Search for:

Counting Hungry

Four year old Gordy can’t count.  The concept of quantity escapes him completely.  Twice a week he and I tackle the problem and twice a week he doesn’t get it.  We sit together at the table.  On a cardboard cut out of the number one, I have placed one fruit loop.  On a cardboard cut out of the number two, I have placed two Fruit Loops.  This continues through number 5.

I used Gordy’s finger to trace the number one and I said, “One.”  Then we “counted” the one Fruit Loop.  I did the same with all the other numbers.  We returned to the number one, traced the number, counted the Fruit Loop and I allowed Gordy to eat it.  We also repeated number two, complete with the munching of Fruit Loops.  Then we counted one nose, two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet, two shoes …. finally I put two Fruit Loops back on the number two and I said, “How many Fruit Loops, Gordy?”  And he queried, “Five?”


We’d been working 10 minutes.  Really much too long for a four year old to remain at a task he isn’t successful with.  I said, “Thank you, Gordy.  You worked very hard.  You may go play now.”

Gordy looked at the Fruit Loops still on numbers 3 through 5 and pointed.  I asked, “You want more Fruit Loops?”

He nodded his head and said, “Yes, please.”

I queried, “How many?”

He shrugged and said, “One?”

I handed him one Fruit Loop.  He looked at it.  He looked at all of the others, and then he looked at me with a little frown on his little face.

I touched the Fruit Loop in his hand.  “That’s one,” I said. “You asked for one.”

He frowned at his hand, then looked at me and said, “Want more.”

I queried, “How many?”

His eyes grew wide as he stared at me.  I could see the little cogs and wheels turning in his head.  He suddenly realized that whatever he said was going to effect how many Fruit Loops he received.  Finally he answered, “Three, seven, two!”

I said, “Three.  That was your first number.”  Then I counted three Fruit Loops into his hand.  He touched each of them and repeated back to me, “Three.”  Then he placed one, along with his finger, into his mouth and went away smiling.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. this sounds like it would be easier to train a mouse…
    but there’s hope he’ll get it eventually

  2. Polona — I think he’s got the basic idea now. I’ll check on Monday, but I could tell on Friday that the light had dawned.

    Doug — his favorite number is “eleventy”.

  3. Hi Quilly…..I’ve bounced in ( yes, I’ve been feeling well for a whole week:-) to say “Hi.”. Now, I can’t pull myself away from your wonderful stories. I hope you’re having lots of fun along the way. Thinking of you……Jude

  4. Melli — we don’t give them that kind of candy, however, I may try fruit gummies.

    Judy — it’s good to hear from you! I was just wondering how you were the other day. It’s even been awhile since you commented on Morgan’s blog.

  5. Mumma — yes. Though he still hasn’t quite got “why”.

    Neva — he still hasn’t quite got it. Now when I ask him how many Fruit Loop he wants he still asks for one, and then says, “And three more.” He may learn that one plus three makes four before he figures out why it matters!

Comments are closed.