Did you ever do those hand clapping games on the playground when you were little? Like, "Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack, all dressed in black, black, black, etc...." Or the other ones where you slapped hands backwards and forwards while chanting and counting to astronomically high numbers....? (those were the ones the really smart girls did....) These types of games are so valuable on a number of levels:
- They are fun games that make practicing counting (in whatever sequence it involves) a more challenging and motivating activity.
- They are spoken/sung in rhyme and rhythm, enhancing and strengthening the child's innate rhythm.
- They involve hand movements which increase muscle-control and agility.
- They are a meaningful and enjoyable activity between friends, bringing smiles and satisfaction.
First we got thinking musically by singing and clapping one of our favorite songs, "A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea"
Here are the words and for the melody, go Here!
A Sailor Went to Sea
A Sailor went to sea, sea, sea
To see what he could see, see, see,
But all that he could see, see, see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.
You can be as creative as you'd like,
We always clap each other's hands on each "sea, sea, sea" (or "see, see, see").
We also sit up tall on "sailor"
We put our hand to our forehead to 'peer out' on "to see what he could..."
Put our hands up to the side in an "Oh well" manner on "but all that he could..."
Put our hands to the floor on "was the bottom of the..."
We get incrementally faster and faster - it's fun. :-)
Then we moved to a clapping and counting chant.
First have child choose a number.
Then, in rhythm, chant and clap:
"Let's see how high we can count,
watch my count to _____"
Then, with either you or another child, clap hands together in rhythm (as much as possible anyway, depending on your child's age/ability), counting up to that number.
J chose numbers that didn't take us quite as long, like 8 and 12.
K wanted more exciting ones in his little 4 yr. old mind, like "32" and "21 and 11 and 16"
"So, you want 48?"
You can also have them alternate clapping each others' hands with the front and back of their hands. Keeps it a little more exciting... :-)
This is uber simple and you can adapt it to practice any type of number recitation, but it was great practice and we had fun with it; hope you can too!