Counting on fingers is a crutch that a child uses to get the right answer, BUT it is slow and inefficient. Children use this method because they can’t think of any other way to arrive at the answer without reaching for a calculator.
The problem with counting rather than having instant recall of number facts is that it takes the child’s mind away from the problem that they are working on and makes them think about how to solve the addition (or multiplication fact) that is needed, before they can go any further with the problem. In short it stops them thinking and complicates the question unnecessarily.
A child with instant recall of number facts is free to compare answers, think through a problem without having to stop and work out an answer in at a particular step, and is able to notice anomalies thinking, “That can’t be right.” In short, a child is armed with the tools to solve problems and work at a higher level of thinking, such as with fractions, decimals and algorithms, with ease.
Check out our number fact series that helps students become fluent in all the number facts they need. If you are after your child just knowing the basic 4 operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) this Ten Minutes a Day 2 bundle is recommended.