Here are 39 hands-on preschool counting activities. Why, you ask?
As a teacher of the preschool age group, you know how essential it is for your students to become comfortable and confident with counting. Numbers are a fundamental part of math that children need to understand in order to succeed later on in school and beyond; but for many young learners, mastering basic counting skills can seem like an overwhelming task.
Fortunately, there are countless activities that can help! In this blog post we’ll look at 39 engaging, hands-on activities designed specifically for preschoolers so they can start exploring numbers in exciting and creative ways!
Counting Activities and Counting Printables for Preschoolers
In my preschool classroom, we do a lot of tasks multiple times and even more tasks regularly.
We have routines.
Upon arrival, students take off their shoes and place them in a basket. After name practice children gather at the circle time area to read stories. We do group work after free choice centers. We enjoy a snack before playing outside.
These are just a handful of a few very simple routines that add a huge amount of predictability in our preschool day, but this is not a post about establishing preschool routines. This is a post about developing counting skills in preschoolers.
Why do I bring this up?
Because practicing counting in one important piece we add to so many of our preschool routines.
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For example, we count to twenty as we wash our hands before snack. We count how many plates or bowl as we need, how many napkins and cups, too. Then we count grapes or scoops of trail mix or carrot sticks or whatever as we add them to our plates. Sometimes the children even count as they eat their snacks. And then we count as we wash our hands after snack.
We do this because not only do children have a natural propensity for organizing and counting, but also because the basic foundation of math is understanding numbers and quantities (or number sense), is through handling objects and counting them.
We practice so much counting in preschool because not only is it a perfectly developmentally appropriate skill, but it is just so easy to add to just about every preschool routine, too!
FAQ About How to Teach Counting to Preschoolers
Preschoolers learn to count through practice. That practice can happen naturally through everyday activities and through playing. Hands on counting activities for preschoolers are a must for additional practice, as well as sensory counting activities and even some worksheets, like counting bear worksheets that are so popular.
One-to-one correspondence is the understanding that each item is counted only once and one at a time. For example, when counting a set of counting bears, the child does not count any one bear twice and does not count any bear with another, assigning the same number.
Practice should include lots of modeling by the teacher, and practicing small quantities first.
Preschool math is divided into five disciplines. Those disciplines are: number sense, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability. Preschool math instruction should include math activities in all five disciplines.
Counting Activities and Printables for Preschoolers
For your convenience, I’ve divided these counting activities for preschoolers into two basic categories. Those with printables and those without. But rest assured – all these counting activities teach kids to count using a fun, engaging, hands-on approach — without the boring flash cards.
Hands-On Counting Activities for Preschoolers
Counting and snack time has never been more with with this marshmallow snowballs counting activity. Can’t use food in preschool? No worries! Try this activity with pom poms.
Ghosts and ghouls have never been so fun as this Halloween counting game that teaches composing ten.
Preschoolers love planting a vegetable garden with this healthy eating counting game!
This pumpkin counting game combines fall themes, counting, and water play all in one!
Got a set of apple mini erasers? This post has 6 different counting activities for your apple theme!
Add some process art to your counting work with this fun fireworks counting game perfect for celebrating the 4th of July!
It’s amazing to see what preschoolers can learn with a little playdough and some math materials in this math invitation to play.
Use clean up time as a way to teach your preschoolers concepts of ten.
Here’s another fun counting activity perfect for snack time. Use it as a color sorting activity, too!
Make a corn cob with this fall or farm themed counting game. Or add it to your Thanksgiving preschool theme for a non-turkey art activity.
Egg carton counting is an easy way to teach one-to-one correspondence and can be adapted to any preschool theme.
And this math activity is a crazy simple way to introduce your preschooler to addition and subtraction during counting practice.
Preschool Counting Activities with Free Counting Printables
Studying bugs and butterflies this year? Then you need to add this Butterfly Counting Printable 0-20 to your preschool math centers.
Feed the Bunny Counting Printable is such a funny way to celebrate Easter as your preschoolers will love “munching” on carrots.
Start off you spring theme with these beautiful Gardening Ten Frame Counting Cards.
Learn about kindness and friendship with these heart grid games.
These 6 rainbow themed math activities are a fun way for young children to practice a ton of math skills!
Preschoolers will have extra fun practicing number formation with these number cards! They can be used with any theme.
Add some playdough sensory play with these pumpkin counting cards.
Watch out for the sneaky squirrel in this silly fall counting game.
Have a train fanatic in your preschool? Try this rainbow train counting and graphing game. Your little conductor is sure to adore it!
Add lots of gross motor fun to your dinosaur theme with this 10 Little Dinosaurs Song and printable puppets.
Apple drop counting is another simple game that teaches preschoolers about concepts of ten and one-to-one correspondence.
These heart themed ten frame cards pair perfecting with a Valentine’s or friendship theme.
Or print off these Thanksgiving counting cards to add to your Thanksgiving preschool theme.
Farmer Brown has Five Red Apples is always a favorite preschool counting song. Print off your copy!
Teach more and less concepts with these strawberry lemonade counting mats. Or add them to your lemonade stand dramatic play center.
It’s a Zoo! is a fun counting board game that also teaches graphing concepts.
Add some play dough fun to your desert theme with these Cactus Number Formation Cards.
These 5 Little Fishies counting mats are so fun for an ocean theme. Add them to your snack time routine, too!
This collecting bugs game introduces preschoolers to basic addition skills!
3-2-1 Blast off to space with these space themed grid games.
Try these 5 Little Gingerbread Men counting mats for hours of Christmas counting fun.
This apple seed counting game works on fine motor skills while teaching one-to-one correspondence.
More Preschool Counting Printables
Having trouble keeping your preschoolers on task when using the balancing scale? Try these counting bears task cards.
Nothing but number identification and counting skills in this pack of 12 activities!
Or get your counting activities laid out for three entire months with these 0-20 counting lesson plans.
Want something more advanced? Try these addition and subtraction lesson plans.
Get both math and literacy activities in any of my holiday activity packs. Then take a look for more math activities in my thematic activity packs.
Get Counting Preschool Lesson Plans
Daily Lessons in Preschool Mathematics is a complete and comprehensive curriculum designed to teach your preschooler all five disciplines of math without the boring worksheets!
This bundle features three units of preschool counting lesson plans.
COUNTING UNITS INCLUDED:
- Counting 0-5
- Counting 0-10
- Counting 0-20
Based on five and ten frame math, the provided lessons are fun as well as effective!
Teachers and homeschooling parents using this curriculum know:
- exactly what to teach in preschool math
- when to teach each skill
- how to teach said skills most effectively
And it is all done for you in Daily Lessons in Preschool Mathematics. Just open your teaching binder and teach the day’s lesson.
INCLUDED IN EACH UNIT:
- yearly scope and sequence
- daily learning routines
- weekly discovery concept prompts
- targeted, skill-based learning activities
- integrated literacy activities
- weekly printable math centers
- teaching tips
- bonus activities
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
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