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Counting Activities for Preschoolers

Counting is a natural interest for children. Preschoolers explore counting with everyday items and manipulatives. Counting activities for preschoolers give your little one a fun hands-on way to build a solid foundation, necessary for building on in the future as they tackle math activities like adding and subtracting.

A cartoon picture of a boy on a farm, with a red barn in the background is holding a paper with 3 apples. Cartoon numbers 1, 2, and 3 are holding up fingers corresponding to their numeral

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Counting Activities for Preschoolers

Practice counting in stages. You don’t have to wait until preschool to introduce your little one to counting. Even babies can enjoy songs like 5 little ducks and 5 Green and Speckled Frogs. You can count their fingers and toes. By their first birthday, they may be able to hold up a finger when asked how old they are. Remember each child develops at their own pace. So start with Stage 1 and try working up to Stage 4 by the time they start kindergarten.

Stage 1 Count 1-5

Stage 2 Count 1-10

Stage 3 Count 1-15

Stage 4 Count 0 -20

This doesn’t mean you never work on counting any higher. It’s just a guide for how to teach your child to count and gives you an idea of what to focus on.

Counting Items

Counting games are a fun way to practice this:

After your child has worked on saying the numbers in order, they need to move on to really understanding what those numbers mean. With practice, they will soon learn that they’d rather have 7 M&M’s instead of 2 – lol.

  • Count body parts: eyes, nose, ears, feet, hands, fingers, toes,
  • Count how many times they can bounce a ball, jump, or throw something in a bucket.
  • Count the stairs.
  • Count, plates, forks, napkins, and cups as they help you set the table.
  • Count how many eggs are left in the container.
  • Count blocks, toys, books, or stuffed animals.
  • Count by characteristics like how many: red things, square things, soft things, big things, things that make sounds
  • Count using an abacus
  • Ask how many? How many balls do you have? How many eyes do you have?
  • Ask, “How old are you?” ( They can show you with their fingers.)
  • Count playing hide and seek
  • Read stories with counting ( 3 Bears, 5 Monkeys Jumping on the Bed)
  • Count in different voices: Mama bear, Papa Bear, Baby Bear
  • Count into a paper towel tube
  • Sing counting songs ( 5 Green and Speckled Frogs)
  • Sit outside and count cars as they drive by

Counting Manipulatives

Manipulatives are a great way to make learning fun through play.

Preschool Counting Books

Here’s a collection of counting books your child will love so much they won’t even know they’re actually learning!

Counting Songs

Below you will find a link to a collection of my favorite counting songs on Spotify.

Cartoon children singing counting songs. Link to Counting Preschool Songs on Spotify.

Be sure to check out other math topics:

Debbie Brown Tothood 101

DEBBIE BROWN | Owner and Curriculum Designer

Hi! I’m Debbie Brown. I created Tothood 101 because I’m passionate about sharing preschool activity ideas, and resources I’ve gleaned from 20+ years of experience teaching preschoolers at home and in the classroom. My goal is to encourage, guide, and help inspire you to make learning SUPER FUN for your preschooler at home! Check out the ABOUT page to learn more.


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