Here is a fun and simple counting activity for children. It’s very easy to set up at home or in the classroom, can be designed to suit individual needs and will help children build and consolidate their understanding of identifying numbers and how it’s represented using pompoms.
Numbers are everywhere and it isn’t until your 3.5 year old toddler points them all out that you realise (haha). Possum has started to recognise that there is a difference between letters and numbers and likes to enthusiastically count to the ‘big numbers’. You might remember my previous popular post, which is also a number matching activity.
This activity isn’t new, but obviously a really great one for developing your child’s familiarity with numbers and what they represent using physical objects. In this case I’ve kept it incredibly simple, which is often the best way to get your child to learn, right?
Recommended age: 3 years +
(Activity supervision is required on all my activity)
You will need for this simple counting activity for children-
- Cupcake liners
- Pompoms or similar
- Tongs or tweezers (optional)
Begin by writing a number in each of the cupcake liners. Of course this is a very flexible activity and can be made to suit your individual child and where their learning skills are at. If they are just starting out with learning numbers then you might only have two or three cupcake liners with 1 and 2 written inside. If your child needs to consolidate their understanding and accuracy of representing teen numbers then you can cater to their needs by writing larger numbers inside each of the cupcake liners.
The aim of this activity is for the child to read the number inside each of the cupcake liners and use the pompoms to accurately represent it. I chose to have Possum work with numbers up to 6. This was a great way to see what she knew and if I could challenge her further.
Seriously, this is such a great activity. It was so interesting to watch Possum count out the pompoms and add them to the cupcake liners. I could see if she was able to count correctly, use one to one correspondence and have any understanding of subitising, which is when you automatically recognise a number without having to count it. I found that she knew more than I realised.
Making mistakes is positive and we certainly learn from them. Children at the early stages of learning to count can make simple errors that completely change their result. If your child makes any errors in counting then you might like to ask them to check their work and see if they can find anything that isn’t correct. If they can identify errors then that’s wonderful and they should be commended. The next challenge is to see if they can fix them. 😉
This wonderful Maths activity can also double to help children develop their fine motor skills. Having said that, I chose to add tongs after Possum had done the counting activity a few times as I didn’t want her focus to be on perfecting her grip on the tongs and the counting become secondary. Of course if you’re child is struggling to use tongs you might like them to use tweezers instead or simply give them the challenge of only using their thumb and pointer finger when transferring the pompoms.
There are so many ways you can increase the difficulty with this activity. You can change the numbers written in each of the cupcake liners, as I’ve spoken about, but for some children, simply mixing up the order of the numbers can open up a great learning opportunity. The above image demonstrates how I set the activity up in such a way that a child can not rely on simply increasing one pompom each time. Instead they have to really know the number and what it means.
Some children might enjoy a ‘mystery’ type challenge. Which number is hiding in this order? Children then have to consider what information is available to them and consider what they don’t have. Possum really loved playing that game.
Can you think of any other ways of playing with this activity?
Some more great ideas –