The first step in a counting lesson plan for preschoolers is making sure that all students are familiar with the concept of one-to-one correspondence. In other words, they must understand that each number counted corresponds to one object. You can make sure this is the case by putting several paper circles on the board and counting them slowly, writing a number in each circle before moving on. Do this once, and then have students count along with you as you do it. You can even have some students (who seem to understand this concept well) come up to the board and count just like you did, while tracing over the numbers that you already made.
If you’d like, you can repeat this process with counting students. Just have several students come to the front of the room, and count them, giving each of them a card that has the appropriate number on it. Kids will hear you counting and see the number on the card, and they will thereby understand that the two processes are connected.
Next, make the instruction fun so that the whole class is engaged in learning. Line up all of the students at one end of a hallway or playground and take large steps while counting. The whole class should be counting together as they walk - either from one to ten, or up to even higher numbers if you think that students are capable enough. You can repeat this activity with other actions, such as jumping, skipping, or doing summersaults. If one child or several children seem to be having problems keeping up, you can have a small group stand on the side counting the number of actions that the rest of the students are doing, “to make sure that everyone does the same number of actions.” This will take the pressure off the student while still engaging him in the learning activity.
At this point, students should be ready to practice counting in small groups. Give groups of students handouts that contain ten large circles, each with a number from one to ten written on the inside. Students can then work together to count out the correct number of small pompoms, beads, or sequins into each circle. Again, if you’d like, you can use much larger circles and much larger numbers as well. You can also make counting crafts for them to use in small groups. You can begin to teach more advanced preschool students basic math concepts at this point.
As a final counting activity, you can make miniature cookies for students. Each student should be able to make several balls of cookie dough that they can decorate with one to ten chocolate chips. When the cookies come out of the oven and cool, they will enjoy using their edible manipulatives to count how many chocolate chips are in each one. If you’d like, you can even write the answer on a piece of paper, fold it up, wrap it in tin foil, and hide it inside of the cookie. Kids will enjoy this wrap up activity, the perfect ending for a counting lesson plan for preschoolers!
This post is part of the series: Math and Numbers for Preschool
Can preschoolers learn math concepts? They sure can. This series of articles will show you how.