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## Nutrition Part 2 & the Letter Kk

Number Sense: Quantification

When your child enters kindergarten, the hope is that he has already developed some pre-math skills, including counting, quantifying, and connecting numbers with their quantities. We'll focus on quantification first as this skill often develops before counting. Studies have shown that infants and animals may be able to quantify. According to Sarah Punkoney of "Quantification is the ability to recognize that all numbers are associated with an exact quantity, and the ability to recognize sets of objects, such as dots on a dice. This is sometimes referred to as subitizing." Quantifying through approximation can happen before children have learned their numbers.

For example, if you make a tower of blocks, your child may make a tower of the same blocks of approximately the same height without knowing the actual number of blocks, but instead, using what appears to be a similar amount of blocks. Later, your child will learn to quantify through correspondence by matching one-to-one items (ie: putting one pom-pom on each hat picture that is sitting in front of her). Quantification by counting comes next, as your child begins to learn the numbers. For instance, your child may count the number of grapes on your plate, then count out and place the same number of grapes on his plate.

There are a number of ways these quantification skills can be reinforced through play and every day activities. Punkoney suggests that parents:

• Model and have your child help with real-life scenarios, such as setting the table, doling out snacks, or organizing toys.

• Talk to your child during play and ask how they are coming to conclusions.  For example, ask, “Why did you put all the cows here and all the chickens there?”

• Comment on mathematical ideas when you see them in your child’s play.  For example, “I like how you put all the red buttons in one pile and all the green buttons in another pile.  Where does this yellow button go?”

• Challenge your child with mathematical concepts.  For example, “Can you get socks for you and socks for Sister?  How many socks will that be all together?”

• Play games like Concentration (or Memory). Consider using number sets up to three, but in multiple color sets.  This way, the students gets lots of practice with the smaller numbers without getting too frustrated with trying to differentiate the larger sets.  Once near mastery is evident, larger numbers can be added, as well as less familiar configurations.

Math and counting grids, like the hat/pop-pom activity above, are another great way to encourage the littles to practice quantification via correspondance. There are lots of cute ideas for counting grids below (many of which are available online). Because these skills often come naturally to children, you may not need to spend a bunch of time practicing quantification, but if your child is learning to count, it may be worthwhile to do a bit of review.

Zoo Phonic Animal Friend: Kayo Kangaroo, Kk