Bounce a Ball
Once you’ve taught your students how to count, you can use counting games to help them practice the skill. Some kindergarten counting games can get messy, so suit up students in their smocks before they try out this game. Each group of students should get a large box, such as a diaper box, as well as a bowl of paint, a bouncing ball, and many sheets of plain white paper. The students then take turns dipping the ball in the paint and dropping it (not throwing it) onto a piece of white paper sitting on the bottom of the box. They should try to count how many times it bounces, and then compare the results to the actual number of circles painted on the white paper. Students may discover that a ball dropped from a greater height will bounce more times than a ball dropped from a lower height. Even if they don’t, this game still gives them plenty of practice with counting.
Counting Treasure Hunt
Does your classroom have tiles on the floor? If so, let your students hunt for treasure with this fun counting game. Hide several stickers or other prizes in six different locations around the classroom. Then write up instructions for each of six treasure hunts, using the tiles on the floor. For example, the instructions for one hunt might say “Start at corner of the classroom near the door. Walk forward seven tiles. Turn right and walk eight tiles. Then turn left and walk eleven tiles to find your treasure.” Divide students into six groups, and let each group have a turn following your treasure hunt directions by counting tiles. When they find the treasure, they each get to keep one sticker. They won’t even realize they are practicing their counting skills!
Take your students outside to a large area for this game. Drag a rope into a long line on the ground, and have all of your students start from behind that line. They should then take turns taking the biggest steps that they can, while counting to ten. Challenge students to see how far they can get with just ten steps. If you’d like, students can write their names on several craft sticks and use these to try to beat their best “score.” To do this, they should simply drop a craft stick at the spot that they land after ten steps, and then try to get farther on their next try.
Make Your Own Counting Book
Students can also work in small groups to make their own counting books. You can make this activity into a game by giving each group a pile of magazines and having them search through them as quickly as they can to find one of an object, two of an object, three of an object, etc. For example, a group might find four puppies in an ad for dog food, or eight berries in a cereal bowl in an ad for a specific cereal. Groups of students can then race to find a picture that matches each of the numbers one to ten as quickly as possible. When they finish, you can show them how to compile their finds into a counting book, with a different number and picture on each page.
In addition to these kindergarten counting games, other math crafts may be helpful as well.
This post is part of the series: Elementary Math Activities
This series of articles contains ideas for elementary math activities. The articles span kindergarten to 6th grade, and they’re a great way to bring to life for your students.