Practise, practise, practise. Sometimes there’s just no way around it. So it is with counting. Thankfully there are so many different ways to practise counting. Counting using a variety of materials, in different ways. Sometimes counting in large groups; other times in small groups; and of course one-on-one with a child.
Here’s a collection of fun quick ways to count. A vast majority of these activities focus on counting, not learning numeral identification. While counting and numeral identification can work well together in some activities, numeral identification is also a skill in its’ own right, (and deserves a collection of its’ own).
Counting in Large Groups
- Verbal counting, forwards to 5, 10 or 20 then backwards from 5, 10 or 20.
- Rhythmic counting (use different rhythms when counting).
- Circle counting (stand in a circle, as each child counts, they sit down).
- Pick a number, and ask the class to find a collection of that number of items to show everyone else.
- “Zap” counting game. Arrange children so that they are standing in a circle. Children to count forwards from 0 up to 10. Each child calls out one number in the sequence. When the number sequence reaches 10, the student who should say “ten” calls out “zap!” and sits down. Continue the activity with the students commencing the forward count from 1 again. This process continues until one student remains standing. This game can then be extended to count forwards from 0 to 20 or 30, or backwards from 10 or 20.
- Call out a number and ask the class to form groups of that number and sit as a group. Any children left standing can say the next number.
- Class counting drill with a ball. At the front of the class, have a pair of students stand back-to back with each other and pass a ball between them, over their heads. They have to do 20 passes. The class counts each pass to 20. Another variation: have a pair of students stand back-to back with each other and pass a ball between them, over their heads and under their legs.
- Class counting drill with physical activities. At the front of the class, have a student do 20 chair pushups; another student do 20 star jumps. The class counts each pushup / jump, to 20.
- Object hunt. Prepare pictures of objects in a room. Show children the picture and pick one child to point to and walk toward the object. Count the number of steps it takes to walk to the object.
- Musical chairs. Play traditional game of musical chairs. Guide children and count the number of chairs in the circle before each round. Remove a chair after every few rounds. Keep the number of chairs in the teens to practise counting numbers in the teens.
- Play Simon Says, with a magic number. Whatever the magic number is, they would have to do everything Simon says, that many times (e.g. if 5 was the magic number, they would have to do everything five times).
- Metronome counting.
- Pendulum painting. Go outside and do some pendulum painting. Count how many times the pendulum swings. I love Teach Preschool’s pendulum painting in preschool.
- What’s the Time Mr. Wolf? via Nurture Store
- Use songs to practise counting. Check out this collection over at Picklebums.
Counting in Small Groups
- Jump Rope In groups of five children. Two hold a skipping rope and wriggle it on the floor while the others jump over the ‘snake’. Group counts 20 jumps over the snake before swapping the two holding the skipping rope.
- Handful of Buttons.
- Counting Superheroes and Villains.
- Roll and Fill Counting Game via A Mommy’s Adventures.
- Counting on the Light Box via And Next Comes L.
- Bug Hunt via Artsy Momma.
- Counting Snowballs via Fun-A-Day!
- Count the polka dots in Polka Dot Soup via Fun at Home with Kids.
- DIY Board Game via Octavia and Vicky.
- Hot Chocolate Math with free printable via The Measured Mom
- Quick random number game.
- Counting Dinosaurs with Free Printable.
- Counting with Egg Cartons.
- Counting Tiny Teddies.
- Box Play Counting,
- Popsicle Stick Creations. Present a whole bunch of popsicle sticks to the child. Ask them to count out five (or ten) popsicle sticks and then create a picture or pattern with the five (or ten) popsicle sticks. Continue until the whole bunch of popsicle sticks are finished.
- Lego/Duplo/MegaBlock Madness. As with Popsicle stick creations, but with Lego/Duplo/MegaBlocks.
- Online counting games. E.g. Help Lola from Charlie and Lola count her germs.
- Flower Petal Counting & Math Printable via 3 Dinosaurs.
- Giant Holiday Dot-to-Dot Counting Game by Play Learn Love at B-Inspired Mama.
- Octopus math File Folder Game via Crayon Freckles.
- Count the beads as you make a Beaded Wreath Ornament via Happy Hooligans.
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