Hands-On Counting Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Here we have 25 fun hands-on counting activities for toddlers and preschoolers! To learn all other math skills, kids must first learn to count. Counting is the foundation of all other math skills such as addition, subtraction, and using money. Some kids enjoy practicing their numbers, but others—not so much! How can you make it fun? Try one of these 25 hands-on counting activities for kids.

Hands on counting activities

These counting activities are perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and even kindergarteners who still need number reinforcement. Counting can be done in natural ways, such as counting the number of flowers you see, the number of steps you take, or the number of grapes you eat. These real-life examples can be reinforced through the activities you'll find below. 

Which of these number activities do you think your kids will like best?

counting activities

As well as browsing all these fabulous counting activities you might want to check out our counting printables available in the Messy Little Monster Shop.



Counting Activities

We have so many counting activities for you to try right here at Messy Little Monster! We've listed some of the year-round counting activities below, but if you've found this list of counting activity ideas during a holiday season, you don't want to miss the counting activities for Easter, Halloween, or Christmas.

counting activities for toddlers


Apple Theme Counting Game

Your kids are going to love our Apple Theme Counting Game. It's a fun math activity for preschoolers, and who doesn't enjoy eating chocolate when practicing their numbers? It's great for memory, counting, and number recognition. It's totally okay for Mom to sneak a piece of chocolate, too.

Apple counting activity for preschoolers


Apple Tree Fingerprint Counting Activity

This Apple Tree Fingerprint Counting Activity allows kids to use their fingerprints to make apples on trees while they're counting. It's a fun craft and counting activity in one!

Apple tree fingerprint counting activity for toddlers


Playdough Apple Tree Counting Activity

Yes, as you can see, we love apple activities! This Playdough Apple Counting Activity is a fun, hands-on way for kids to practice counting. They'll use dice to show the color and the number that should be added to the tree. You could also use this for big kids to help with addition or subtraction, as well as counting.

Apple tree playdough counting activity for preschoolers


Chocolate Counting Activity

Use our Chocolate Counting Activity to encourage toddlers and preschoolers to practice counting and number recognition. If you don't want your kids to get hyped up on sugar, you could substitute berries or goldfish crackers instead.

Chocolate counting activity for toddlers


Printable Number Playdough Mats

Does your child need lots of variety? Use our Printable Number Playdough Mats! You'll find many garden-themed playdough mats to practice counting. Included are a tree, a spiderweb, a bee, a bird's nest, a carrot garden, and more.

printable number playdough mats counting activity


Painted Rock Number Activities

You'll get so much use out of these Painted Number Rocks! Use them for simple counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc. We use them by gathering leaves, flowers, etc. according to the number on the rock.

painted rocks number activities for toddlers and preschoolers


Learn How to Count Ladybug Counting Activity

This free printable Ladybug Counting Activity involves a leaf and ladybird hunting activity that will get little ones excited about numbers and about getting outside. Order the numbered leaves and match them to the ladybird with the same number of spots.

Learn how to count ladybird counting activity for toddlers


Magnetic Fish Number Game

Use our Fishing Number Game along with the nursery rhyme 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 once I caught a fish alive. Kids will have so much fun catching their fish and identifying the numbers. They'll want to play it again and again.

Magnetic fish game number activity for preschoolers

Bird Counting Activity for Preschool

Toddlers will love making playdough eggs to count into birds' nests. You can grab our printable bird nests to make prepping this bird counting activity super easy. 

Bird counting activity for preschoolers

Playdough Flower Counting Activity

Use colorful playdough to make flowers with this fun playdough flower counting activity. Make flower stems and centres and then count out the correct number of petals for each flower. This is a great activity for toddlers and preschoolers as it works on fine motor skills as well as counting skills. 

Playdough flowers counting activity for preschoolerss

Monster Playdough Counting Activity

This monster playdough counting activity is a lot of fun too! Help your toddler or preschooler to create monsters from playdough and other small pieces such as matchsticks and googly eyes. Have fun counting the number of eyes or arms each monster has. 

Monster playdough counting activity for toddlers

Frog Counting Activity

Grab our printable frog counting activity and have fun counting frogs on and off the log or lily pad. This would be a fun counting game to play after singing the nursery rhyme 5 speckled frogs sat on a speckled log!  

Frog counting activity for toddlers or preschoolers


Hands-On Counting Activities

Of course, repetition is necessary for learning foundational math skills like counting, so here are plenty more fun counting activities to engage your kids with numbers.

counting activities for preschoolers


Roll and Count Shell Game

Gather your seashells from your latest beach trip to make a go of this Roll and Count Shell Game from The Art Kit. It's a terrific activity to do as part of an ocean theme or to practice counting in the summer.

Shell roll and count game


Cheerio Bubbles Counting Activity

This Cheerio Bubbles Counting Activity by Happily Ever Mom is such a fun way to use numbered fish. It's a great activity to pair with our magnetic fishing game above. Instead of counting fish this time, you'll add cheerio bubbles next to each fish according to their numbers.

Cheerio counting activity for toddlers

Clothespin Counting Activity

Make a simple math tray for your little one! This Clothespin Counting Activity for Preschoolers by School Time Snippets is incredibly simple and gives kids a chance to focus on fine motor skills as well. Each craft stick has a dot, and kids clip a clothespin on each dot.

Clothespin counting activity for preschoolers


Hammering Numbers Learning Activity

Kids who enjoy tinkering will love this Hammering Numbers Learning Activity from Happily Ever Mom. Find a wooden toy hammer or mallet, some golf tees, and start hammering the tees into the numbers on the cardboard. Simple and fun!

hammering numbers counting activity for preschoolers


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Counting Activities

Read the story and share these If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Counting Activities by Still Playing School with your preschooler! The activity is pretty straightforward—each paper cookie has a specific number of dots (chocolate chips) to count. You may even want to try this with real chocolate chips.

If you give a mouse a cookie counting activity


Felt Counting Tree

The wonderful thing about this Felt Counting Tree from Barley and Birch is that kids can enjoy it again and again. Practice both colors and counting with the beautiful felt leaves.

felt counting tree counting activity


Turkey Counting Activity

You don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to do this Turkey Counting Activity by From Engineer to SAHM. Perhaps you can think of them as peacocks instead outside of the month of November. Either way, kids will have a blast counting and adding feathers to the birds!

turkey counting activity


Ocean Themed Lego Worksheets

Bring out the LEGOs for these fun and engaging Ocean Themed Lego Worksheets from JDaniel4's Mom. If you don't have LEGOs, any sort of counters will do, such as buttons, beads, stickers, coins, or anything else you have handy. The packet includes 10 pages, and you may want to put them in a sheet cover to keep them clean and tidy to reuse over and over.

ocean themed lego counting worksheets


Math Number Game

Use small wooden blocks to make this Math Number Game from Teaching Ideas to help your kids learn how to count to 50. Kids can start at the beginning and work on their numbers in sequential order, or pop numbers into place as they find them. Either way is fun.

math number game


Jellybean Counting Activity

Jellybeans are available year-round, not just on Easter, so grab some the next time you're shopping to try this Jellybean Counting Activity by Blessed Beyond a Doubt.

Jelly bean counting activity for preschoolers


One to One Correspondence Counting Activity

Use this One to One Correspondence Activity from Stay at Home Educator to teach kids foundational math skills. It's an important concept to learn in counting. Kids will place "o" shaped cereal pieces on "o" shaped stickers, such as page hole reinforcement stickers.

one to one correspondence counting activity


Ping Pong Count and Push Number Activity

Get toddlers excited about counting with this Ping Pong Count and Push Activity by Fantastic Fun and Learning. It's a hands-on way to introduce numbers 1 through 5. It also touches on number matching and number recognition as well as counting.

Ping pong count and push number activity for toddlers


Marshmallow Counting Activity

Use mini marshmallows as counters! This Marshmallow Snowball Winter Counting Activity by Stay at Home Educator is perfect for those cold months when you're doing snow-themed activities. You could even whip up some homemade hot chocolate to add the marshmallows to after you're done.

Marshmallow counting activity for toddlers and preschoolers


Cotton Snowball Counting Activity

Speaking of winter activities, this Cotton Snowball Counting Activity from Live Over C's is another seasonally appropriate one. It's pretty simple—match the number of cotton balls to the number!

Cotton snowball counting activity for toddlers


Leaf Fine Motor Counting Activity

Get outdoors to gather some leaves for Kids' Craft Room's Fine Motor Counting Activity using leaves and clothespins. This is easiest to do in the fall when leaves are on the ground, but if you have trees in your yard, feel free to pick about 10 of them off the tree to use for this activity. Mark each leaf with a number, and clip the number of clothespins to it. It's extra fun if you can find lots of different types of leaves to talk about.

Leaf fine motor counting activity for preschoolers


Counting Beads on Pipe Cleaners

Combine fine motor development and numbers by Counting Beads on Pipe Cleaners. This activity from Laughing Kids Learn teaches kids to thread beads onto pipe cleaners (which helps hand and eye coordination) as they count the beads.

Counting beads on pipe cleaners


Corn Counting Activity

I Heart Craft Things' Corn Counting Activity is a fantastic math activity for fall. Use yellow circle stickers to cover up each number as you count sequentially. Isn't that easy and fun?

Preschool corn counting activity


Pom-Pom Counting Activity

You can set up this Pom-Pom Counting Activity from Laughing Kids Learn in no time. Gather cupcake liners and any counters you have, such as pom-poms, counting bears, coins, beans, etc., to match up with the numbers in each cupcake liner. 

Pom pom counting activity for toddlers and preschoolers

Pin this list of fun hands-on counting activities for toddlers and preschoolers so you'll have lots of different ways to help your child with those early math skills.

25 hands on counting activities for toddlers and preschoolers

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