Teaching kids how to count may have many parents scratching their heads. How do you liven up such a monotonous activity? Sure you can sing a song or read a book but even those get pretty boring after a while. Here are 44 fun and creative counting activities that you can try at home or in the classroom to get kids counting, and loving it!
1. Uno Cards Counting Activity
This is a quick and easy counting activity and the best part is: you probably have all the supplies already! Simply take some Uno cards and clothes pins and let kids count the number of pins they need to put on each card.
Learn more: Planning Playtime
2. Cup Filling Race
Turn a boring old counting activity into a fast-paced counting race! Let kids roll the dice and put that number of objects in their cups. You can use all sorts of small items like lego blocks, marbles, and pom poms. The first one to fill their cup is crowned counting champion!
Learn more: Frugal Fun 4 Boys
3. Googly Eyes Counting Game
This fun counting game has some hilarious outcomes and will have kids begging to play. Get out your handy bag of googly eyes and draw the outline of some monsters on a blank paper. Start this counting practice by rolling dice to decide how many limbs each monster will have then roll the dice to see how many eyes kids need to place on the monster's head.
Learn more: Days With Grey
4. Mystery Number Game
This fun activity for preschoolers adds a level of magic to a seemingly simple game. Place a glass casserole dish filled with dark water over a piece of paper with some numbers on it. When kids put a flat-bottom glass into the black water and move it around, they will reveal the numbers hidden underneath. let them search for the numbers in numerical order or roll a die to determine which number is next.
Learn more: Team Cartwright
5. Get Active While Counting
This fun math printable will get their brains working and their bodies moving. Spin both spinning wheels to determine a number and an exercise. Kids have to do the movement but also count as they go along.
Learn more: Play Dough To Plato
6. Ping Pong Eggs Counting Game
An easy way to get kids to learn counting is to combine it with fine motor activity. Write numbers on ping pong balls and mix them in a bowl. Kids need to take a spoon to search for the numbers from 1-6 and place them carefully in an egg tray.
Learn more: Mess For Less
7. Sum Swamp
We get it, you don't always have time to follow a DIY approach when it comes to number games, so it's a good idea to have a counting board game as a fun backup. Sum swamp incorporates addition and subtraction and is a simple and fun game to help kids with counting.
Learn more: Game Cows
8. Chocolate Chip Counting Game
If you are going to do the math, you might as well make it delicious right? Print out these cookie or plate printables and have some mini cookies and chocolate chips on hand. Kids count out the number indicated on the page and place the snacks on the sheet. Remember to have lots of extras because a few are bound to go "missing"!
Learn more: Life Over Cs
9. Feed The Hungry Shark
Turn the volume up on "Baby Shark" and let kids work on their counting skills with this fun game. Roll some dice to see how many fish the hungry shark gets. Kids also get to exercise their motor skills as they feed the fish into the shark's mouth.
Learn more: High Energy Mommy
10. Skip Counting Lace Boards
This is a great activity for counting, especially if you want to practice skip counting. Write the number sequence out of order on the edge of a paper plate and punch a hole next to each number. Kids must thread some yarn through the holes to get the correct order. You can trace the solution on the back if they need a little helping hand.
Learn more: 123 Home School 4 Me
11. Counting Stew
This is a fun counting activity that can translate into tons of math concepts. Get a tray with a few compartments and add some random items to each space. Give kids a "math stew" recipe and they can count out how many of each object they need. "Eight triangles, five squares, and three circles make the perfect stew."
Learn more: Pocket of Preschool
12. Dice Bingo
Who doesn't love bingo? This is one of the best math activities you can do as it is quick to set up and involves a few skills. Kids should roll some dice and mark off the blocks on their bingo cards. The first one to complete a row can yell out BINGO!
Learn more: Activity Mom
13. Coin Counting
Using coins in a counting activity helps you cover a variety of themes and gets kids used to everyday math. Roll a die to pick a number and then select that amount of coins. Let kids count the value of the coins together. If you are working with beginner-level counters, they can use the smallest value of coins to add up to the number on the dice.
Learn more: Earth Mama's World
14. Bug Catching Counting Game
Who would have thought a tub full of bugs can have so many uses? Use them as math materials and let kids count some bugs and catch them in a jar. The best way to do this is to use some tweezers to help them develop their pincer grip while they play.
Learn more: Mrs. Plemon's Kindergarten
15. Number Lacing Maze
Get kindergarten students counting with this creative lace-up maze. Make loops from colored paper and paste them onto a big piece of cardboard. Number the loops in random order and let kids thread a rope through the loops in numerical order. they can even try and count backward for an extra challenge.
Learn more: How We Learn
16. Pipe Cleaner Activity
This is a quick activity to let kids practice counting and work on their fine motor skills. poke some holes in the bottom of paper cups and write a number on the cup. They should count out pipe cleaners and stick them in the holes.
Learn more: Planning Playtime
17. Apple Tree Counting Cards
These cute flash cards make for a fun counting activity. Use some playdough to roll out bright red apples and place them on the cards to decorate the trees. This activity is fun and simple and can be done over and over without any waste.
Learn more: Tot Schooling
18. Paper Plate Adition
This is another counting activity that is easy to set up and quick to learn. Simply toll a die to determine how many buttons you need to count. Kids count buttons and place them in the smaller 2 sections of the paper plate and then count the total to place it in the larger section.
Learn more: Creative Family Fun
19. Corn Counting Activity
This fun math idea is perfect for basic foundation skills. Kids roll one or two dice and count how many dots they see. They then find the corresponding number on this adorable printable and place a yellow sticker on their corn.
Learn more: I Heart Crafty Things
20. Bead Counting
This fun activity will have your child practice counting along with doing some color recognition. label some pipe cleaners with sticky notes and write a number on each of them. Kids need to string some beads onto the pipe cleaner to correspond to the number on the label.
Learn more: Kids Activities Blog
21. Pearl Counting
This fun preschool counting activity can easily be tied in with an ocean-themed lesson plan. place some clam shells in a tray of sand and write a number inside each of them. Kids can arrange the shells in numerical order if they like. They can then count out the pearls and place the correct number in each shell.
Learn more: Creative World of Varya
22. Fishy Fingerpainting
The best kind of activities combine a wide variety of skills and this one requires cutting, counting, and painting. Kids create a little fish bowl and you can write some numbers on each fish. They should use finger paint to make the right amount of bubbles around each fish.
Learn more: School Time Snippets
23. Go Fishing Counting Game
Everyone remembers this simple fishing game from their childhood and it still holds up. Add some paper clips to numbered fish and let kids go fishing! They can catch the fish numerically, count backward, or even try some addition if they are up to the challenge.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy
24. One Fish, Two Fish...
Forget about math books, there are plenty of fun nursery rhyme books for preschoolers that teach counting too. This Dr. Seuss classic combines with an easy counting activity where kids can pair up red and blue numbered fish.
Learn more: Creative Family Fun
25. Smack the Number
A fly swatter and some numbers on the wall is an always-popular game to teach the foundation of math. Kids roll a giant die, count the numbers on the die and run to smack the written number on the wall with a fly swatter. You can make it more difficult by telling them to smack the number that comes after the number on the die.
Learn more: Mom Inspired Life
26. Octopus Math
An octopus makes for a fun math companion seeing as he has enough arms to count on! Make a cute picture of an octopus and let kids count out pieces of sequin to stick on its tentacles. They can also use finger paint and make dots if you want a more hands-on counting activity.
Learn more: Chipman's Corner Preschool
27. Plastic Egg Counting
These plastic easter eggs have endless uses, especially when it comes to activities for preschoolers. Number the top part of the egg with a numeric value and draw that number of dots on the bottom. Kids have to match the two pieces and also count out some counters to put inside the egg.
Learn more: Views From a Stepstool
28. Paper Egg Cracking
Another egg-cellent and simple counting activity are using a mini hole punch and some egg-shaped paper cutouts. Number each egg and let the kids punch the correct number of holes in each egg.
Learn more: Modern Preschool
29. Craft Hands Counting Activity
Create this fun craft to combine finger counting and the idea of an abacus. Kids can trace their hands and cut them out and use these to count on. Add a string of 10 beads in the middle that they will also use as counters.
Learn more: Hello Wonderful
30. Apple Seed Counting
An apple seed counting game is a fun and mess-free game for young learners. Simply print out the outline of an apple and grab a bowl of seeds or black beans. Kids roll the die and see how many seeds they need to place on the apple.
Learn more: ABCs to ACTs
31. Rain Chain
Add this simple counting activity to a rainy-day lesson plan. Print or cut out some cloud shapes and number them. Let kids make paperclip links using as much paperclips as the cloud indicates to make it look like rain.
Learn more: Turner Tots
32. Card and Button Counting
A deck of cards is a must-have if you are doing counting activities. Let kids lay out the cards from 1 to 10 and count out some buttons to place on top of each card. It seems simple enough but from there you can ask all kinds of math-related questions as kids can see the value of the numbers in front of them.
Learn more: Busy Toddler
33. Sensory Bin Counting
A sensory bin can be adapted to just about any theme or subject imaginable. This is a fun fall-themed bin using pumpkin seeds and little pumpkins made out of egg cartons. Number the inside of each pumpkin and let kids count out how many seeds they have to put inside each of them.
Learn more: Taming Little Monsters
34. Counting Fries
This game is a fun excuse to eat some junk food (just to save the containers!). Cut some "fries" out of a sponge and number the fry boxes with different numbers. Kids can use tongs to place the sponge fries in the box and see who can yell "order up" the fastest.
Learn more: Craft Gossip
35. Pizza Building
Aren't food-themed games just the best? This adorable pizza-building printable comes with some recipes and lots of ingredients. Cut them all out and get counting and building! Just have the pizza guy on speed dial because this game is sure to work up an appetite.
Learn more: Primary Flourish
36. Tooth Counting
Combine a lesson on dental hygiene with this out-of-the-box counting activity. Print out the template of a mouth with numbered teeth and take out some cotton balls to begin the game. Kids get to roll some dice to see how many teeth they need to add to the mouth. Use addition and subtraction dice to make it more complicated and let kids use tweezers to add the cotton balls.
Learn more: Snap Widget
37. Corn Kernel Counting
These adorable cutouts will take some time to make but you can use them over and over again. Let kids count out the corn kernels and add them to each ear. You can even make some popcorn as a surprise treat after the activity is done.
Learn more: ABCDee Learning
38. What's Missing?
Do this activity with rocks to add another level of tactile learning to the game. Print out some trips with a number sequence on them but leave out a few of the numbers. Kids must recognize the sequence and add the missing number to the strip of paper by placing the numbered rock into the line.
Learn more: You Clever Monkey
39. Domino Counting
Dram some circles on the floor (just make sure it is erasable markers!) and number each of them. Let the kids count the total number of dots on a domino and place the domino in the correct circle.
Learn more: Beyond Traditional Math
40. Pop the Number
These fidget poppers have tons of uses when it comes to learning math. One of the easiest ways is to take a die and let kids pop as many circles as the dice indicates until they have popped the whole thing.
Learn more: Teaching Mama
41. Playdough Mats
Use these cute dough mats to let kids count playdough balls. They can make the number out of clay, add some raindrops in the clouds and make the correct number of shapes to place in the empty squares.
Learn more: Kindergarten Worksheets and Games
42. Mitton Button Counting
This is another fun way to use your giant bowl of buttons that you inexplicably have. Lay out some mitten printables and let kids count the number of buttons they need to place on each one.
Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool
43. Playdough Counting Garden
Playdough play time is every kid's favorite time of day, so why not make it a time for learning? Use number stamps to print a number in the middle of a clay flower and let kids add that same number of petals to the flower.
Learn more: Fantastic Fun and Learning
44. I Spy Counting Tray
Transform I-Spy into a fun counting game with number trays. Kids give clues as to what they spy on a tray like "I spy something blue". Once the item has been guessed, kids can count the attributes of the given object like the four corners of a square or the five arms of a starfish.
Learn more: Play, Teach, Repeat