Counting

Count Aloud Games (ages 3-6)

Materials:  None

1. Stop! Go! - You start by counting aloud as your child commands you to "STOP" or "GO." When your child says "STOP" you immediately stop counting until your child says "GO." Pick up counting where you left off and continue going until 100 or higher. Switch and let your child count while you say the commands. Don't worry if the game gets off track or changes. Your child might want to count along at the same time, which is also fine. 
2. Repeat After Me - Say a string of numbers for your child to repeat after you.  Try this with regular counting (by ones) or skip counting (start with counting by tens, then fives, then twos). Let your child create a string of numbers for you to repeat. It is less likely that your child will have a predictable pattern, they might not even stick to numbers, but it will still be fun for them to be the leader. 
3. Bedtime Counting - After reading bedtime stories, help your child wind down by counting to 100 together. Once children are very comfortable doing this by themselves, it is a good challenge to count backwards together from 100 down to 1.

Number Plates

Materials:  paper plates or baking tray, marker or crayon, post-it notes (optional)

1. Write a number on each paper plate (or use a baking sheet with a post-it note).
2. Have child try to find the same number of objects as written on each plate.
3. Let child practice counting to check. 
4. Ask child to point to each object while counting.

Make it more challenging:

  • Tell child that only objects that are the same can go on a plate.
  • Tell child that only objects that are the same color can go on a plate.
  • Make the numbers larger (go up to 100 if your child is having fun with it).

Challenge Skip Counting (ages 7+)

Materials:  Timer (Optional)

1. Can You Count By __s? - Challenge your child to count by 2s up to 100. Then move on to 3s and so on. You can help get your child started by alternating back and forth to generate the numbers together. Once your child has the hang of it, challenge your child to time herself and see how fast she can do it.
2. Backward Skip Counting - Try the same activities above, but going backwards. Pick a number that is a multiple and then skip count backwards. You can also do this with any number even if it isn't a multiple, but multiples will help with memorizing math facts at the same time.

I Have, You Have

Materials:  10-20 counters or other small objects of the same type

1. Gather some objects in front of you and count them out by pointing to each object.
2. Say, "I have __ objects. Can you show me the same number of objects?"
3. Let your child count out the objects. If your child has trouble, encourage child to line up her objects next to your objects.
4. Complete the turn by saying something like, "I have 5 ducks and you have 5 ducks, too!"  

Make it more challenging:

  • Ask child to show fewer or more objects than what you have in front of you.
  • Increase the number of counters in front of you, try numbers up to 20.
  • Vary the distance between objects to show that more space does not mean more objects.