Counting is an essential foundational skill for learning more advanced math concepts. Counting out loud with kids in everyday life can be a fun way to build math fluency and confidence. At Todo Math, we love counting with our kids! Here are ten counting games kids and parents can enjoy together.
1. Count at the table
There are so many opportunities for counting while setting the table or during a meal. “We need two forks for each person today. How many forks in total do we need?”
When everyone is seated, families can count together. Questions like “How many people are seated at the table?” or “How many eyes and fingers are at the table?” are great ways to start. For an added bonus, try an estimation game of guessing how many leaves of lettuce are in the salad. Be careful, this activity is not intended to start a food fight!
2. Count while brushing teeth
While brushing teeth, kids can count each brush stroke, count to a time limit, or count down from a chosen number. Now, getting ready for bed can also serve the purpose of getting ready for math!
3. Count stairs
Whether at home, in a hotel, or at a sporting event with bleachers, use the stairs to practice counting at loud. Count the stairs going up. Count the stairs going down. Or, skip a step and count by twos. Each step represents one more way to connect real-world objects with numbers.
4. Sing a song with numbers
Do you have a favorite childhood song or nursery rhyme? Try substituting numbers into the lyrics of a favorite song. For example, skip count by 4 to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat by singing 4-8-12-16!
5. Ask what comes next
At any time of the day, it’s easy to start a discussion about what comes next. Have a grown-up say a string of numbers, like 0-1-2-3, and then ask what comes next. Or try the reverse and count down from 10, asking what comes next after 10-9-8-7-6. You can even mix it up by skip counting. For example, what comes next after 2-4-6-8?
6. Be a kitchen helper
Putting groceries away has many tools families need for counting out loud. After coming home from the store, put the bags on the floor and let kids find items in groups of numbers. “Can you hand me three apples? We need to cut these apples into fours pieces each. Can you guess how many pieces in total we will have?”
7. Count cars
While driving, have a conversation about the cars on the road. “How many red cars do you see? Let’s count each one!” Mix it up with trucks, convertibles, or motorcycles to keep the subject flowing. Then, start with 10 and try counting down. For more car counting activities, check out the Tally O’Malley storybook by Stuart J. Murphy, where children tally the cars as they go.
8. Find the numbers on a store receipt
Pull out a store receipt and let the kids have a look. Ask them how much money was spent, how much change was received, and if they can find the most expensive purchase. If the conversation grows into how to save money, it’s a win for the whole family!
9. Count sit-ups
Get fit and count at the same time. Count how many sit-ups everyone in the family can do. Who can do the most? By how many? Challenge a family member to set a new family record in sit-ups.
10. Head outside and count what you see
Get outdoors and take a look around. Whether it’s clouded, butterflies, flowers or airplanes, try counting all of the different variations. How many can you count? Maybe there is something to count (like rocks) that can be collected and painted later for more family fun.
Back to school with Todo Math
Our goal at Todo Math is to create tools that meet every child’s learning needs. As parents ourselves, we believe there is a light in every child, and aim to do our best in the quest to help all children learn.