Kindergarten counting practice

14 Counting Activities for Kindergarten

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Having a firm grasp on what numbers look like, what they stand for, and how we use them in the real world is the foundation for building a strong number sense and a lifetime of mathematical learning. Kindergarteners need a lot of practice counting, writing, manipulating, and thinking about numbers. The good news is, counting activities for kindergarten are a lot of fun! Read on for 14 ways that your students can practice numbers in your classroom. 

Counting Activities for Kindergarten

When it comes to counting and number activities, it is important to give students opportunities to use different manipulatives, materials, and styles of activities. From sorting, building, matching, and playing games, students will love learning more about numbers.

These activities use basic materials that you probably have on hand, such as number cards, dice, spinners, ten frames, craft supplies, and blocks. If you don’t have a certain supply, you can always substitute to make it work for you and your classroom. 

#1: Ten-Frame Fill 

Ten-frames are the ultimate way to practice number sense. Students flip over number cards and fill in ten-frames with the proper number of counters. There are so many fun things you can use as counters, such as lego cubes, counting bears, bottle caps, colored marbles, cotton balls, shells, mini erasers, etc. By rotating materials often, you can keep this activity fresh and fun for your students, as it will feel new each time.

As your students progress, you can use multiple ten-frames to practice larger numbers.

If you want a done-for-you activity, check out this year-long ten frames unit. There are over 25 themes included, which is sure to keep ten frames fun and fresh all year long.

#2: Domino Match

Dominos are another great manipulative to use with kindergarten. This activity requires a deck of number cards (remove face cards) and a supply of dominos. First, students flip over a number card. Then they find a domino that has that same number of dots and match them up.

Another activity students can use dominos for is matching the ends of the dominos according to number. Challenge them to see what creation they can come up with by matching numbers and turning their dominos in different directions. This is also great for problem-solving!

#3: Play Dough Numbers

Using play dough is another great way to practice number sense along with fine motor skills. Before this activity, model how to roll out long “snakes” and form small balls with play dough. Allow your students to practice doing this. Once they’re good and ready, have your students use the play dough “snakes” to form the numbers 1 through 10.

You can also have them make and match the correct number of balls with each number. If you’re looking for some ready-made play dough mats, you can check out these Numbers to 10 Playdough Mats – just print and laminate!

#4: Bingo Dabbers

Using bingo dabbers with counting activities for kindergarten is a ton of fun! There are so many ways to incorporate them as well. One idea is to have students roll a dice and dab that many dots on a large sheet of paper. You can also use a spinner or number cards to select the number.

Another idea is to have students form the number using bingo dabbers. Simply write the number in a large print on a piece of paper. Have students use bingo dabbers to trace or dab over the print to form the number. You can also use pre-made no-prep number pages, designed specifically for bingo dabbers. For more ideas on how to use bingo dabbers in the classroom, click here!

#5: Number Puzzles

There are tons of great number puzzles you can find at the dollar store, but you can also make them in just a few simple steps! To make your own, use mini paper plates to create number puzzles. Cut each plate in half using a different pattern. For example, cut one plate using a zig zag pattern, another using a curved line pattern, etc.

For each puzzle, write a number on one half of the plate. On the other half, draw that number of dots. Mix up the pieces of 6-8 puzzles and have students solve the puzzles by matching them up. 

#6: Build a Tower

Students love to build, and luckily building with manipulatives is great for counting, fine motor skills, problem solving, and spatial awareness! Students can roll dice, flip a number card, or spin a spinner to select a number. Then, they use plastic counting cubes to build a tower that matches the number. To take this activity one step further, have your students arrange the towers in number order.

#7: Magnetic Numbers

Magnetic numbers come in handy for several counting activities for kindergarten. One idea is to put them in a container or basket. Have students select them, one at a time, and put them in order on their desk or a magnetic board.

Another way they can use magnetic numbers it to practice counting on with number mats. Students will look at the first number on the mat and count on using magnetic numbers (or they can use the printable number cards included).  

#8: Number Link-Up 

This activity uses plastic links, which are fun for kids and also is great for building fine motor skills and coordination.  Students select a number card and count out that number of plastic links. They will then link them together to show the number. If you have different colors, students can also practice patterns while doing this activity.

#9: Make the Recipe

This is such a fun counting activity for kindergarten! First, line muffin tins with paper liners. Mark each paper liner with a different number. Students will take a tin and a supply of magnetic numbers and match the magnets to the correct muffin cup. There are a lot of variations you can do with this activity, too!

Instead of writing the number, you could mark different numbers using dots on each paper liner and have students match the magnetic number to the dots. You could also have students count out the correct number of plastic bears, mini erasers, large beads or buttons, etc.  

#10: Number Grab

Kids love this activity, and as a bonus, it’s great for building strength in those little hand muscles. Prepare a stack of paper plates by writing a number in the center of each.

Give students a basket of small pom-poms. Students will choose a plate and use tongs or chunky tweezers to pick up the correct number of pom-poms and place them on each plate. 

#11: Stringing Up Numbers

For this activity, you will need pipe cleaners and plastic beads. Before the activity, model how to curl the end of the pipe cleaner so the beads don’t fall off.

Have students curl one end of their pipe cleaner. Students will then draw a number card and string that many plastic beads onto the pipe cleaner. They will curl the other end when they are done and move onto a new number and pipe cleaner. 

#12: Deal the Cards 

This would be a fun partner activity for students to play to work on counting. All you need is an ordinary deck of playing cards and a number mat for each player.

Students take turns flipping over a card and placing it on the number mat. If a number already has a card on top of it, the student puts the card face down in front of them. Once the mat is completely filled with numbers, students count up their cards to see who has the fewest cards left. 

#13: Make a Deposit

For this activity, you will need used paper towel and toilet paper tubes. You can ask families to donate these or save them from your home.

Once you have a large supply, write a number at the top of each tube. Put a basket of small items on the table. You can use pom-poms, plastic counting cubes, plastic bears, colorful discs, etc.

Students will look at the number on the tube and count out that many items. They will drop them into the tube. They love hearing the different sounds the objects make!

When they think they have deposited the right amount of items, they can pull the tube up and count the items on the table, practicing the concept again.

#14: Digital Task Cards

Boom cards are digital task cards that are fun, interactive, and self-checking! This set of interactive, self-checking Number to 10 Mini Deck Boom cards work on a variety of number sense skills.

These digital activities can be used with many learning platforms or as a technology center. Students will listen to the audio directions and complete the task on the digital card by dragging and dropping the objects on the screen. Kids love these!

I hope these counting activities for kindergarten will inspire the young mathematicians in your classroom. Rotate these activities into your independent practice stations, math centers, or early finisher activities.  You can adapt each activity with different numbers and materials to meet the needs of your students.

For more math activities to build number sense with numbers to 10, check out this blog post. 

What is your favorite part of teaching math to your students?

Post Tags: #counting#math#number sense#numbers

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Hands-On Counting Activities for Kindergarten

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Kindergarten teachers know that learning how to count is more than just reciting numbers in order.   Students need to understand the meaning behind the numbers they are saying!  This helps our young learners build a foundation for future math skills such as addition and subtraction.  My favorite way to help students practice one-to-one correspondence is with hands-on counting activities.  Keep reading for ten of my favorites!

10 Hands-On Counting Activities for Kindergarten

1. Ten Frame

One of the best ways to help students with one-to-one correspondence is to use a ten frame.  This helps students keep track of the items as they count as they put one item in each box of the frame.  (My students love using mini erasers and stickers!)  Plus, introducing students to ten frames will help them prepare for future math concepts and investigations. 

2. Play Dough

I love to use play dough during math lessons because it’s a great way to incorporate some engaging fine motor practice. To use play dough as a hands-on counting activity, you can have students pinch and roll small balls and place them in a row or on a ten frame (I like to use these play dough mats). Students can then squash each ball of play dough as they count them.  This is a fun way to help students practice accurate counting and one-to-one correspondence!

3. Bingo Daubers

Bingo daubers are always a hit in the kindergarten classroom, so they’re a great option for counting practice!  Students can use daubers to represent a particular number on a piece of paper. For example, they will create eight dots on their paper for the number eight.  My personal favorite, though, are count and dab activities!  Students count a number of objects and then dab the correct answer on the worksheet.  Count and dab activities are perfect for math centers!

4. Number Lines

 It’s important for our young learners to get familiar with number lines for future math skills, so I always like to use number lines as a hands-on activity.  Counting on a number line is another helpful way for students to visualize the quantities of a given number.  Students can practice showing the number of “jumps” it takes to get to each number.  

5. Task Cards

There are countless ways that you can use task cards to help students practice one-to-one correspondence and counting.  These simple, hands-on activities can be incorporated into the classroom at various points of the school day, such as centers, small group instruction, interventions, or even morning work! You can also use them to incorporate counting into other areas of the math curriculum, such as counting the vertices and sides of 2D shapes! If you’d like to read more about how I use math task cards in the classroom, check out this post.

6. Counting Games

A fun way to practice counting and one-to-one correspondence is with board games! Students are able to practice navigating the board as they count the correct number of spaces.  However, you can also turn task cards into fun and engaging counting games!  For example, this monster counting freebie can be used as a counting game if you turn the task cards face-down on the table and have students take turns selecting a monster.   After choosing a card, they place the correct number of googly eyes on their monster as they count. Something as simple as having students choose their task cards from a face-down pile can bring a lot of engagement to math practice!

7. Count and Reveal

In addition to task cards, count and reveal activities are another hands-on math center idea.  This self-correcting activity is perfect for students to practice one-to-one correspondence and counting.  After counting the number of objects shown on the cards, students say the number and then lift the flap to see if they are correct.  The addition of the clothes pins to this activity means that students are strengthening their fine motor skills, as well!

8. Roll and Cover

Roll and cover activities are a fun way for students to practice counting.  After rolling dice, students can count the number of dots on the dice and then cover the corresponding number on their roll and cover mats.  The game continues until they have covered each number.   This is a very effective way to fit in a lot of counting repetition because students love to play this game over and over!

9. Printable Number Books

One of the best reasons to use printable books in kindergarten is that students love to share their creations with friends and family.  Encouraging our students to talk about what they work on in school is a great way to solidify what they’ve been learning. After practicing the number concepts as they create these little number books, students will often talk about these same concepts when they take the books home to family.  This is a great way to encourage students to continue to count and talk about numbers!

10. Morning Work Tubs

If you use morning work tubs in your classroom, be sure to add hands-on counting activities to your morning routine!  Students will be able to get more practice with one-to-one correspondence as they ease into a day of learning.  Counting tasks are perfect for morning work because students are usually able to complete these tasks independently. Check out this post for my favorite math ideas for morning work tubs!

Number Practice for Kindergarten

To save you some time and money, I have created a bundle of numbers centers and numbers printables that will help you add variety to your counting practice!  This bundle is full of hands-on fine motor activities, low-prep printables, no-prep worksheets, and even technology. You can find this bundle in my shop if you’d like to see everything that’s included!

Save These Hands-On Counting Activities

Short on time?  Be sure to save this post to your favorite math board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to refer back to this post any time you’re looking for some fun counting activities for kindergarten!

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Hello, I’m Hadar

Welcome to Miss Kindergarten. I’m so happy you’re here!

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Teaching preschoolers to count by means of project activities

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    features of the perception of the concept of counting in preschool children | Mathematics consultation on the topic:

    Peculiarities of perception of the concept of counting in children

    of preschool age

    Modern children get acquainted with numbers early and get great pleasure from rhythmic counting: one-two-three-four-five. But ... quite often this ability to count is only external, and the calculation itself is mechanical.

    How to help a child learn to count intelligently, in which mathematical games do the first counting skills develop well?

    Until the age of three, it is absolutely not necessary to introduce the baby to numbers and numbers. It is much more important to develop a sense of quantity (a sense of size, color, shape and other mathematical concepts), and thereby lead to the perception of an abstract number.

    That is why it is more useful not to learn numbers by heart, but in the most ordinary life situations to act with familiar objects, learning: what is a lot, and what is not enough or one by one, what is more, and what is less or the same.

    In mathematics, it is not the quality of objects that is important, but their quantity. Operations with numbers themselves are still difficult and not entirely clear to the baby. However, you can teach your child to count on specific subjects. The child understands that toys, fruits, objects can be counted. At the same time, objects can be counted “between times”. For example, on the way to kindergarten, you can ask your child to count the objects you meet on the way.

    In the period before the numerical teaching of children in mathematical representations, a sensory basis for further mastery of counting is formed: a dismembered perception of the totality, the practical establishment of element-by-element correspondence, a general quantitative assessment, which stimulates the need to determine a certain number of objects by a specific number. Many children, even before systematic learning to count, use numbers to determine small populations.

    The greatest difficulty for children is the achievement of the result of counting, that is, the result, generalization. Developing the ability to answer the question "how much?" in words many, few, one, two, the same, exactly, more than ... speeds up the process of children's understanding of the knowledge of the final number when counting.

    During the development of counting, children have difficulties in coordinating numerals with a noun in gender, number, case (in the process of counting, when summing up). These mistakes are natural. Their correction is facilitated by the use by the teacher of such techniques as explanation, the correct selection of visual material, its constant variation in the same lesson, attention and control of children's counting activities. In case of a mistake, it is useful to invite the child to name one of the listed items and choose the right word; one, one or one, and also think about how he will say about two objects: two or two.

    By the age of six, children usually have good numeracy skills. When practicing counting, preschoolers should understand that any inaccuracies and errors affect the result. That is why we must strive not to miss an object and not to count one object several times, to remember from which object the counting began, to coordinate

    word-numerals with nouns when counting.

    Children learn the sequence in naming numerals, quite accurately correlate the numeral with each object of the group (element of the set), learn the meaning of the final number. In the process of further education, work continues on the development of counting skills.

    Thus, as a result of the development of counting activity, children begin to understand the quantitative meaning of a number (a number serves as an indicator of quantity) and realize that it does not depend on the spatial and qualitative features of a set (groups of objects).

    Sometimes it happens that if a child is often read the same book, he remembers it so well that he retells it by heart, turning the pages in the right place. From the outside it looks like he can read. But it is worth giving him an unfamiliar text, and it is clear that this is not so. A similar story can happen with the account. The only difference is that an adult does not always clearly understand how the conscious count differs from the unconscious count. This happens because some things that are obvious to an adult are sometimes a mystery to a child. So the studies of the famous psychologist J. Piaget (later these studies were called "Piaget's sign") showed that young children do not understand that the amount of water will be the same in a narrow glass, where the water level rises high, and in a wide one, where the water level low They do not understand this even when water is poured in their presence, and they see that its amount has not decreased or increased. If the baby is asked to compare several large objects with similar small objects, and asked which objects are larger in number, he will point to large objects, even if their number is clearly less. Moreover, if several objects of the same shape are laid out in front of him, and then these objects are moved apart so that they occupy a large area, while asking a question, there are more, fewer or the same number of objects, he will argue that their number has increased. Some children, having memorized the ordinal count, do not know how to count correctly, that is, to assign one object to each number in sequence. Difficulties also arise if it is required to continue counting from a given quantity. All these difficulties speak of a still unformed concept of number, which should be worked on. Otherwise, this concept may not be formed in the first grade, which will significantly slow down the process of mastering the subject of mathematics. You can check whether a child can count consciously with the help of a simple test.

    1. Place 2 apples and a pile of 3 peas in front of the child. Ask what more apples or peas?

    2. The adult claps his hands, and the child, with each clap, puts down one button.

    3. Ask the child to bring as many toys as there are pencils in his hands, without counting either. Now ask each toy to give out a pencil.

    4. Take 7-10 coins of the same denomination. Lay them out in front of your child, but don't ask them to count them. Move the coins apart with him so that they occupy a large area. Ask, have there been more coins, fewer coins, or the same number?

    5. The adult shows and says to the child: “There are four pencils here”, then adds three more and asks: how many pencils will there be in total?”

    But even if the child copes with all tasks, a complete understanding of the concept of number may never come if he does not realize that this mathematical concept is an abstraction. Often the child does not even have to think about it, because the adult deliberately invites him to count specific single objects. We have already said above that a simple account is not a guarantee of the development of mathematical abilities. The understanding that a counting unit can include several objects, or that a different number can correspond to one object, depending on the measure used, leads the child to a deeper understanding of the concept of number and already contributes to the development of the prerequisites for mathematical thinking. Such a correct introduction of a number, and, moreover, presented in a right-hemisphere way, that is, figuratively, unfortunately, is very rare (modern preschool programs do not set themselves such a task at all). Basically, learning comes down to practical counting, and even if a child counts large and small objects, and then compares them in quantity, and not in size, he does this not because of understanding, but because he was taught that way. Work on overcoming the sign of Piaget on the example of plasticine, water, bulk material, the study of the concept of number with the help of measurements, the figurative presentation of the abstractness of a number - this is what contributes to the development of mathematical thinking.

    But it is impossible to achieve the development of the prerequisites of mathematical thinking by studying the concept of number and teaching conscious counting alone, because the subject of mathematics is a broader concept that includes many directions. So let's talk about what else needs to be worked on.

    The teacher should take into account that counting skills, like any other, will develop with repeated repetition, exercise, as a result of organized learning. Therefore, tasks where children apply counting skills and reinforce them should be interesting and varied.

    It is necessary to pay attention to how correctly children perform movements in the process of counting activity, since in its structure it is a certain system of actions subordinate to each other, consisting of partial operations: this is the selection of each object of the set, the correlation of a numeral with it, retention in memory number sequences.

    Identifying and displaying each counting item is a skill that develops gradually. At first, in order to achieve the correct counting result, the child needs to move objects or touch them. Step by step the steps are getting better. The child only points at objects with his finger or hand at a distance, then he singles out each object with his eyes, sometimes helping himself with rhythmic movements of the head.

    Speech action in the process of counting activity goes the same way: from external, expanded action (loud naming of numerals, pronouncing words in a whisper) to internal action (naming numerals by moving the lips, and then silently, without moving the lips).

    Teaching children to count, it is necessary to include various analyzers: kinesthetic, visual, speech-motor, auditory, tactile. For this, game exercises are used, where it is necessary to count by ear, by touch, to count movements. For example, the teacher suggests counting as many toys as the children hear the hammer blows; jump as many times as the beats of the tambourine sound; clap their hands as many times as they can feel for the balloons in the bag. Children count a certain number of sounds with open and closed eyes, and then count the indicated number of objects or perform certain actions. These exercises are playful. Performing a didactic task, they bring some relaxation, which is necessary in mathematics classes.

    All this involves the use of visual material: toys, various objects, images, etc., as well as sounds, movements.

    Children practice counting objects according to a pattern or a given number. A numerical card with a certain number of circles, a subject picture with several images of toys or recognizable objects, geometric figures located on a flannelgraph can serve as a sample. Children count the number of objects, keep this number in memory, in accordance with it they count small counting material or toys.

    The number can be set using a verbal instruction or a displayed digit. For example, count as many toys as there are windows in a room; count as many bones as there are seasons; count as many circles as the number shows.

    It is advisable to make visual and counting material more diverse from lesson to lesson, to complicate tasks. First, children count objects as many as the pattern indicates. Then the number of counted items can be increased or decreased relative to a given number, correspond to the next or previous relative to the named number, show the number one unit more or one unit less than the named number.

    The teacher relies on the children's ideas about the features of counting activity and offers them tasks in which the base of the count changes. Children are shown that a certain group can be conditionally taken as a unit of account, for example, two, three, four, five, ten items. The result is a new number. The topics of such tasks are included in the quick wit tasks. For example, it is proposed to determine how many chickens are perched if six chicken paws are visible. Taking two chicken paws as a unit of account, the children correlate the proposed amount with the unit of measurement and get the answer: three chickens are sitting on a perch.

    Counting by a given base deepens the understanding of the meaning of the unit. The activity of the account rises to a new, higher, conceptual level. The established ideas about counting activity are used in the further mathematical development of the child, when children come to an elementary understanding of the basics of the decimal number system. The study of the numbers of the second ten, counting in tens, hundreds, lies on the prepared favorable basis.

    The practice of teaching counting to preschoolers has shown that its success is influenced not only by the content of the proposed material, but also by the form of presentation, which can arouse children's interest and cognitive activity. To do this, it is necessary to use such methods when knowledge is not given to children in a finished form, but is comprehended by them through independent analysis, comparison of the essential features of objects and phenomena, and the establishment of interdependencies.

    The organization of the lesson should help the child to turn from a passive, inactive observer into an active participant. The form of the lesson should be mobile and change depending on the tasks. It is necessary to move away from the frozen school-lesson forms of teaching and search for various options for conducting a lesson,

    For example, it is important how close the child is to the teacher or to the scene of action with objects, whether he can directly participate in what is happening. The organization of classes in small groups contributes to mutual learning and mutual verification, stimulates cognitive communication and interaction of children. For a joint search for an answer, discussions are very useful. The need to explain the methods of action of a friend, the opportunity to ask a question, to doubt the correctness of the decision, to offer one's own version, as a rule, makes everyone active. With such an organization, an atmosphere of cooperation arises within the team. Children quickly get involved in the search situation, readily help each other, trying to solve a game or practical problem.

    The leading activity of preschool children is play activity. Therefore, classes, in fact, are a system of didactic games, during which children explore problem situations, identify essential features and relationships, compete, and make “discoveries”. During these games, personality-oriented interaction of an adult with a child and children among themselves, their communication in pairs, in groups, is carried out.

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