Welcome to the Early Math Games Series where I’ll be sharing easy and fun math games to develop and support early numeracy skills.

Last week, I shared a math game, counting boxes, which focuses on counting and developing a one-to-one correspondence.  Children learn best when presented with a variety of games that reinforce the same mathematical concept. So, today we will continue with another math game that focuses on counting.


When counting, a child first learns a sequential pattern of noises: ‘one, two, three, four, etc’. They then have to learn to co-ordinate these noises with physical movements of a finger and the eye along a line of objects, matching one noise to one object. (Sometimes the two-syllable word ‘seven’ is difficult for children to co-ordinate.)


Math Game: {Counting} Tiny Teddies

Focus: Math Number, Counting

Desired Results: Match a number word to one, and only one object when counting; (one-to-one correspondence).

Pre-Test: Show the child five tiny teddies and ask them, “How many teddies do we have here?” As the child counts the teddies, do they say the number word in the correct sequence from one to five and do they have a one word, one teddy match?

Evidence of Learning: Present the child with five teddies and ask them, “How many teddies do we have here?” The child should know and name the correct forward number word sequence and have a one word, one teddy match.

When working with young children, remember to:

  • Show them how to do the task before expecting them to complete the task independently.
  • Limit the range of numbers being presented when introducing a new mathematical idea.
  • Provide children with a variety of math games, which repeat the same mathematical understanding (e.g. countingnumeral identificationsubitising, etc). To support this, I will be sharing a variety of counting games, numeral identification games, subitising games, etc. as part of this Math Games series.

Math Games Counting Tiny Teddies LessonsLearntJournal 02

Teaching & Learning Experiences:

You will need a box of Tiny Teddy biscuits. This game will also work well with any snack of choice, (eg cheerios, carrot sticks, grapes, apple pieces, sultanas, etc).

  • Model the activity. Pick up a handful of tiny teddies and guess how many you’ve picked up. Count out the teddies as you place them in a row. Let the child check the count.
  • Let the child pick up a handful of tiny teddies and let them guess how many they have picked up. Have the child count the teddies as they place them in a row.
  • {Formative assessment}: Can the child say the number word in the correct sequence having a one word, one teddy match?

Extension Activities:

  • Extension activity one: After the child has counted the correct number of teddies, ask him/her to find the corresponding numeral on a number card or number line. The early introduction of the number line establishes a good framework for understanding number in all its’ various forms; (natural numbers, integers, rational numbers, real numbers).
  • Extension activity two: Create two rows of tiny teddies, next to each other. Compare the two rows of tiny teddies and decide which has the greater number of teddies. Figure out how many more teddies are in one line than are in the other line.

Math Games Counting Tiny Teddies LessonsLearntJournal 03


Don’t miss our next Early Math Game: Counting with Egg Cartons, or browse through our many math games.


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N&M: 4 years, 8 months
February 2013


Lessons Learnt Journal

About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

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