


4 thoughts on “counting with Pumpkin

  1. this sounds like so many of my children! i know how you feel! for some reason my class is having a hard time picking up on numbers – but just hang in there – it will click sooner or later! 🙂

    • Thanks, deepblue. You know, I read over my post and it makes it seem like Pumpkin has special needs. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t; he’s just a very quirky, very young-for-his-age child. His parents are stable, loving, and supportive, and they do tons of art projects together (you should see him cut — he is really good at it). Most of the class is doing fine, but I have about 4 that I’m worried about, and will be concentrating on in the next month.

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