Number Sense and Counting Activities

As an educator or parent, you might wonder how to cultivate numerical literacy better. The good news is number sense and counting activities are fun and effective strategies for doing just that!

In the world of numeracy, number sense is a cornerstone skill. It’s much more than just knowing how to count or recognizing numbers. Instead, it’s an intuitive understanding of numbers, their values, relationships, and how they can be manipulated.

The Importance of Number Sense and Counting Skills

A strong foundation in number sense equips children with the confidence and capability to understand, use, and enjoy math. It’s like a magic key that opens the door to a world of numerical understanding. Children with good number sense can understand numerical concepts more effectively, quickly solve mathematical problems, and apply logical thinking.

Meanwhile, counting is a stepping stone to building number sense. Kids start by learning to count from one to ten, progress to more significant numbers, and even start counting backward. They realize that numbers aren’t just concepts – they exist in the real world, from counting their fingers and toes to tallying the amount of candies in a jar.

Benefits of Engaging in Number Sense and Counting Activities

When you engage children in number sense and counting activities, you’re opening up a world of benefits.

Improved Problem Solving: These activities can help sharpen a child’s problem-solving skills. They learn to think logically and critically when faced with numerical challenges.

Maths Appreciation: Interactive games could spark a love for maths, tapping into fun. Making it enjoyable changes the perception that maths is ‘hard’ or ‘boring.’

Life Skill: Building counting skills is also building an essential life skill. From telling time to handling money and even baking cookies, counting is involved in various daily activities.

Consequently, incorporating number sense and counting activities into everyday routines and playtimes is beneficial. These could be as simple as counting steps on a staircase, identifying and counting everyday objects, or engaging in numerical puzzles and games.

Here’s the breakdown:

Improved Problem SolvingEngaging in number sense and counting activities can help improve a child’s problem-solving skills by promoting logical and critical thinking.
Maths AppreciationThese activities, especially when they take the form of games, can foster a love and appreciation for mathematics.
Life SkillCounting is an essential daily skill. It is used in everyday activities such as telling time, handling money, or baking cookies.

Aren’t you excited to incorporate these activities into your child’s daily routine and see the wonders they work? There’s no time like the present, so get started!

Counting Activities for Preschoolers

Leap into the world of numbers with your little one! Developing number sense and counting skills are fundamental for a preschooler’s math development. Introducing counting at a young age lays the foundation for future math skills. Don’t worry, though. It doesn’t need to be intimidating or a dull chore. Make number sense joyful with these fun, hands-on counting activities!

Counting with Objects and Manipulatives

Embrace the practice of counting with everyday objects and manipulatives. Let the journey begin in your home, the heart of numerous counting opportunities; helping lay the table can become a counting exercise. How many forks? How many plates? See the pattern here? Counting natural objects introduces your child to the concept that numbers represent quantities.

Extensive collections of manipulatives, like building blocks or colorful beads, make compelling tools for counting activities. Encourage your tot to group these objects based on their characteristics, such as color, shape, or size. Then, let them count the number in each pile. This fun exercise reinforces the understanding of quantity.

Counting Songs and Rhymes

Ooh la la! Get ready to sing, dance, and count! Counting songs and rhymes is a lively way to introduce counting to your child. They acquire some knowledge and enjoyable activities.

Numbers in motion songs like “Five Little Ducks” or “One Two Buckle My Shoe” brighten your child’s day and help familiarize them with numbers, timing, and sequence. Through these catchy beats, you are indirectly cradling efficient counting skills.

Turn the page and move to classic nursery rhymes such as “One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Once I Caught A Fish Alive.” These nursery rhymes combine storytelling with numbers, leading children to form rich mental images of quantities.

So there you have it: simple, playful, and effective methods to kindle your child’s counting journey. Remember that children learn at their own pace, so patience is critical. Keep counting activities light, fun, and frequent. Embark on this enriching expedition together and watch your preschooler’s counting confidence blossom!

Here’s a fun summary table of these activities:

Counting with Objects and ManipulativesCounting everyday objects and manipulatives assists in understanding that numbers represent quantities. Grouping and counting familiar items help reinforce quantity recognition.
Counting Songs and RhymesSinging counting songs and rhymes makes acquiring number knowledge fun. They aid in recognizing numbers, timing, and sequence, preparing a child for their mathematical journey.

Number Sense Activities for Kindergarteners

As a devoted caregiver, teacher, or parent, developing basic number skills in your young one is vital in fostering their interest in mathematics. Number sense, or the ability to understand and manipulate numbers, is fundamental in shaping a solid numerical foundation. To make the learning journey fun and engaging, here’s your guide to some excellent number sense and counting activities:

Number Recognition Games and Puzzles

When it comes to instilling numerical recognition, games, and puzzles make an excellent choice. They resonate well with children and make learning a joyful experience.

Hot Potato Number: For this “hot potato” inspired game, write numbers on cards and sit in a circle. Start the music and pass a card while it goes on. When it stops, the child holding the card recognizes and says the number out loud.

Puzzle Matching: For this activity, create number cards with a corresponding number of pictures on them. The child should match the card with the number to another card with the same number of pictures. This activity encourages the recognition of numbers and their quantities.

Number Ordering and Comparing Activities

Understanding the order of numbers and their comparison is essential to number sense education.

Number Line Race: Provide the child with a number line with missing numbers. The game aims to fill in the missing numbers correctly. This game boosts their understanding of number progression.

More significant, Lesser, or Equal: This activity involves showing two numbers to your child and asking them to determine if one number is more significant than, lesser than, or equal to the other. You can use flashcards or objects or draw them out to cater to their learning style.

Thus, Building up number sense can be easy. This early math foundation can be developed naturally, engaging, and fun with suitable number sense activities. These games are great starting points, but feel free to think through your child’s interests and develop additional games. The goal is to keep them engaged and stimulate their cognitive thinking, all while building their number sense.

Finally, always remember that patience is critical in this process. Celebrate small victories, and most importantly, have fun learning together!

Here is a table summarizing the activities and how they help build number sense:

ActivityHow they build Number Sense
Hot Potato Number & Puzzle MatchingHelps with number recognition and understanding the concept of numbers and their quantities.
Number Line Race & Greater, Lesser or EqualAids in understanding number progression and the concept of comparison among numbers.

Addition and Subtraction Activities for Elementary Students

Hands-on Addition and Subtraction Games

Are you an elementary school teacher or a parent looking for engaging and interactive ways to teach addition and subtraction to your students or children? Look no further! These hands-on games will make learning math fun and exciting.

  1. Number Line Jump: Draw a number line on the floor with chalk or tape. Write numbers randomly on the line. Have students jump from one number to another to solve addition and subtraction problems. For example, if they start at 5 and jump to 10, they can say 5 + 5 = 10 or 10 – 5 = 5.
  2. Math Card War: Use a deck of playing cards with the face cards removed. Split the deck evenly between two players. Each player flips over two cards and adds or subtracts the numbers. The player with the highest sum or difference wins the cards. The player with the most cards at the end is the winner.
  3. Math Fact Bingo: Create bingo cards with addition or subtraction problems on them. Call out math facts, and students mark the answers on their bingo cards. The first one to get a line or a full card yells, “Bingo!”

Mental Math Strategies and Tricks

Are you looking for ways to help your elementary students improve their mental math skills and become more confident in addition and subtraction? Try these strategies and tricks that make math more accessible and enjoyable.

  1. Number Bonds: Use number bonds to break numbers down into smaller parts. For example, for the number 8, students can think of 5 and 3 or 4 and 4. It helps them see the relationship between numbers and allows for more straightforward computation.
  2. Doubles and Near Doubles: Teach students about doubles (2 + 2 = 4) and near doubles (2 + 3 = 5) to help them quickly solve addition problems. Knowing these basic facts can improve mental math speed and accuracy.
  3. Counting On and Back: Encourage students to count on or back from a given number when adding or subtracting. For example, for the problem 6 + 3, they can start at 6 and count on three more (7, 8, 9). This strategy helps develop number sense and mental computation skills.

Incorporating these hands-on games and mental math strategies into your lessons or home activities can make addition and subtraction more enjoyable and accessible for your elementary students. ¡Start building their number sense and math skills today!

Multiplication and Division Activities for Upper Elementary Students

Multiplication Fact Practice Games and Apps

Suppose you’re an upper elementary student looking to sharpen your multiplication skills. Plenty of fun and engaging games and apps help you in that case!

One excellent option is the game “Multiplication Bingo.” Just like traditional Bingo, you’ll have a Bingo card with numbers on it. The twist is that the teacher or an app will call multiplication facts instead of calling out numbers. If you have the answer on your card, you can mark it off. The first person to get a Bingo wins! This game helps you practice multiplication facts and improves focus and number recognition skills.

Another popular game is “Multiplication War.” Grab a deck of cards and remove the face cards. Then, shuffle the remaining cards and split them evenly between you and a partner. Both players flip over a card and multiply the two numbers on each turn. The player with the highest product wins the cards. The game continues until one player runs out of cards. This game reinforces multiplication facts and encourages quick mental math and strategic thinking.

Division with Arrays and Grouping Strategies

Understanding the concepts of arrays and grouping can make the process much easier regarding division.

For example, take a multiplication fact like 4 x 3. Instead of thinking about it as multiplying, you can turn it into a division problem by asking yourself, “How many groups of 3 are in 4?” You can represent this visually by drawing four circles and dividing them into groups of three. This strategy helps you understand the relationship between multiplication and division.

Another helpful strategy is using arrays. For example, if you need to divide 24 by 4, you can draw four rows of circles with six circles in each row. This visual representation helps you see that dividing 24 by 4 gives you 6.

In addition to these strategies, online tools and interactive activities can help you practice and reinforce multiplication and division skills. These activities often provide immediate feedback and allow you to track your progress.

So, whether you’re playing multiplication fact practice games or using visual strategies for division, there are plenty of enjoyable activities to develop your number sense and counting skills. Just remember to practice regularly and have fun along the way!


In conclusion, developing number sense and counting skills is essential for mathematical understanding and problem-solving. Incorporating fun and engaging activities into your daily routine can help your child build a solid numerical foundation that will benefit them for years. Remember to provide plenty of opportunities for hands-on exploration, use real-life examples whenever possible, and encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills. With patience and consistency, you can nurture your child’s love for numbers and help them develop a lifelong passion for learning.

The Long-Term Benefits of Developing Number Sense and Counting Skills

There are numerous long-term benefits to developing number sense and counting skills. These skills provide a solid foundation for more advanced mathematical concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. By mastering basic counting and number recognition, children are better equipped to understand more complex mathematical operations as they progress in their education.

In addition, strong number sense and counting skills are essential for everyday life. These skills are used in various real-life situations, from managing finances to reading maps, understanding measurements, and calculating time. By nurturing these skills from an early age, you are setting your child up for success in their personal and professional lives.

Additional Resources for Further Exploration

If you are looking for additional resources and activities to help develop number sense and counting skills, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Online educational platforms like Khan Academy and ABCmouse offer interactive math lessons and games suitable for different age groups.
  2. Math manipulatives like counting cubes, number lines, and ten frames provide hands-on learning opportunities.
  3. Children’s books incorporating counting and numerical concepts can make learning fun and engaging. Some popular titles include “Ten Apples Up on Top” by Dr. Seuss and “Chicka Chicka 123” by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson.
  4. Educational apps like “Todo Maths” and “Hungry Fish” can be downloaded on tablets or smartphones to provide additional practice and reinforcement.

By utilizing these resources and implementing consistent practice, you can support your child’s development of number sense and counting skills. Remember to make learning enjoyable and celebrate their progress along the way.