My favorite day at the park was the day I realized that I could put my oldest son into a baby swing. All of a sudden he went from being a passive observer at the park, to an active participant in the play. He loved that swing. I could push him all day and he would giggle and smile and kick his chubby little legs back and forth and back and forth. It got to the point that I would drive three blocks out of my way, so we wouldn’t pass the park because he would go berserk of we didn’t get to stop and swing.
Swinging is one of those activities that simply yells out “Count!” When I swing children I often find myself counting 1,2,3,4- back and forth, back and forth, etc. Sometimes I ask the child, “How many pushes do you want?” and then I count out loud as I push. Other times I tell the child that I will give them an “underdog” on the count of 3.
Counting out loud with babies is an effective way to introduce and reinforce number. When you are at the park, model this for other adults who are there who might not know how important this early interaction is with infants. This would also be valuable to parents of infants in your care. Some people feel silly talking to babies while others might be watching. Others don’t know how important this connection is. If you communicate this to your families they can reinforce at home what you are doing in your center.