How Old is Your Mommy?

Have you ever asked a 3 year old how old they think you are?  The often say really funny things like, “You are 100 years old,” or “You are really, really old.”  It is funny when small children say it, less funny when one of my adult students says it.

Age is an interesting concept for children because it is not concrete, it can’t be seen, and there are few rules to determine it. Do you remember thinking that your teacher was really old, only to find out many years later that she had only been out of school a couple of years which made her about 24?

Children as young as 2 can tell you how old they are.  This is because it is constantly being reinforced at home.  But just because they can tell you that they are “3” or “4”, doesn’t mean that they have a real understanding of what that number means.  Exploring the ages of family members is a way of exploring number and introducing the concept of age.   You could use the photographs of the families to ask the children how old they think everyone is.  You can then chart their answers in order to have a discussion about age.

It will continue to be more interesting to the children to talk about their own ages, as they are the most interesting topic to themselves.  Be sure to include their ages in the charts.

2 Replies to “How Old is Your Mommy?”

  1. \”But just because they can tell you that they are “3″ or “4″, doesn’t mean that they have a real understanding of what that number means\”

    This is very true. Research shows that, like in literacy, kids can recite and even count without really seeing counting in the accumulation sense. The idea of counting as accumulation rather than representing an ordering is huge and difficult for some young learners. Since age isn\’t something tangible, this is even more challenging, not to mention the fact that numbers over 20 are difficult for young children. Fun stuff.
    I\’m looking forward to seeing this in action with my son in a few months.

  2. I love that you can explain the difference between saying the words and understanding the meaning. We often hear parents report that their children can count to 100 or beyond and when I explain that this is a language skill coupled with memorization, they look at me like I am crazy. They are convinced that the recitation of numbers is a math skill. I look forward to hearing about your own experiences, too.

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