"One, two, three," she understands that the final number is the quantity of stuffed animals she has. However, if you were to place these stuffed animals farther apart, your preschooler may tell you there are now more stuffed animals. She does this because now, the animals take up more space, and in her mind, that equates to a larger quantity.
This is also true when a preschooler is trying to judge the volume of something. If she has a tall thin cup and a short wide cup, both of which hold the same volume, she will think the tall thin cup holds more.
She will eventually get these more complex ideas but for now, it’s perfectly normal that they don’t. At this age, the best thing you can do to help her develop strong math skills is to count with your child. Here are a few fun ways to encourage your child to count during everyday activities:
When you are on a walk, make a game out of finding the white rocks. Tell your child that whoever finds three white rocks first wins the game.
When you are folding the laundry, have your preschooler help you count the socks.
When you are on a road trip, count the number of red cars that go by.
When it’s time to put away the toys, count them with your child.