An index of preschool number activities

Last fall I wrote about my ambitious plans to have regular “school time” lessons with the Sweet Bee. Our day-to-day lessons haven’t always gone as planned, and they haven’t been every day. Out of necessity, I don’t spend a lot of time preparing for our lessons. But I have realized that the Sweet Bee really loves our school time. With the Ant Bug at school and Baby Boy Z napping, this is her chance for some one-on-one time with mom. Some days we just snuggle up together and read books, or we play a game of Memory or Zingo, or just find a coloring page online to print off and work on. What is important is that we have a few minutes of positive interaction.

That being said, I regularly try to include a good number of counting activities in our school time. I haven’t been able to post all of my lesson plans here as I had hoped to do, but today I am sharing some of our best number activities and games.

Foam Numbers

We use these foam numbers all the time because they give her a chance to “touch and feel” the numbers. I use them to introduce the number of the week, and then we quite often play a simple matching game. Easy to set up, I just wrote the numbers 1-10 on two sheets of paper, then stick them in a sheet protector for durability.

I also use the foam letters and numbers to play a game we call Whack It. The items (in this case letters and numbers) are scattered on the floor, and the child is given some kind of whacking tool (we use a feather duster). I call out one of the names, like “A” or “1″, and the child gets to “whack” the correct item. You can reverse positions and have the child call out the items while the teacher uses the whacker (sometimes I whack the wrong item just to get a reaction). I use this game all the time with my piano students and flashcards, and it could be used in a lot of ways. The kids always enjoy having a legitimate excuse to hit something.


Clothespins are a wonderful tool for a homeschool library. Opening and closing them is great fine motor practice. A large bag was very inexpensive, and the possibilities with them are pretty endless. I numbered 1-10 on a set as shown above, and we use them for the Clothes Pin Number Match from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

One wintery day we matched the clothespins to these snowman counting cards.These number cards from The Activity Mom were easy to create. I used index cards and foam shape stickers, writing three numbers on the side. The Sweet Bee counts the stickers then places the clothespin on the appropriate number for the card.

The Activity Mom has some great ideas for using clothespins. We played this dice rolling game using a cooling rack, and we’ll be trying this activity soon.

Bottle Cap Numbers

Bottle caps are another great tool.  I first got the idea of using them as a manipulative from The Activity Mom.  You can use them in a similar way as the counting and clipping clothespins. Tot School has number templates you can print and then mod podge to you caps to make them a little nicer, but I haven’t ever gotten around to doing that. She also has a number of worksheets available for animal counting.

This is a one page sticker counting sheet. Count the stickers, then cover with the appropriate cap.

As you can tell by all of the links, much of my inspiration comes from The Activity Mom. I also get a lot of ideas from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Her PreK review post has a lot of great ideas and resources for everyday: Clothespin numbers, number sticker sheets, number word cards, number magnet pages, etc. She also has a lot of worksheets and activities posted with each letter theme, many of them that develop pre-math skills, like all of these frog activities we used one week.
We’ve also been discovering a number of great counting books, but I’ll leave that for another post!

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