Counting Activities For Kindergarten – 2021 Guide

Susanne
| Last Updated: May 19, 2021

Counting is the basis of the more complicated concepts in mathematics. Once the child grasps the base levels, advancing and learning more complex ideas will become exponentially easier.


This article gives you a few fun ideas for making counting more approachable for the kid by gamification of learning.

Great Counting Activities For Kindergarten

Staying on top of our belief that learning doesn’t need to be tedious, we present to you several games and activities to spark creativity. Most of the picked projects are both DIY, fun to set up, and helpful for math classes during the play.

Math | Number Identification | Classroom Fun

1. Listen to the Bear

This is a pleasant pastime where the kids learn to identify numbers and count small objects to match. The goal is to help the students learn counting to ten.

The activity uses adorable printable cuddly bear cards with numbers on their bellies. The child chooses one card and identifies the number on it, placing or clipping other small objects on the card to make the quantity.

You can use anything like rocks, counting sticks, pins, or smaller bear-shaped manipulatives for added fun.


For this activity, you’re going to need:

Laminating the cards will make them reusable and can help them last longer.

Social | Creative | Fine Motor

2. The Turkey Game

The Turkey Game is an easy and fun pastime to teach your child to count, adding a crafts component and creativity to the process.

First, prepare your turkey shape by tracing your hand on brown construction paper. Cut it out. Then help the child cut “feather” shapes from colored construction paper. Once you have everything ready, let the game begin.

Each player gets one turkey and enough “feathers.” They take turns rolling the dice, counting the number, and adding feathers to the “bird.” Once you’ve depleted the “feather bank,” stop the game and determine the winner. The participant that has more “feathers” on their “bird” wins.

Here you can find the list of supplies you’ll need for this activity:

  • Dice
  • Brown, red, and orange construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Marker

You can play this game alone with your child or invite friends. Depending on the number of feathers you have, the game can last longer or shorter.

Education.com, the source where we found this game recommends playing five rounds each before stopping and counting.

Number Recognition | Fine Motor | Color Recognition

3. Skyscraper Fun with “Stack it!” Printables

We bet your child likes playing with Lego or Unifix cubes. This is an activity where the young ones can develop their fine motor skills and experience some construction fun while learning to count.

The goal of the game is to stack cubes on the corresponding number. Using a printout with numbers and box location, prompt the child to count the Unifix cubes, attach them, and place the skyscraper on the correct spot.

While playing with these rules can be straightforward, you can also add another complication layer to the activity. If the prompt boxes with numbers are colored, the child could also match them with the toy’s color.


Here’s what you need to get going:

  • A printable with colored box locations and numbers on them (laminated is preferable against wear-and-tear)
  • Unifix or Lego cubes

Check out the activity and the “Stack it!” printable on thekindergartenconnection.com.

Coordination | Fine Motor Skills | Creativity

4. Colored Beans

This game is about grouping the colored beans, counting, and putting them into a matching cup.

Picking up and matching the bean color to the cup color is quite a task for little ones from three to five years old. They multitask, developing fine motor skills and coordination, learn more about colors, and name them in the process.

If the child gets the concept quickly or is a bit older, you can use this setup also to teach simple addition.

What you’ll need:

  • Biodegradable cups
  • White butter beans
  • Colorful markers

The original source of the activity, theimaginationtree.com, says that, although you have to get your hands messy with colorful markers while painting the beans and the cups, everything is justifiable to see kids happy!

Gross Motor Skills | Physical Activity | Indoor/Outdoor Fun

5. Precision “Snowballs” 

The activity’s objective is to teach the child to count by one up to the desired number. This game is enjoyable if your child is more of a sport-loving type and has fun tossing a ball around. At the end of the day, learning shouldn’t be boring and rooted at the desk.

Prepare some paper “snowballs” by crumbling them into a round shape (you can also use small pool balls or anything that can be picked and tossed) and a bucket (or buckets).

If the child is new to their counting journey, the game can be as simple as tossing up to ten “snowballs” into one bucket. In the future, you can have numerous twists on the game rules.

  • Include an addition/subtraction layer by asking questions
  • Make it a group activity where each bucket belongs to one participant, and the earliest to reach the needed number will win
  • Have a few friends play head-to-head, comparing their results

Here are the materials you’ll need for the activity:

  • Paper balls (as many as needed for your target learning number)
  • Bucket(s)

Toss the idea around, and you’ll come up with more exciting ones based on this game. For the original one, visit weareteachers.com.

Fine Motor | One-To-One Correspondence | Color Recognition

6. Number Chains: Links on Cards 

This is a simple exercise to help children recognize the number and count in a sequence, starting from one.

Print cards of your own making (or the suggested printable). It should have a number written on it and a space where you can punch a hole. The card can also contain link pictures to guide younger kids.


This activity’s most simple variation is connecting as many links to the hole and each other as indicated on the card. Another complication layer can work with colorful manipulatives. You can suggest one of the following:

  • Connect only the indicated color (for example, four red links)
  • Connect a sequence of two and more colors without letting similar colors connect

You can invent as many rules as you want. The only guideline for you is to keep it fresh and fun. Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Printables with numbers and shapes
  • Hole cutter
  • Plastic links

This exercise helps the numbers “materialize” into objects for visualization. It’s also easier to see if one number is larger than the other if you have links hanging from the card. We found the original idea on creativekindergartenblog.com.

Music | Memory | Number Order

7. Sing Counting Songs

Singing is a freeing activity, especially for kindergarten students. Kids usually have bottled-up energy that needs to come out, and one of the best ways is to let them make noise.

Counting songs are adorable and rhyme perfectly. The themes revolve around everyday, easy-to-count objects, fairy tales, or cartoon animals. One of the best-known ones is “The Ants Go Marching,” where you count ants, adding to the sequence one by one.

Some other fun songs you can try include:

  • “Five Jellyfish”
  • “Five Green, Speckled Frogs”
  • “Here is the Beehive”
  • “Five Little Ducks”

If you’re teaching kindergarten and singing acapella, the only thing you need for this activity is your voice and a bunch of shouting kids. A music player or your smartphone with a speaker is optional. For the complete list of songs, visit howweelearn.com.

Physical Movement | Number Recognition | Fine Motor

8. Cards and Rocks

This activity is quite similar to the “Number chains” above. It’s all about counting and grouping the correct number of small objects near the corresponding card with the indicated digit.

Below is what you need for the exercise:

  • Number cubes or cards
  • A lot of small-to-medium rocks (buttons, shells, counting bears, or any other small manipulatives works)

While the setup is quite simple, the game will diversify your child’s learning process and help them visualize bigger and smaller numbers and their relationship.

For the original version of the activity, visit mymundaneandmiraculouslife.com.

Outdoor | Creative | Social

9. Find Items from Nature 

Making children play outside is becoming harder, as video games and computers replace the fun time. Still, fresh air and body activity are an integral part of a child’s development.

If you’re up for some outdoor activities, this is a perfect opportunity to help your kid connect with nature.

Use chalk to draw numbers on the sidewalk or your driveway (you can have the kid help, as it will be a lot of fun). Once you have the grid ready, prompt the child to search around for a specific number of objects and place them on each number.


A sunny afternoon might be a prerequisite, but you don’t need much preparation for this activity:

  • Chalk
  • Child’s curiosity to search surroundings

You can also have friends over for the hunt, making the exercise more social. Kids will have an excellent time exchanging ideas about the possible items to choose for each number.

Read more about the original activity on handsonaswegrow.com.

One-to-One Correspondence | Rule Application | Social

10. Board Games

Who doesn’t like board games?! If you’re up for a tranquil family evening before bed, playing a board game that involves counting with your kid can be an excellent learning activity as well.

While you have quite a few choices, Chutes and Ladders is one of the best for one by one counting and learning which number is larger. The child will also learn to take turns if the whole family is playing. They won’t even know they’re learning math.


All you need here is to own the game kit, which isn’t expensive at all. It should contain:

  • The printable
  • Dice
  • Playing figures

For more details on the game, visit parents.com

What Supplies Do You Need For These Activities?

Gamifying the study time for kids is an ideal option to get them to learn without realizing it. Some of the activities need a lot of prep work. Others are just as easy as drawing a board game out of the cupboard. Let’s see what you usually need to get your kids counting.

Manipulatives

Manipulatives are physical objects used during the teaching process as an aid. These are all types of tools like colored counters and blocks, counting sticks, cubes, and whatnot.

We’ve mentioned a few manipulatives in this article while going for a more hands-on approach with the colored beans and rocks. You can use anything as manipulatives, no matter ready-made or DIY.

Photo credit: brownbagteacher.com

Game Kits and Printables

If you’re aiming for a specific counting board game like the Chutes and Ladders we mentioned above, you might need to buy the complete game kit with dice and figures.

However, it might be cheaper for you to find a printable online if you own the manipulatives. Just print and laminate it for more extended use. Putting together a printable yourself is also easy; plus, you’ll be getting it to the exact specifications you need.

Stationery

If you’re taking the DIY route in your activity, you might need some specific stationery to get the set ready for your kids. Having construction paper, scissors, colored markers, glue, and blank paper will help you in your endeavors.

Conclusion

Developing counting skills doesn’t have to be a struggle. Most of the mentioned activities are easy and fun to do; children won’t even know that you’re offering them a learning opportunity.


Still, these activities will help them develop numerous skills from math to social. They will also boost curiosity and creativity.

Photo credit: mathsolutions.com

People Also Ask

Counting is a fundamental skill for every kindergartener, and games make it more fun to learn tricky concepts. Here are a few additional questions about counting in the early preschool years.

How Do You Make Counting Fun?

Making counting easy to learn should include a gamification component. If you integrate learning numbers into an everyday chore, a sensory activity, or an outright game, kids will look at it with more eagerness.

How High Should Kindergarteners Be Able To Count?

Counting to 30 is the general rule of thumb for a kindergarten graduate. Kids should be able to do it by one and by tens. Some teachers and parents also aim to help the child understand the concept of counting by fives.

How Do You Explain Backward Counting?

The child should understand that counting backward removes numbers from the original one. It’s important to master because it’s a basis for teaching subtraction later. Our described activities work similarly for backward counting.

How Do You Explain Skip Counting?

Once the child can count forward and backward, you can introduce skip-counting. Explain that with regular number strings. While you add one to get the following number, you should add two or higher for skip counting.

You can use games and methodologies to polish the concept perception.