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• Lara

Fun, Low Prep, Number Activity for Kindergarten ... to get your students Counting!

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Sometimes you just need to press the easy button!

Many people think that counting is an easy skill for kids to learn and master because it seems like basic knowledge for most adults, but if you’ve worked with young kids you know that is not the case!

To really master the art of counting, students need to know the number sequence, develop their understanding of one-to-one correspondence, understand that numeric symbols have a value, and have a sense of cardinality, knowing that the last number said is the value of the collection they are counting.

When you think about it, there are a lot of things going on at once so no wonder they need practice!

Low Prep Number Counting Math Center

Let me put you onto a counting math center I created on a whim but turned out to be a huge success with my students! It’s called Spin, Count, and Cover, and this counting activity for kindergarten is played exactly like it sounds!

How To Play:
1. Use a spinner or paperclip and pencil to spin a number

2. Count to find the picture to match the number you've spun

3. Cover the picture you found with any math manipulative you have in your classroom

4. Continue until you have covered all the counting pictures!

I created 18 different math mats with numbers ranging from 1-10 with fun and colorful counting sets. This turned out to be a great game because the kids had to count A LOT to find the numbers they had spun and they had a lot of options on the type of math they used.

My students have worked in pairs a lot this year as I have been implementing Peter Liljedahl

Building Thinking Classrooms as a problem-solving framework. (You can take a look at the book here) It seems like more and more they ask if they can play whatever math game or station I have introduced with a partner. I have to say I am here for it! Especially for the added benefit of having a peer to check double check their counting with. I just had them each pick a color of the double-sided counter to keep track of who had spun each number.

If you’d like it try it in your room I have created a Valentine's Edition you can get for free! Or get the Winter Edition or the OG good for any time of year!

Because it was so successful I think I want to create an 11-20 version for students who are ready to count higher numbers and subitize. One caveat is that I had originally wanted to use this earlier in the year but I felt like my students' number identification wasn’t yet strong enough for this number activity to be fun and engaging vs frustrating and I am glad I waited! Even my student who had a good foundation of number knowledge coming in enjoyed this kindergarten counting activity.

Opportunities for All Learners

Since a lot of arrangements were irregular they had to slow down to complete this number and counting game. I also took the opportunity to talk about estimation and thinking critically about how they approached this counting math center activity. I talked with them about thinking about the number they spun and looking at each image and thinking what it was closer to to determine which images to count first. For example, if they spun a 4, they wouldn't need to count the images that had the most since 4 isn't close to 10.

I hope your students love this number and counting math center! Grab your Valentine’s sample pages and if you try it let me know how it goes!

Happy Counting!