Numbers and Counting



  • Count as many things as you can: the number of buttons as you fasten them, the number of fingers as you put on gloves, the number of socks as you put them in the washing machine or the number of place settings at a table.


  • Sing number nursery songs and rhymes as you are sitting in a traffic jam, walking to the shops etc. Many number songs such as Five Little Ducks or Ten Green Bottles, start with a number and count backwards. Some rhymes count in a forward sequence; a favourite example is '1,2,3,4,5 Once I caught a fish alive.'


  • Use bedtime picture story books as a source of counting practice. Ask your child to help you to count, for example, the number of teddies in a picture. When objects are in a line, encourage the habit of counting from left to right.


  • Count actions as you clap, stamp, wiggle fingers or climb stairs. This is very helpful in teaching children to say one count for each action.


  • When you count things, help your child to see that the last counting word you say tells you how many things there were. Do this by emphasising the last number you say: "one, two, three, four. There are four teddies.


  • Use everyday activities to practise counting, e.g. Shopping “Can you put 4 apples in the basket?” Cooking “How many fish fingers will we need for everyone?” Tidying up, “Can you put 10 bricks in the box?” Going out and about “How many steps to the next lamp post?”


  • Help your child to learn to recognise all the numerals from 0 to 9. Point out numbers you see in everyday activities, such as numbers on packets or prices, car number plates, house or bus numbers.


  • Encourage your child to make collections of objects to count, e.g. conkers, buttons, sticks, stones, keys, Lego people, dinosaurs.


  • Make some playdough and use to make buns, biscuits, shapes to count.


(Playdough recipe sheet available – really easy to make)