Sometimes a child can count up to 100, but have difficulty handing you 18, 24, 47, or 78, ie a double digit, quantity of something. Here ‘s a useful way to teach what numerals in the tens and ones column really mean.
Make two columns on a piece of paper. Label the one on the left “tens.” Label the one on the right “ones.” Give your child some double digit number of pennies to count, say “23.” As he counts each penny, have him place it in the one’s column in a stack of ten. As soon as he counts out the tenth penny, have him move the entire stack as a single unit into the “tens” column. Have him continue counting out pennies “11, 12, 13, …” in the one’s column, making a new stack of ten pennies. Once he counts out “20,” have him move this second stack of ten pennies as a single unit into the tens column. Then have him count out the last three pennies “21, 22, 23,” placing them in the one’s column. Write “How many pennies?” with a blank following, and have him write down “23,” the number he just counted up to.
Then point out the number of stacks of ten pennies in the “tens” column. He should count “2” stacks. Have him write “2” under the “tens” column. Then have him count the pennies left in the “ones” column, and write “3” under the “ones” column. Point out to him how the two totals match, ie how counting out 23 pennies equals the same sum as adding two stacks of ten pennies plus three single pennies.
You may repeat this procedure with different double digit quantities. You may also use other small tangibles like toothpicks that you can tape together or tie together with a rubberband into groups for every ten he counts out. If using cheerios, you can place them in a small dixie cup (make your ten’s column fat enough to line up all your cups into).
Eventually, have your child count out a certain double digit quantity of pennies or other tangibles that you specify out of a large pile of them. For example, you can hand your child a jar of pennies, and ask him to give you 17 or 38 or 89 of them. Eventually, you can substitute a dime for every stack of ten pennies. He’ll really understand that a dime equals ten pennies, and have a better understanding of the meaning of the value of different coins.