In Kindergarten, kids must learn to count to 100 by tens and ones, but the fascination with the number 100 comes much earlier for many kids. Big Sis (4 year old) was asking me about the biggest number and how big was 100? Well today is the 100th day of our Covid-19 quarantine, so instead of mourning the loss of our pre-Covid lives, we are celebrating. Kindergarten classes usually celebrate the 100th day of school, so why not the 100th day of quarantine?
What is a Counting Collection?
A counting collection is any number of objects that you count out and put together. It can be a collection of a specific kind of object, or it can be different sets of objects.
You can start with a number in mind, like we did with counting to 100, or you can work towards discovering the total as the end goal. You can still do counting collections with little ones. Work on a smaller number for those toddlers and preschoolers who are beginning counters!
For this activity we used a ten frame (the blue lines of tape make 10 boxes). We already have familiarity using the ten frame for other activities in our house, but a counting collection doesn't have to include ten frame. They can just be organized piles. You can use a box to transfer items that have already been counted. Maybe you only need one pile, if you are doing a smaller number.
How to Count to 100 Using a Counting Collection:
Invitation to play: Today we are going to count to 100! 100 is a big number but we are going to break it into groups so that we can keep track as we count. 100 is 10 groups of 10! If we make 10 groups of 10, we will have 100 objects. What items should we use for our first group of 10?
Kids can use the ten frame or just make piles of 10 objects. As they make groups of ten they'll encounter situations where they need more or fewer objects. Use that as an opportunity to talk through to make sure each group actually has ten.
As they complete groups of ten, you can count by tens to measure their progress. Only 5 groups done? Count to 50 by tens.
Once they have 10 groups of 10, celebrate by counting to one hundred! You can count all the objects by ones or tens. Some guiding questions: Is this what you thought 100 looked like? How do you know that this is 100? What's your favorite way to count to 100? My kids loved having our Echo Dot count by 10's with us, because it says "Tada!" at the end.
Why should you be incorporating counting collections into you child's learning?
They're highly engaging, kids love to see what big numbers look like with objects!
They create scenarios where kids have to check their work and problem solve.
They are ways to practice multiple skills.
It's not just a kindergarten activity. Recognizing smaller groups of numbers is something preschoolers definitely can do!
Using our ten frame, we practiced counting to 100 by ones and tens. We also practiced making groups of ten. Sometimes Big Sis would put more than 10 objects in the ten frame. I would point it out and she would have to count backwards or sometimes remove objects and recount the whole group. When should couldn't find enough of a certain object, we would ask ourselves, "Hmmm, how many more do we need to get to ten in that box?"
No only did we problem solve when adding and taking away objects to get each box to have ten in it, we also introduced the concept of 100 being 10 groups of 10. 100 seems like such a HUMONGOUS number to preschoolers and kindergartners, but doing a counting collection in a ten frame breaks it down into smaller groups, which are easier to conceptualize.
Developing comprehension and oral language skills during our Count to 100, Counting Collection activity:
As we planned out our groups of ten, we ended up discussing what kinds of objects would be the right size to fit in each box. For this activity we used lots of different objects, but each group of ten was some kind of category: kind of tape, trains, make believe items, spoons, etc. So it was also a sorting activity! There were so many opportunities for rich discussions and language development in this counting to 100 activity!