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10 Fun And Educational Counting Activities Kids Can Do At Home

by | Feb 12, 2021 | Core Skills

Watching your child enter the wonderful world of counting activities can be equal parts amazing and overwhelming. Math is a whole language in and of itself. Learning how to read and “speak” math will take time!

But have no fear — Begin is here with 10 fun, educational, and exciting counting activities to make your child’s math learning feel less like a roller coaster and more like a walk through the park.

10 Counting Activities To Try At Home

 Brother and sister laying on the floor playing counting activities

1) Count The Pattern

What You’ll Need

  • A piece of paper
  • A pen for tracking tallies

What To Do

This counting activity can be done inside your house on a rainy day or during a walk around the neighborhood. All you’ll need is your paper, pen, and sharp eyes.

For our example, we’ll go on a nature walk. You will start by saying, “I spy with my little eye something [color] … how many can you find?” To start, we’ll use the example of yellow objects.

Hearing your hint, your child will rush around to count how many yellow flowers, coats, signs, cars, or other objects they can find.

For young kids, their goal can be to find as many yellow items up to 10 as fast as they can. If your child is a little older, their goal can be 20.

You can also switch it up by exchanging the color for other objects. For example, they can try and count the number of dogs, fire hydrants, sidewalk cracks, or birds flying by.

2) Counting Cityscape

What You’ll Need

  • Legos or building blocks
  • A pair of dice
  • Sticky notes
  • Pen or marker

What To Do

For this activity, your child will start by rolling the dice.

They’ll count the dots of whatever number they roll and then stack the matching amount of building blocks into a tall tower. Then, they’ll write out the number of blocks on a sticky note and stick it to the top of their tower like a flag.

This will showcase a couple of different things to your child: one-to-one correspondence and subitizing.

Subitizing refers to a child’s ability to see a small collection of objects and innately understand how many there are without meticulously counting. Subitizing works when reading dice as well.

Encourage your child to repeat this process a few times so they begin to build their own cityscape. If all of their numbers are correct, their reward will be to play King Kong and smash it all down!

Children painting on an easel.

3) Ice Cream Cone Counting

What You’ll Need

  • 5 triangle-shaped paper cut-outs (for the cones)
  • 15 different-colored circles (for the ice cream)
  • Glue or tape (if you want to preserve their work!)
  • A sheet of paper with numbers 1 – 5 written across the bottom
  • Leave lots of space in-between!

What To Do

The next best thing to real ice cream cones? Making your own crazy flavors out of paper!

Your child will use the number line on the paper to guide their ice cream assembly. So, for the 1 space, your child will place one ice cream cone and the number of scoops matching the spot on the number line.

They’ll continue up the number line, making ice creams with 2, 3, 4, and eventually 5 scoops. That’s one big ice cream cone! For older kids, you can bump this activity up to 10.

You can take this activity further by turning your ice cream making into a business! Your child can play shopkeeper and you can puppeteer different stuffed animals to come in and order.

Your child will make ice cream cones based on their fuzzy customers’ requests!

4) Penny Toss

What You’ll Need

  • 10 pennies
  • A plastic cup or jar (for shaking)
  • A piece of paper
  • A pen

What To Do

Place the pennies in your shaker jar. Tell your child to shake them all around before turning them upside down and throwing the pennies down onto the floor.

You will be playing against one another: one person for heads and one person for tails.

Then, they’ll take a tally of how many pennies land on heads vs. tails. They’ll count their tallies and circle which one got more in each round. The first person to have “their side” of the penny reach 20 wins!

5) Fill The Cup

two bowls of popcorn for counting activities

What You’ll Need

  • Popcorn or other light but bulky snack
  • 2 plastic cups
  • A pair of dice

What To Do

You and your child will each have your own plastic cup and a die.

You’ll start by rolling your die one person at a time. Whatever number you get, you’ll count that many pieces of popcorn into your cup. The idea is to see whose cup fills up first!

The players all get rewarded by eating their whole cup of popcorn at the end. What’s better than snacktime and math time?

6) Number Maze

What You’ll Need

  • Chalk
  • Sunshine (this activity is done outdoors)
  • A stack of cards (face cards removed)

What To Do

You’ll use your chalk to draw out a grid. You can draw the grid in any form you like, but there should be at least 10 blocks. For more advanced counters, you can expand to 20 blocks.

When filling up the grid, you’ll want to mix and match the placement of the numbers. You don’t want to write them in an obvious sequence, as that will defeat the purpose of the game.

You will be the road map for how your child will get out of the maze. Your child must “escape” the maze by hopping between the numbers you call out.

You’ll call out numbers based on whatever card you draw from the pile. There’s no need to do all 40 cards! Start with 10 cards (all 10 numbers) and if your child really enjoys the game, then try 20.

7) Swat That Number

  • What You’ll Need
  • A fly swatter
  • Sticky notes
  • A marker

What To Do

Write numbers 1 – 10 (or more if your child is learning larger numbers) onto separate sticky notes. Stick them to a wall with a wide space in front of it so there’s room for your child to play.

Call out a number or roll a die. Whatever number is chosen, your child must swat the corresponding sticky note with the fly swatter as hard as they can.

This counting activity will get them moving, thinking, and having a blast!

8) Planting With Numbers

What You’ll Need

  • 10 small cups, numbered 1 – 10
    • Clear cups work best
  • Seeds for a quick-growing plant
    • Snap peas
    • Radish
    • Squash
  • Soil

What To Do

Fill each cup with an appropriate amount of soil. Then, based on the number on each of the cups, your child will plant the same amount of seeds into the labeled cups until all the cups are filled.

The best part? They’ll get to watch their seeds flourish over the next couple of weeks!

They can make their own determinations about which cups grew the best. Were the seeds in the 10 cup too crowded? Were they the perfect amount? You’ll have to wait and see together!

9) Counting With PlayDoh

Young kid using play dough for counting activities

What You’ll Need

  • PlayDoh
  • Cutouts of numbers 1 – 10 (or plastic fridge magnets)
  • Toothpicks (for kids four and up)

What To Do

For this activity, your child will be making some “spiky” PlayDoh hamburgers. They’ll form the PlayDoh into 10 separate patties. The color, shape, and size are up to them!

With the finished patties, they’ll press a number 1 – 10 into each patty. Then, depending on the patty’s number, they’ll add that many spikes (toothpicks) to it, continuing until all of the patties have the correct amount of toothpicks.

Bon appetit!

This activity helps your child see the relationship between the face value of a number and how many objects it represents.

Quick tip: You may want to avoid using toothpicks if your child is younger than four years old. You can use buttons or other small objects instead.

10) Number Olympics

What You’ll Need

  • A pair of dice or number spinner

What To Do

This game is a great way to have your child learn and burn some energy at the same time (we know you’ll thank us later!).

You will use the number spinner or dice to roll a random number. That number will dictate how many of a certain athletic move your child will complete.

You can use any move that gets your child excited to play — jumping jacks, squats, log rolls, spins, etc.

You can even take the game outside. For example, your child could do a certain number of jumps on the trampoline or have to score a basketball goal a certain number of times.

Get creative, get jumping, and get counting!

Counting Activities For Endless Fun

Elementary kids Counting With Teacher In Classroom

We hope these counting activities sparked your imagination for ways to make math exciting and fun for your child.

As your partner in learning, we at Begin know that there will be weeks when there’s just not enough time in the day to grow snap peas or build Lego cities. For those extra busy days in your routine, our personalized learning center is full of counting activities for your child.

Your young learner doesn’t always have to play a complex game to develop their math skills. Our HOMER App will make sure that they get there (and have a blast while doing it!).


Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos
Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos

Chief Learning Officer at Begin

Jody has a Ph.D. in Developmental Science and more than a decade of experience in the children’s media and early learning space.