Number sense in preschool is critical for future math development and that’s why we’ve created these counting to 20 lesson plans for preschoolers… so we could further explore number sense as we dive into the teen numbers with hands-on and exciting activities. Our lesson plans also include a detailed scope and sequence for the whole counting unit, ensuring that number recognition and one-to-one correspondence are a major focus for the whole unit.
Counting to 20 Activities for Preschoolers
Creating a preschool math curriculum was a heavy task! I knew when I began planning lessons, activities, and centers that I needed to make sure that the math skills of every single child were accounted for and that there were plenty of opportunities for differentiation.
I also 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.
The Daily Lessons in Preschool Math curriculum was born out of that need and today we are focusing on the sixth unit in the series, Daily Lessons in Counting 0- 20.
In our previous counting lesson plan units, we reviewed teaching numbers 0-5, and numbers 0-10. Teaching teen numbers comes with its set of challenges. It can take a preschooler an entire year or more to master one-to-one correspondence and count to 20, so fear not as this skill takes time and repetition. It’s very common for preschoolers to be able to count to 10 smoothly, then skip numbers or become confused as they count their way to twenty.
Also, working with numbers 11-20 begins the work of place value, which is an entirely new concept for preschoolers. Plus, we all know that place value is the first stepping tool in understanding how higher numbers work and are combined so learning place value alongside the teen numbers is invaluable.
These lesson plans on counting for preschoolers are perfect for helping you plan engaging and developmentally appropriate lessons and activities for your students without loads of prep and time.
FAQ About Teaching Counting to 20 to 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 to 20 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 and click each picture for more details. These items are staples for any early childhood math curriculum.
All About Counting to 20 Lesson Plans
These counting to 20 lesson plans 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 pre-k counting activities that help kids to count, interact, and practice with numbers up to 20. We also introduce valuable counting strategies, such as using ten-frames, tally marks, dice, and counting cubes to model a number.
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 18 magnified snowflakes. This engaging photo invites young learners to count to 18, make connections to the natural world, and dig into symmetry. 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 our counting to 20 unit. You’ll notice that the activities include measuring heights, counting and making cube towers, and applying their counting knowledge to ten frames, which were practiced in the previous units to ensure exposure and practice to essential 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 0-20 Centers for Preschoolers
In these counting to 20 activities for preschoolers, we have included lots of hands-on activities and games that invite kids to count in numerous ways. Many of the games and centers use engaging manipulatives such as snap cubes and colored counters. Remember independent centers should always be supervised in preschool and kindergarten.
Spin and Build to Twenty
Preschoolers love dice games and this simple counting game is simple to prep and easy to play. Print out the double ten-frame mat and grab some counters and a spinner or dice focusing on numbers 11-20. We love these foam dice! Then roll or spin and invite the child to identify the numeral and then count that same number of counters to the frame.
To Twenty Sequencing Mats
This fun counting math center can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used as a matching center, sequencing numbers from least to greatest or vice versa, or given manipulatives (like play dough or pom poms) to match the quantity on each card. Great use value in this center and it can easily be differentiated for children just learning to count.
0-20 Counting Mats
Who wouldn’t want to practice counting using playdough or colorful counters? Kids learn the recognize and trace the numerals up to 20 and count the buds on the flowers to reach the number on the mat. Transfer the counters or playdough balls to the mat and ta-da, you have counting practice fun! For kids who need more practice, they can get a second count in by smashing the playdough balls flat after making them.
0-20 Counting Puzzles
Preschool counting is much more than just counting practice, it’s about exposure to different ways that numbers can be represented in daily life. This math activity shows preschoolers how tally marks, ten frames, dice, and the numeral all represent the same number. Made into a puzzle format, it’s very easy to spotlight a set of numbers and lots of practice counting.
Build and Find Number Mats
Using snap cubes, this center invites preschoolers to build cube towers. When they reach the teen numbers, they make a cube tower for 10 and another tower with __ more. This helps preschoolers prepare for place value in later years. This build-and-find center also helps children identify the numeral and learn proper formation through tracing.
Number Tracing 0-20
Toss this center in a dry erase sleeve and it’s ready for kids! This center is all about the numeral formation practice. To make it as exciting as possible, use with crayons and invite the children to make rainbow numbers. Or snag these dry erase crayons and invite them to re-use over and over!
Cookies and Milk Numbers
An engaging math game always makes for excited preschoolers! This cookies and milk preschool counting activity encourages number recognition, counting skills, and identifying numbers on a number line. To liven things up, you could always use real mini-cookies in place of snap cubes for extra interest!
Fishing For Numbers
In this fishing for numbers counting game, preschoolers pull a ten-frame card and find the matching numeral on the fishing mat. Invite the children to use a counter or cube to mark the number. The first one to cover their board wins! Perfect for practicing ten frames, this math center is great for subitizing and quick numeral recognition.
Math to Literacy Connections
We have also included eight optional literacy activities that infuse math picture books. Children learn best through colorful illustrations and storytelling. These eight picture books infuse counting and numeral recognition, as well as, build upon other math skills (shapes, colors, patterns) as well. Click the book covers to read more about each book.
Grab these fantastic books about counting to 20 here!
Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam
Teeth, Tails, and Tentacles by Christopher Wormell
From the Garden by Michael Dahl
My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street by Mark Lee
Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Get Your Counting to 20 Lesson Plans for Preschoolers Here
The daily lessons in counting from 0-20 are complete and ready to use! These preschool counting to 20 lesson plans include daily lessons, centers, activities, and even literacy connections. This counting 0-20 math unit is all you’ll need to teach number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, and develop number sense to your preschoolers.
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!