Gaining confidence with numbers means getting lots of practice in lots of different ways. There are many, many ways to encourage our little ones to count every day. This roundup has 100+ ways, but each section has a link to another blog post which has even more links and ideas!
Follow the links below to a) go the activities pictured and b) go back to the original posts where you’ll find many, many more links. You’ll find tons of free printables as well as easy DIY counting ideas.
10+ ways to count with play dough
For lots more play dough ideas and links to many free printables click HERE!
- This is a great idea for creating a flexible and easy number line from Tot School.
- Ladybug counting mats from Fun with Mama. Free printable.
- Count and smash from Stir the Wonder. This is pretty self-explanatory!
- Counting and number skills with play dough from The Imagination Tree.
- Peanuts counting mats from Playdough to Plato. These are free and you’ll also pick up Peanuts number puzzles 1-40 at the same time… bargain! Malia also has freeapple play dough mats and free cupcake play dough mats!
- Pirate play dough mats from Life Over C’s. Pirates 11-20, sunflowers 1-10,sunflowers 11-20, tree 1-10, tree in Spanish 1-10.
- Roll a monster from Mom Inspired Life. It has a free recording sheet for how many bits and pieces were used to create the monster!
- Plant the flowers from Fun-A-Day. Roll the die and add the flowers!
- Popcorn counting play dough mats from Simple Fun for Kids. Free printable included. Add the correct amount of ‘popcorn’ to the popcorn boxes!
- Load the trucks play dough mats from PreKinders. Load the correct number of ‘stones’ onto the back of the truck, free printable included.
10+ ways to count and move
For lots more ways to count and move at the same time click HERE
- Count and walk from Adventures in Learning. Tape a number line on the floor to help kids understand that the numbers should be evenly spread. They’ll pick this up naturally as they count.
- Drum and count from And Next Comes L. Music is such a great way to engage children, and counting is a natural side product of keeping a beat!
- Animal tracks from Modern Preschool. Animal footprints on the footpath add a sense of novelty while hopping / jumping / running and counting.
- Indoor counting croquet from Toddler Approved. A creative indoor game. If you have kid-sized plastic croquet mallets and ball, then all you need is some card, tape and perhaps a cardboard tube or two.
- Cardboard hopscotch from Happy Hooligans. Recycle your pizza and jumbo cereal boxes to make this cute hopscotch set.
- A fall leaf number hunt from Toddler Approved. The kids can make this game themselves with coloured card and markers.
- Counting action dice from Buggy and Buddy. Easy to make if you have dice and a plain cube to draw on.
- Newspaper basketball from Hands On As We Grow. Jamie specialises in creatingeasy activities that use things we already have in the house. This is no exception; all you need is old newspaper and a bucket!
- Run and count from The Pleasantest Thing. Includes card with stickers to count plus pegs for fine motor practice.
- Home made DIY frog hop game using green card and stickers from Toddler Approved.
10+ ways to count with fine motor skills
For lots more ways to count while your kids are working their fine motor skills click HERE!
- Sort and count bottles from The Imagination Tree.
- Button counting from The Well Nourished Nest.
- Counting with pipe cleaners and beads from Laughing Kids Learn
- Egg cracking counting activity from Modern Preschool. Write a number on each card egg and get that hole puncher going!
- Marbles and golf tees from Living Montessori Now.
- Creating math patterns from Buggy and Buddy. Technically, this isn’t a counting-focused post, but there’s no reason why counting couldn’t be included! Uses styrofoam and golf tees.
- Apple and worm number matching from ABCs to ACTs
- Pattern play and number cards from Mama Miss. Free printable if you submit your email address.
- Summer ice cream math from Fun-A-Day. You just need card, pompoms and small tongs.
- Leaf counting from The Mud Kitchen.
10+ ways to count with snacks
For lots more ways to count while your kids are snacking (or using snack foods) click HERE! You’ll find more links to free printables, too!
- A hundred celebrations from Grasping for Objectivity.
- Marshmallow Easter egg from No Time for Flash Cards. Of course, you could substitute any picture! There’s an example of that with this Marshmallow snowmanactivity.
- Lollipop math activities from Fantastic Fun and Learning. It can be used for counting and addition.
- Fun snack idea from Meaningful Mama. Free printable story.
- Numbered fruit salad from The Measured Mom. Phew… thank you Anna for a super healthy activity! Children make fruit salad bowls for everyone by adding specific numbers of specific fruits.
- Monster munch from I Heart Arts n Crafts. Uses paper plates, paint and dice.
- Goldfish counting cards from Life Over Cs. Free printable.
- Rainbow math game from Housing A Forest. Uses fruit loops and dice. There’s a free printable cloud, too.
- Sunflower play dough mats from Life Over Cs. These are free printables for 1-10 and11-20.
- Early learning with mini pancakes from B-Inspired Mama. Mark numbers with food dye then add the right number of chocolate chips. If you’re not into dye you could just as easily write little numbers on paper to put beside the pancakes. And if you’re not into chocolate chips, just substitute for something else you prefer.
10+ ways to count with storybooks
For lots more ways to count that are inspired by popular children’s books click HERE!
- Feed the mouse counting game from The Pinterested Parent. Create a DIY paper plate mouse and cookies to feed him!
- 10 Apples counting activity from Mom Inspired Life. Free apples printable… just cut them out and attach to clothespins, add a child’s picture and you’re ready to go.
- The Pigeon counts! from PreKinders. Karen describes this die game and explains where to find free printable images to print from the official Pigeon Presents! site.
- Counting and grouping circles from Pre-K Pages. You only need black card, white chalk and a hole punch!
- Counting teeth activity from Mom Inspired Life. A DIY activity where kids can match and count his teeth!
- Mouse Count activities from The Educators’ Spin On It. DIY mice from little bottle tops and a snake from a paper towel tube. Kim also has a free Mouse Count printable activity here.
- Counting and addition from Buggy and Buddy. Use the free T-shirt pattern to cut out felt shapes, then you just need buttons and a die.
- Corduroy math from I Can Teach My Child. Free printable counting bears to use with buttons.
- Roll a Gruffalo game from Playdough to Plato. A DIY game that needs some tracing paper.
- The Mixed Up Chameleon Fine motor and math game from Buggy and Buddy. DIY flies using pompoms and pipe cleaners plus a free chameleon printable.
10+ ways to count with clothespins
For lots more clothespin ideas and links to many free printables click HERE!
- Ladybug number game from Housing a Forest. If you don’t have ladybug pegs you can just add ladybug stickers.
- Number match counting wheel from Learning 4 Kids. Free printable… just add numbered clothespins.
- Crocodile counting from Reading Confetti. DIY crocodile clothespins (they match the book Lyle Walks the Dogs) plus paint chips.
- DIY number line from Fantastic Fun and Learning. Uses a paint stick, pegs and a permanent marker.
- Apple tree counting activity from Mom Inspired Life. DIY with poster board and sticky dots.
- Winter number clip cards from Life Over Cs. Free cards to download. Kim also has other free missing number cards: fall-themed double digit numbers,Valentine-themed double digit numbers, skip counting by 2s.
- Count and clip sunflowers from Raising Little Superheroes. Mostly DIY with free numbers you can download.
- Fine motor activity from Powerful Mothering. Uses glitter glue, mini clothespins and mini craft sticks.
- A counting octopus from Reading Confetti. DIY with a paper plate, gift wrap ribbon and number stickers.
- Counting with clothespins from School Time Snippets. You’ll need to scroll down the post a little to find this DIY activity. I like that the pegs can all be kept within the box ready to be used.
10+ ways to count with board games: free printables and DIY
For lots more board games ideas and links to many free printables click HERE!
- Snakes and ladders from Itsy Bitsy Fun. I really like that this has all the numbers to 100 printed so kids can practice counting on and getting used to the larger numbers rather than just the smaller numbers that dice can represent. If you visit this site you’ll find a number of beautifully designed free game boards, and I LOVE the Christmas play money!
- Space theme grid games from Stay at Home Educator. Simple but effective, and the numbers being counted can be easily adapted so it’s right at your child’s level. Free boards.
- DIY river counting game from Pre-K Pages.
- Learning numbers board game for numbers 6-10 from Life Over Cs. Kim also has a free construction-themed game for numbers 1-5.
- Counting skills board game from Pre-Kinders. Use it for counting, one-to-one correspondence and turn taking.
- Safari counting to 30 from 123 Homeschool 4 Me. This game uses cards instead of dice to indicate moving forward or backwards along the number line. It adds numbers up to 9, and subtracts numbers to 3. Free to download.
- Race to 100 from Liz’s Early Learning Spot. Similar layout to snakes and ladders, encourages kids to count on so that they’re moving through the larger numbers.
- Feed the Monkey from Tot Schooling. This is a colour matching game where kids then count out the correct number of bananas to feed the monkey! Free to download.
- Counting on when you only have a minute from Liz’s Early Learning Spot. Each board covers a decade between 1-100. Kids land on a number then practice counting on 3 more numbers from wherever they land. It’s designed for kids to be able to spend just a minute or two practicing when they’ve got a small break.
- Football counting game from Sunny Day Family. Kids move across the field, counting by 10s till they make a touchdown! Free game board.
10+ ways to count outside
For lots more ways to count outside click HERE!
- Pool noodle abacus from Happy Hooligans. Cut up pool noodles and string them up somewhere for the kids to play with.
- Chalk counting garden from Fantastic Fun and Learning. Simply draw some numbered circles and then let the kids create the right number of petals and design a garden.
- Number hunt from Mess for Less. Write numbers on craft sticks and hide them outside. The more they’re spread out, the more the kids will have to move around!
- Counting and grouping with sticks from Learn with Play at Home. This post shows how to do this in great detail with lots of photos!
- Car racing counting game from Frugal Fun 4 Boys. Make a simple race track from card, grab the cars and dice and you’re ready to go!
- Jumping maze from Math Geek Mama. Grab the chalk and write numbers in a pattern for your child to jump and count.
- Math games with nature from Where Imagination Grows. Draw a square and add a number. Ask the kids to find the correct number of objects to add to each square. You can draw a really big square for really large numbers if you like!
- 20 something maths pictures from Creative Star Learning. In this activity groups of children had to count out 20 of an object and then supplement that with found materials to create an artwork.
- Numbered rocks from Fun-A-Day. A simple tool for taking math lessons outside.
- Number counting from Tutus & Tea Parties. A great precursor for learning to count, draw a circle for each number of objects needed so it’s managable for children who are new to counting.
10+ ways to count at home
For lots more ways to count at home click HERE!
- Grab and move from Toddler Approved! Uses craft sticks labelled with numbers and actions. Grab 2 sticks and start moving!
- Counting math game from Buggy and Buddy. Grab some objects to count and bowl and some dice and you’re ready to go.
- Numbered ball toss from Mess for Less. Throw numbered ping pong balls into a container, then count out that number of beans to fill a cup.
- Lego counting cards from Life Over Cs. Free printable and includes numbers 1-12. Has space for write both the number and the word.
- Giant bead abacus from The Imagination Tree. Great for hands-on math.
- Math scavenger hunt from The Pleasantest Thing. In this activity one pile of DIY cards contain numbers and another pile of DIY cards show an object. The kids need to go and find that number of those objects.
- Bean bag toss on the stairs from Hands On As We Grow. Great for coordination as well as counting. And best of all, the numbers can stay on the stairs for a few weeks or more so they can get plenty of use.
- Count and measure with lego from The Imagination Tree. Love the idea of putting dots and numbers on Lego.
- Planting felt flowers from And Next Comes L. DIY felt flowers and pots so children can ‘plant’ different numbers of flowers in each pot.
- Tactile counting sticks from Where Imagination Grows. DIY counting sticks with raised dot surfaces.
10+ ways to count with counting mats: free and DIY
To see the original post click HERE! Unfortunately just before I wrote the original post my laptop was stolen so I lost all the research I’d done with the links to many, many free counting mats. While I could re-find all those, it would take a considerable amount of time so I’ve only listed the resources pictured. I may go back and add more later.
- Learning with ladybugs from Tot Schooling. Free ladybug plus numbers to 20. Just add buttons, or whatever else you have available.
- Using legos to teach math from Crayon Freckles. Make yourself a numbered line and off you go!
- Fall mats from No Time for Flashcards. Free 1-10 fall and apple trees. Just add little apples or leaves for counting.
- Peg the dot number counting cards from Laughing Kids Learn. You’ll need to subscribe for these free cards, then just print and add clothespins.
- Train track counting from Play Trains. DIY little drawings of train tracks, then just add the toy trains.
- Basketball shots from Modern Preschool. Free 1-12 printable, just add orange pompoms!
- Dump truck counting from The Measured Mom. Free 1-20 printable. Just add items to be loaded onto the truck.
- Number activity mats from The STEM Laboratory. Kids will get tons of practice with these free 1-10 mats. Includes tally marks, making numbers from play dough, writing numerals and one-to-one correspondence with manipulatives. (Playdough to Platohas a roundup with links to 15 great sets of free counting mats.)
- Plant your own tulips from Mama Miss. This is such a beautiful free 1-20 printable!
- Frogs and flies counting to 5 from This Reading Mama. A free printable with a cute theme. (Pond counting mats from Playdough to Plato. Free 1-10 mats just add little frogs or turtles or other pond creatures.)
I hope you’ve found some wonderful ideas here that your kids love!!
I wish you happy teaching and learning.