Learning to Count

Two to Three Years Old

  • Children begin to use numbers as they hear other people using them.

Three to Four Years Old

  • Recognize and express quantities using words like some, more, a lot and another

  • Rote count to five or ten

  • Use words to describe quantities and sizes like short, long, tall, a lot, a little and big.

Four to Five Years Old

  • Start playing number games with understanding

  • Count objects from 1-10 or 1-20

  • Identify the larger of two numbers

  • Understand one-to-one correspondence up to 10

  • May start combining whole numbers up to 10

Five to Six Years Old

  • Understands concepts represented in symbolic form

  • Begin to add small numbers in their heads

  • Rote count to 100 with little confusion

  • Count objects to 20 and higher

  • Understand that numbers are the symbols for the totals of concrete things

  • Count by fives and 10’s to 100

  • Count backwards from 10

  • Decide which number comes before and after an object number


  • Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra

  • One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elenor J. Pinczes

  • Counting by Henry Arthur Pluckrose

  • Counting Antoine Poitier

  • Five Little Ducks by Pamela Paparone

  • Just Enough Carrots Stuart J Murphy

  • 1 Hunter by Pat Hutchins

  • 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc FromenthalAnno’s

  • Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno

  • The Coin Counting Book byRozanne Lanczak Williams

  • Cookie Count by Robert Sabuda

  • Duckie’s Ducklings by Frances Barry

  • The Father Who Had 10 Children by Benedicte Guettier

  • Just a Minute! by Yuyi Morales

  • M&M Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath

  • Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th day of Kindergarten by Joseph Slate



Skills Learned: One to One Correspondence, Matching Equal Numbers of Objects to Written Numbers,  Counting from 1-10


Open a file folder and draw a game board like the shown below:

Place “pom poms” in a small container next to the game board and have child place the matching number of pom poms to the correct numbered section. You can also draw dots to represent the numbers in each section. It is a lot of fun to use a clothes pin to pick up the pom poms and it also helps with hand eye coordination.



Write numbers 1-10 on brown lunch bags and on the back of each bag, draw the same number of of dots.  For example: two dots on the bag marked 2 and seven dots on the bag marked 7. Challenge your child to collect small items such as cotton balls, pom poms, buttons, paper clips, etc. and put the correct number of objects in each bag. You may start with bags 1-5 and work up to 6-10.



Write the numbers 1-10 on 5-7oz. clear plastic cups. Place 55 pom poms in a bowl and challenge your child to place the corresponding number of poms poms inside each cup. You can add some hand eye coordination practice by using a clothes pin to pick up the pom poms.


Slice Counting

Use a round piece of cardboard, construction paper or even a paper plate and draw equal lines to make it look like a sliced pizza or pie. Add varying numbers of stickers in each section such as two round stickers in one slice, four kitten stickers in the other and then write corresponding written numerals on wooden clothes pins. Have your child hook the clothes pin to the correct sticker section.


Bubble Gum Math

Fill a small plastic container with pom poms and create money cards by taping pennies to index cards or cardboard pieces (you can use empty cereal boxes). I created the cards on my computer, but you can simply tape or glue pennies, nickels, etc. to heavy cards. Turn cards upside down and each player takes a turn drawing from the pile. If the child draws a card with five pennies, they can collect five pom poms (or pieces of bubble gum) to put in their own container. (You can use small paper plates, plastic bowls, etc. for collection. To take it up a notch, you can put one dime, one nickel (15 cents) one dime, two pennies (12 cents), etc. on each card when the child is ready to be challenged. This is another game that is fun to use clothes pins to pick up the gumballs.


Math Muffin Tins

Materials: Cupcake paper liners, felt tip marker, poker chips or anything they can count and sort (pom poms are good for this one also).

Description: Write numerals 1-10 on the muffin liners and then have your child count and sort that many items into each liner.


Caps and Cans

The children will move in locomotor and non locomotor ways, use counting skills, and eye hand coordination during this preschool and kindergarten activity by Mae-Lena H.

Materials: Bottle caps, large coffee cans and a permanent marker.

Description:  With a marker,  you can number cans with dots (1-6 is a good starting point). Let children count the number of dots on each can. Then let children try to toss that many caps (bottle caps, poker chips, etc. ) into the can. Children will find this fun game among friends, seeing who can get more caps into the cans.


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