Home Activity

Cat in the Hat: How Many Ways Old Are You?

What's The Point

Counting is one of the first math skills kids learn. Counting objects one-by-one, by assigning just one number to each object as they count, is a little harder for kids to grasp, but an important skill to learn. A good way to help kids practice counting is with a very familiar number – their age!

Related Game

Do You See My Seahorse? – Count groups of seahorses to help a daddy seahorse find his babies.

This Activity Will Help Your Child

  • Count objects one-by-one (one-to-one correspondence)
  • Practice simple addition

Book Suggestions

  • 12 Ways To Get To 11
    by Eve Merriam
  • Quack and Count
    by Keith Baker


  • Pennies or other small objects
  • Dice
  • Magazines
  • Paper

How Do I Do It?

  1. Before you start, ask your child to use his fingers to show you how old he is. Ask him to count his fingers one-by-one, saying, “I am 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 years old!” Then ask, “How many fingers did you hold up on one hand, and how many did you hold up on the other hand?” You are now introducing your child to the concept of addition, showing him that a number can be broken into two parts, in this case a “5” and a “2.”
  2. Tell your child that you are going to show him more ways to show his age. Substitute your child’s age in the following activities:
    • Find 7 objects of a particular color or shape. For example, 7 square objects or 7 red objects. Look for the number 7 on objects inside or outside the house (e.g. on a clock, in a newspaper or magazine, a license plate, a road sign, etc.)

    • Cut out 7 objects from a magazine and paste them onto a piece of paper, and write the number 7 next to them – both as a numeral and as a word.

    • Count out 7 pennies or other small objects.

    • Divide a group of pennies into two groups that add up to 7 (e.g., one group of 4 and one group of 3). Ask your child, “How many other ways can you divide the group of pennies?”

    • Roll a pair of dice and see how many times the two dice add up to 7.

Take It Further

Ask your child how old he will be next year. How old will he be in another two years? How about in another three years? Help him figure this out by counting out the same number of pennies as his age. Then add a penny, add two pennies, and so on. Count all the pennies each time.