17 September 2013


My youngest has been showing an interest in numbers over the last six months, before that she was only vaguely aware of them.  Over the last six months we have concentrated first on the numbers one to five followed by five to ten.  We have read lots of books that involve counting particularly the beautiful illustrated The Pear Tree by Meredith Hooper.  We have played lots of board games moving the counter together to start off with, this also helped with reading numbers on the dice which she can now do without counting the dots.  We have used a book with magnetic tiles Learn to Count which has helped with recognising the written form of numbers.  We have also played the number games in a lovely set from Living and Learning called NumberStart which does not appear to be available to buy any more this has consolidated learning in all forms of numbers and patterns.

She is now ready to move on to numbers beyond ten.  The numbers that are really hard to learn in English and most languages around the world, there are a few exceptions, as they are completely illogical.  Eleven?  Twelve?  It would seem from my limited research that they are a hangover from the days of old when much was counted in quantities up to a dozen or twelve a number which is divisible by more numbers than ten.  So there were particular names for the first twelve numbers in counting before you start with adding ten, thirteen etc., like so many words in our language it has never been changed for the sake of logic.  Once you have learnt the written forms up to ten it is then very easy to recognise the numbers beyond 11, 12, 13 etc.,  my youngest has no problem with putting these numbers in order but the words are flumoxing her.  At the moment we are on eleventy and twelvety which are marvellous adaptations in my book and we are sticking to for the moment.

When we count eleven elephants, which we have in one book, we have eleventy ephelents oh the joys of language and young children!


  1. Well done to your little number-fan, and may she soon reach twentyteen.

  2. I'd love to see a picture of eleventy ephelents. Does your daughter like to draw!
    My boys both got in a similar muddle in french. They counted fine up to 19 which in french is dix-neuf (ten and nine) but couldn't understand why 20, vingt, wasn't dix-dix.


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