I don’t think Larry or I recognized it at the time, but Noah’s interest in number started when he was really young. When other children were beginning to write the letters in their names, Noah was writing numbers. When other children were reciting their A, B, C’s Noah was counting (forwards and backwards). The other day when we were driving by a very large and famous cemetery in Chicago, I remembered that one of Noah’s favorite things to do when he was 3 was to go to that very cemetery, wander around, and calculate how old the people were when they died. I know that is strange, and even a little bit macabre, but he really loved any opportunity to think about, play with, and explore number.
The boys attended a preschool that provided enormous opportunities for play and exploration with caring adults who supported their interests, whether long-term or whimsical. Bookmaking was an ongoing and ever-present part of each classroom that they were in. The teachers provided materials for children to use to make simple books and they made sure that there was always ample supplies of those things in the literacy area.
This first example was not unusual for Noah. He liked Post-It Notes because he could add pages as needed, and the edges stuck together like a book.
I pulled this book apart so you could see how he focused on number and number representation. The book started at 1 and went through 8. His books were often like this.
I know that Post-It Notes can get expensive, but there is something alluring about their small size, colorful options and their flexibility of use. Try to periodically offer new and exciting book making materials. You never know when something will strike their fancy and children who may never have explored this activity before may be drawn to it.
Take note of the backwards numbers and letters. Again, this is fairly typical for the young children. Reversals continue throughout the early childhood years and are nothing to be concerned about.