Learning to count requires so many skills! These counting 0-5 lesson plans for preschoolers will help your preschoolers learn to identify, count, and order numbers. With hands-on and engaging activities, plus a detailed scope and sequence for the whole unit, this is one math skill that will be a breeze to plan for.
Preschool Counting 0-5 Activities
When teaching young children, you have to plan for a large range of abilities. Preschool children learn and grow at different times, so when I sit down to plan lessons, I am challenged to develop appropriate activities that meet needs of all of my learners.
That’s why I created a preschool math curriculum so that I can ensure that the lessons, activities, and centers are designed to develop the math skills of every. single. learner. I knew it needed to spiral and review key concepts multiple times throughout the year, gradually increasing in difficulty. This approach is ideal because it covers math topics throughout the entire year. This allows children more time for mastery and an opportunity to increase the rigor of each lesson.
One of the most critical units of the whole curriculum is counting. Children begin with exposure to numbers 0-5. This sets the stage for how numbers work and the understanding that numbers represent a quantity. Developing number sense is the foundation for our preschool students and you’ll see many examples of how we infused it into our lesson plans on counting for preschoolers.
These counting lesson plans for preschoolers are perfect for helping you plan engaging and developmentally appropriate lessons and activities for your preschool students without loads of prep and time.
FAQ About Counting 0-5 with Preschoolers
Children have an innate sense of number. They hear numbers and counting from birth when parents inevitably say, “Two more minutes!” All kidding aside, learning to count is the first stage in math development and it is easily fostered with everyday counting practice and hands-on practice.
Number sense refers to the understanding of how numbers work, not just simple counting. It will take some time for children to master these important skills. Number sense develops through multiple skills and requires lots of practice and repetition.
Preschool counting activities are embedded in daily life! Count the cars parked in the parking lot or the flowers growing in the weeds. Using hands-on manipulatives and fun counters can turn simple counting activities into counting games that your preschoolers beg to play. Singing math songs and reading books about math concepts also gives children extra math practice.
Counting 0-5 Hands-On Supplies
This curriculum is designed to be low-prep and utilize the same supplies during each math unit. Buy it once, and use them over and over again for different learning purposes! Take a look at some of the resources we use for each unit. These items are staples for any early childhood math curriculum.
All About Counting 0-5 Lesson Plans
These counting lessons for preschoolers are designed for up to a five-day-week program, but activities within a week can be removed and skipped for two or three-day-week programs. There are lots of counting 0-5 activities that encourage fine motor skill development and of course, learning to recognize numbers and practice one to one correspondence.
Discovery Activities/Math Photo Cards
The discovery activities are so much fun! Each week contains a real photograph or illustration for the children to interact with. The photo relates to the concept and encourages oral language and math vocabulary development. Plus, the vibrant photos expose children to different places, animals, and cultures. It’s easy to see that math really is everywhere in our daily lives!
The math photo card example below shows multiple hot air balloons floating in the sky. This colorful photo offers a chance for young learners to count how many hot air balloons they see, as well as identify the two balloons that are the same pattern. Each photo card includes mathematical points, teaching tips, and engaging questions to encourage your children to think about each photo through a mathematical lens.
The daily dip is a review activity to reinforce previously taught skills. You will notice valuable teaching tips throughout the review lessons. These tips offer insight to help execute specific strategies in
the lessons. This section is optional depending on time and student needs but is certainly a valuable component of each day.
The photo below shows examples of the first week of the counting 0-5 unit. You’ll notice that the activities include sorting and matching which were learned in the previous unit to ensure exposure and practice to math skills all year long.
Teach and Engage
The teach and engage section is a brand new daily lesson for your students packed with new learning. This component of the curriculum includes lots of modeling and student interaction. Each lesson includes a bonus section that offers tips on how to make the lesson more challenging and provides extensions for children who are ready for more difficulty.
Counting 0-5 Centers for Preschoolers
Counting 0-5 centers and games are invaluable in preschool. We have included lots of counting games for preschool that allow children to independently practice with engaging manipulatives. Remember independent centers should always be supervised in preschool and kindergarten.
Spin and Build Five Frame Counting
This center is fun for preschoolers because they love to spin spinners. This five frame practice activity also encourages early subitizing skills which is when children start to recognize the pattern of dots represent a number (without having to count). Simply spin the spinner and invite the child to add that many game markers to the five frame. The child is building one to one correspondence while engaging in a rainbow of math fun!
This game has two levels of difficulty – perfect for differentiating for your students. Children can use the counting cards up to five to help build one to one correspondence. If you have students who are ready to move beyond counting to five, we have included number cards up to twenty. To use, invite children to match the teddy bear counters and count as they go. Trace the number with a dry erase marker using the formation line guides.
Number Playdough Mats
This center is print and play and sure to be a class favorite! Using playdough, children will form and mold the number at the top and then count out that many playdough balls. One way my class likes to play is to create the playdough balls and then smash each one as they count. It’s fun for them and encourages them to count slowly and carefully as they smash!
Collecting Bears Grid Games
This color sorting and counting math activity invites children to roll a die and find matching counting bears for each space. Then they add that number of teddy bear counters to their grid. This invites them to practice counting as the roll the die and expose them to the dot pattern on the dice for easy recall later. Play ends when they have filled their board!
Dot Counting Cards
In this hands on counting activity, preschoolers will count all the dots on the number, then count out that many game marker chips. Placing each one on top of a dot circle, invite the child to count again. This center includes cards from 0-20. To keep things interesting, change the items used to count such as pom-poms, large sequins, counting bears, counting cubes, cereal, etc.
“Show Me” Five Frame Counting Cards
This five frame learning activity encourages number recognition and learning that numbers can be represented in different ways. Preschoolers will learn how to use tally marks and fingers to show a number. Using game markers or other counters, children can show the quantity in various ways.
Number I Spy
This engaging and visually interesting math game invites children to match the squares with the correct number of items. Each card has five matches for children to find using game markers. As a bonus, you can make this center self-checking by marking the back of each correct square. This card is available for numbers 0-20.
Dice Counting Cards
Using colorful dice and game markers, this counting game reinforces counting skills and number identification. Invite children to roll the dice and then count out the number by adding counters to the ten frame. Then have the students trace the number with a dry erase marker by following the formation lines.
Math to Literacy Connections
We have also included eight optional literacy activities that infuse math picture books. Children learn through colorful illustrations and storytelling. These eight picture books bring counting to life and build upon other math skills (sorting, colors, patterns) as well.
Grab these fantastic books about counting 0-5 here!
Bear Counts by Karma Wilson
Elmer’s First Counting Book by Brandt Lewis
Pete the Cat: 5 Little Ducks by James Dean
5 Wild Numbers by Bella Gomez
Five Green and Speckled Frogs by Constanza Basaluzzo
Fingers for Lunch by Brandt Lewis
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean
Piggies by Audrey and Don Wood
Get Your Counting 0-5 Lesson Plans for Preschoolers Here
The daily lessons in counting 0-5 are completed and ready to use! Filled with daily lesson plans, centers, activities, and even literacy connections, this counting unit is all you’ll need for your preschool lessons.
Looking for a Preschool Math Curriculum for the Whole Year?
We’ve got you covered! From sorting to graphing, counting to shapes, this preschool math curriculum is loaded with engaging activities, literacy connections, and daily photo cards to spark joy in math.
I am an educator, book enthusiast, and a stay at home momma to two precious and long-awaited littles. My degree is in Early Childhood Education and Curriculum and Instruction and I have spent the last 15 years working with young children. I feel very fortunate to have this time to watch my babies grow and I can’t wait to share my passion for learning and reading with you!