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.
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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.
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.
Counting games are a fun way to practice this:
- 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, 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
Manipulatives are a great way to make learning fun through play.
- Number Peg Boards
- Hi Ho! Cherry-O (CoComelon Edition)
- Shute and Ladders ( CoComelon Edition)
- Bear Counters (In addition to counting, these can be used for other preschool math activities: sorting colors, sizes, patterns, weighing, more/ less, adding and subtracting)
- Locks and Keys Numbers and Counting Match-Up
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!
- Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
- Ten Little Dinosaurs by Pattie Schnetzler
- 5 Little Ducks by Raffi
- One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root
- The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
- How Many Bugs in a Box by David Carter
- National Geographic Kids: Count!
Below you will find a link to a collection of my favorite counting songs on Spotify.
Be sure to check out other math topics: