Counting games for toddlers

Games to teach your child how to count in order

Learning number order is a vital skill for preschoolers. Many children can recite the numbers by rote. However, if you ask your child to start at a number other than one. You can help your child learn to start counting anywhere when he understands number order. These games are designed to help you child learn number order from one to twenty. As your child matures, you can add more numbers in groups of ten until your child is familiar with the numbers from one to one hundred.

Clipping Sticks Travel Game

This is a fun game to keep in a small bag for road trips or waiting rooms. This little game can keep your child busy for quite a while. For this travel game, you will need a need ten wooden craft sticks, ten clip-on clothespins, colored permanent markers, and a small zipper bag such as a small makeup bag.

Begin by writing the series of numbers from 1 to 10 on the craft sticks, but leave one number out. For example, you might write: 1, 2, ,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Then write the numeral 3 on the clip end of the clothespin. Make sure that you leave enough room for your child to clip the correct number onto the craft stick. Continue to write on the craft sticks and clothespins until you have a blank spot in each of the series. Place the crafts sticks and clips in the zipper bag.

To play a game, pick a craft stick and hunt for the clothespin that fills in the blank spot on the craft stick. Younger children may need the help of colors to make the correct matches in the beginning. But as your child matures, you can trace over the numbers with black permanent marker.

As your child learns more numbers, you can start your series on a numeral other than one. For example, you might have the series: 13, 14, 15, , 17, 18, 19, 20. In that case, your child would look for the clothespin that has the number 16.

Go Fish, Number Order Edition

This is a fun card game to help your child explore number order. For this game, all you need is a deck of cards. Remove the face cards, leaving the numbers 1 through 10.

Shuffle the cards and deal out five to each player. Spread out the rest of the cards in the center of the table to become the fish pond. When playing with younger children, go ahead and ask him to lay his cards on the table. See if he can make a set of four cards in number sequence such as 4, 5, 6, and 7. If he can, he gets to put them together and lay them aside. If he can’t, ask him to figure out what he needs to make a set. Lay your cards on the table and ask if he sees a card in your hand that will work. If he can’t find a card, tell him “go fish.” He then chooses a card from the fish pond. Look at the card and see if it will make a set with what he already has. If the card creates a match, he gets another turn. If it does not, his turn is over and it is your turn.

Continue to take turns until either player uses all his or her cards or the fish pond is empty. In the beginning, don’t worry about whether the cards are black or red. But you can make the game harder by grouping the cards by color or even by suit. As your child becomes better at the game, you can let him hold his cards and keep them secret.

Counting Cups

You can help your child learn to count all the way to a hundred with small plastic or paper cups. Just write the numbers from one to ten on the bottom. Stack the cups and hand them to your child. Ask your child to flip the cups over and place the cups in order. Play with the cups from time to time, whenever you might feel bored.

When the number one through ten becomes too easy, add the numbers eleven through twenty. Continue to add cups in groups of ten. When you add thirty-one through forty, remove one through ten, so that your child can concentrate on a group of only thirty cups. By the time you reach a hundred cups, you can start adding groups of ten back into the mix.

Help your child arrange the cups so that they are in lines of ten. Show your child how the numbers line up. All of the numerals in the ones place are the same, while the numerals in the tens place go up.

Number Order Puzzle

This is a simple puzzle you can make almost anywhere or any time. Simply write a number series on a sheet of paper, leaving room between the numerals. To begin with, start with the number one and continue until ten or twenty.

Cut between the numbers. Use different cutting techniques to give each number a different shape. You can cut in waves, zig zags, or curves. Place all the pieces in a plastic sandwich bag.

Give your child a bag when he is looking for something to do. Let him put the puzzle together, learning how to order numbers correctly in the process.

As your child becomes more aware of larger numbers, you can add groups of ten. So, you might have a puzzle that goes from fifty to seventy. You can also start your number order in different places. You might make a puzzle that goes from twelve to thirty-six. Playing with your child and number order, can help him be ready for Kindergarten and beyond.

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