July 7, 2023

Most of my resources on this site are for parents and teachers/tutors of elementary age kids, but we all know that building a strong foundation in math starts earlier! I was very excited to connect with Andrea Gibbs, a blog contributor at Baby Steps Preschool, who wrote this guest post for parents of preschoolers on introducing math with counting activities.


As a mom of a once-preschool child who is now a grade two elementary student, I know firsthand the challenges that come with molding young minds and guiding them toward success. It can feel overwhelming at times, and we may question if we’re doing enough to prepare them for their academic journey. That’s why I want to share my experiences and the valuable lessons I learned in helping my preschool child navigate the world of math basics, with a specific focus on counting.

Counting is a fundamental skill that lays the groundwork for future mathematical proficiency. However, it can be challenging for our little ones to grasp the concept and develop a strong understanding of numbers. They may struggle with number recognition, struggle to sequence numbers correctly, or find it difficult to connect numerical symbols with real-life objects or quantities.

Although I am not a certified math teacher, I found immense joy and satisfaction in helping my child learn the math basics. Through trial and error, I discovered a range of enjoyable and engaging counting activities that not only helped my child overcome challenges but also made learning math a fun and interactive experience for both of us.

Today, I want to share these activities with you so that you, too, can embark on a rewarding journey of math discovery with your preschool-aged child, fostering their development and setting them up for future success. But before we go on, let’s first discover the importance of counting.

The Power of Counting

Counting plays a vital role in your child’s early math development. It’s more than just reciting numbers—it’s a fundamental skill that sets the stage for future math learning. When your child learns to count, they are building a strong foundation for math concepts like addition, subtraction, and problem-solving.

Engaging in counting activities with your preschooler brings numerous benefits. First, counting helps them understand the concept of quantity and develop number sense. By counting objects, like toys or fruits, they learn to associate numbers with the actual quantity they represent.

Counting activities also boost cognitive development. They improve your child’s concentration, memory, and problem-solving abilities. They learn to observe and analyze patterns through counting, laying the groundwork for more complex mathematical thinking later on.

By making counting fun and interactive, you’re nurturing your child’s love for math. So let’s dive into some exciting counting activities that will help your little one build a strong math foundation and have a blast along the way!

Fun Counting Activities

Immerse your child in a world of counting excitement with these delightful activities! From counting objects to engaging in interactive games, math learning becomes an adventure they’ll never forget. Let’s dive in and discover the joy of numbers together!

Counting with manipulatives

Manipulatives are objects that children can touch, move, and manipulate to understand mathematical concepts more effectively. By incorporating manipulatives into counting activities, you can make learning math fun and interactive for your little one.

One manipulative I found incredibly effective for my little one when it comes to counting is colorful counting blocks. These blocks come in various shapes and sizes, making them perfect for introducing numbers and counting. I remember sitting down with my child and placing a small set of blocks in front of them. I would ask them to count how many blocks there were while encouraging them to touch and move each block as they counted. This simple activity helped them make the connection between physical objects and the numbers they represented.

Another manipulative that worked wonders was using counting beads or buttons. I would provide my child with a string or a small container filled with beads or buttons and ask them to pick up each one, counting them aloud. Not only did this activity strengthen their counting skills, but it also helped develop their fine motor skills as they manipulated the beads or buttons.

(See SFMK’s full lists of recommended manipulatives here)

Counting Songs and Rhymes

Click image for counting songs curated by prekinders.com

Counting songs and rhymes has been a game-changer for my preschool-age child’s math learning journey. Not only are they fun and catchy, but they also play a significant role in developing their counting skills. Incorporating these musical activities into our daily routine made learning numbers exciting and memorable.

One of our favorite counting songs is “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” This song not only teaches counting from one to five but also introduces subtraction as each monkey falls off the bed. We would sing and act out the song together, making it a playful and interactive experience.

Another beloved counting rhyme is “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.” This rhyme helps children learn to count up to ten while reinforcing the sequence of numbers. We would clap our hands or tap our feet in rhythm with the rhyme, making it even more engaging.

Integrating counting songs and rhymes into our daily routine not only entertained my child but also provided a memorable way to reinforce their counting skills. I encourage you to explore counting songs and rhymes with your little one. You’ll be amazed at how these musical activities can make math learning enjoyable and effective!

Getting Active While Counting

When teaching my preschool-age child counting skills, I’ve discovered that getting active adds a whole new level of excitement to the learning process. Incorporating movement and physical activity into counting activities not only keeps my child engaged but also helps reinforce their understanding of numbers.

One activity we love is “Counting Jumps.” We stand in an open space and take turns counting while jumping. For example, I would say, “One,” and my child jumps once, then it’s their turn to say “Two” and jump twice. This activity not only builds their counting skills but also enhances their gross motor skills.

Another favorite is “Counting Steps.” Whether indoors or outdoors, we count our steps as we walk. For instance, I say “One” with the first step, and my child follows with “Two” on the second step. This activity combines physical movement with counting, making it a dynamic learning experience.

It’s a fantastic way to make math interactive and memorable. So, put on your sneakers, get ready to move, and watch your child’s counting skills flourish while having a blast!

Counting Games

I love finding creative ways to teach my preschooler essential math skills; counting games are always a hit! Not only do they make learning fun, but they also help develop strong number sense and counting abilities. Here are some exciting counting games that your little one will enjoy:

  • Number Hunt: Hide number cards around the house and encourage your child to find them. As they discover each card, ask them to count the objects depicted on it.
  • Counting Tower: Grab a stack of building blocks and take turns adding one block at a time to a tower. Count the blocks aloud with your child as the tower grows taller.
  • Roll and Count: Create a dice with numbers, or use a regular dice and add stickers with numbers on each face. Roll the dice and have your child count the dots or identify the number shown.
  • Counting Race: Set up a simple race course using toys or markers. As your child moves along the track, have them count each step they take.
  • Picture Puzzles: Use picture puzzles with a specific number of objects in each puzzle piece. Ask your child to count the objects in each piece as they solve the puzzle.

Play Counting Games on the Computer

A computer is a beneficial tool when used in moderation, and it can be a valuable resource for playing counting games with my preschool-age child. I have discovered a variety of interactive and engaging online counting games that not only make learning fun but also reinforce their math skills.

Using the computer to play counting games adds a new dimension to our math learning experience. It allows my child to interact with numbers in a dynamic and engaging way. Remember to set screen time limits and explore trusted educational websites to make the most of these fun and educational counting games.

(see SFMK’s list of Math Websites For Kids here)

Have Children Help You Cook

Cooking together is one of the family’s best bonding experiences and a great opportunity to help my little ones improve their counting abilities. I remember how excited my preschool-age child would get whenever I involved them in the kitchen. Not only did it create cherished memories, but it also became a fantastic way to reinforce their counting skills.

When preparing a recipe, I would ask my child to help me count the ingredients. For example, I would say, “We need three eggs. Can you find and count them for me?” This simple activity allowed them to practice counting while actively participating in the cooking process.

Measuring ingredients was another counting opportunity. I would give my child a measuring cup or spoon and ask them to count as they filled it. We would count aloud together, enhancing their counting skills and introducing the concept of measurement.

Cooking together not only provided a fun and interactive way to bond but also served as a practical learning experience for my little one’s counting abilities. So, invite your child to the kitchen, let them assist with counting ingredients and steps, and enjoy the delicious results of your teamwork.


Incorporating fun counting activities into your preschooler’s learning routine is a fantastic way to develop their math skills while keeping them engaged and excited about numbers. You can create a rich learning environment that nurtures their mathematical abilities by using manipulatives, counting songs and rhymes, active games, and even cooking together.

I have witnessed firsthand how these activities have positively impacted my child’s counting skills and overall enthusiasm for math. By making learning enjoyable and interactive, you are setting a strong foundation for their future academic success.

So, embrace the joy of counting with your little one and explore the endless possibilities for fun and engaging activities. Together, you can embark on a mathematical adventure that will leave a lasting impression and inspire a lifelong love for learning.

Author Bio

Andrea Gibbs is currently the head of content management at SpringHive Web Design Company, a digital agency that provides creative web design, social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also a blog contributor at Baby Steps Preschool where she writes storytime themes, parenting tips, and seasonal activities to entertain children.

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