Counting Activities: Fun Preschool Math Activities

Counting activities start your preschooler on the road to developing core math skills. Based on the Oklahoma State Objectives students in kindergarten are required to count to 20 and count objects to 10. Most preschool/kindergarten programs expect children to count to 100.

Teaching counting to your little one is easy. You probably already do it without knowing.

What Do I Need for Counting Activities?

Preschool Counting

You do not need anything fancy or expensive. Basically gather anything you can count.

1. Fingers

2. Toes

3. Pennies

4. Spoons

5. Dried Beans

6. Small Crackers

7. Toys

8. Crayons

9. Rocks

10. Paper Clips

Just grab 5-10 things around the house or outside...count anything you have handy.

Just in case you're needing some fun, colorful sorting counters...check these out...

What Do I Do?

1. Get 5-10 items. Depending on where your child is developmentally, will determine how many items you want to start with. If they are a beginning counter start with 2-3 objects, as they advance work up to 20 or more objects.

2. If your child is new to counting, or having a difficult time with counting, have your child stick out their pointer finger (second finger) and guide them hand-over-hand.

3. Point to or touch the objects while you count together. If your child misses a number, start over and say the numbers loud enough so they can hear you. It is important they learn to count correctly.

Pretty soon your kiddo will be able to count by themselves. Sometimes there will be a tricky number they might have a hard time with. For example, your child might always skip number 7, don't give up.  Just keep counting together. The repetition will help your child learn the sequence of numbers.

Reward you child with a job well done with a "good job counting", or "I love counting with you". 

Free Preschool Counting Games

Are you having fun counting? Play some counting games to keep things exciting and your child engaged. These games require things you already have around the house. If you don't have a particular item, you can always substitute for something you do have. So not only are these ideas free, but they are free to put together as well!

1. Penny Hunt

Grab a handful of pennies or other small objects. Hide them in the room. Give your child a 2 minutes to find them. Count and see how many pennies you found. This also targets time skills and money recognition and money vocabulary. 

2. Sock It

After you have washed a load of socks, lay them all out and count the socks. Then have your child help you find sock matches. Not only have you worked on math skills, but the socks are all put together. This also targets matching and sorting skills.

3. Shape Escape

Cut out 2 of each of the 5 shapes: circles, squares, triangles, diamonds/trapezoids, stars. Hide them in a room. Turn off the light and grab a flashlight. Pick up shapes as you find them. Count how many shapes you have. You can also sort the shapes and count how many of each shape you have. This also targets shape vocabulary and sorting skills. 


1. If your child is just beginning to learn shapes cut out 5 each of 2 different shapes. This way you can focus on teaching 2 different shape names.

2. If your child is becoming a pro with shapes and sorting. Cut out more shapes in different colors and sort by color and shape. For example, all the red circles together, all the blue circles together, or all the red shapes together.

Counting activities for preschoolers does not have to be a huge undertaking. Gather countable objects, put together and play some free games. Most importantly have fun together. It is easy to teach your child counting basics, begin teaching 1-10 and you will have reached a solid stepping stone to math success.

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