During their early years, your children should be taught to:

  • Count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20 and place them in order.
  • Say which number in one more or one less than a given number.
  • Use quantities and objects, add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer.
  • Solve problems including doubling, halving and sharing.


Early Years Counting Activities 

Listed below are some ideas and games for children in the early years, to help them to improve their counting, ordering and sequencing skills.

Letter Box Game

Make a post box out of an old cardboard box, and address some cards or envelopes to real or imaginary friends. Play at posting the letters in the box.

Empty the box then sort and count letter.

  • How many letters for each person?
  • Who has the most letters?

Supermarket Sweep

So much of a young children’s understanding of math’s and numbers in particular can come from everyday experiences for example a trip to the super market.

Before leaving home write a shopping list with your children. Decide how much of everything you need to buy such as five bananas, two tins of beans. Emphasise the quantities to your children as you write them down, and record either with a number or picture.

Given your children a chance to write a list as well, using their own symbols and pictures. Make sure they understand that the marks they make stand for real items.

At the supermarket check the list with your children and count the right number of things into the trolley.

Look out for numbers as your shop, aisle numbers, and price labels, numbers that refer to the contents of packets. When you get home you can check the contents of your bags against the shopping list to make sure that you have not forgotten anything and the count the items as you put them away.


Online Games

There is other fun and easy ways in which you can help your children learn about counting, ordering and sequencing in their early years. Here two online games, which have the aim of developing the counting, ordering and sequencing in children in their early years.

The Ginger Bread Man

early yearsThe Gingerbread Man Game includes counting, matching and ordering numbers games aimed at children who are in early years learning to count and recognise the numbers and number words up to 10. Designed to offer differing levels of difficulty these four fun games, all with a Gingerbread Men theme, give children opportunities to:

  1. Count the buttons on a gingerbread man.
  2. Put a specified number of buttons on a gingerbread man.
  3. Count buttons on gingerbread men up to 10 and match each gingerbread man to a number.
  4. Order gingerbread men from either smallest to largest or largest to smallest depending on their number of buttons.

All these counting and ordering numbers games are suitable for use on computers or tablets, in the classroom or home. Questions are randomly generated so that children can play the games repeatedly.

Teddy Numbers

early years Teddy Numbers is an interactive counting game for children in their early years. They can have fun learning to count up to 15 objects, through a simple drag and drop exercise.

As well as reinforcing the concept of counting, Teddy Numbers helps children to recognise the digits from 1 to 15 and the also the words representing those numbers. Suitable for children from 2 to 5 years of age, this math’s game has different levels that can be matched to the appropriate numerical ability level.