Being able to count correctly and consistently is a critical foundation for future math and life skills. To help our students become functional with counting, we need to practice using the skill in many different ways. Here are 10 different ways to easily integrate counting skills across the day and settings.
Use these ideas to spread counting practice across the day to help your students generalize their skills across settings, materials, situations and people.
Counting in Morning Meeting
Morning meeting is a fantastic time to reinforce counting skills! Practice counting with the calendar, adding coins or place value blocks to represent the number of the day, etc. Check out these blog posts for more information on adding counting practice into morning meeting.
- Incorporate money skills into morning meeting
- Target math skills in morning meeting
- Morning meeting in action (to see counting with the calendar and 100 day count down.)
Counting and life skills
Since many life skills require math, it is a great time to connect math and life skills concepts and practice for our students. Here are different ways to include counting practice while practicing life skills with students:
- Count the number of people in your house and then count out that many plates, utensils, cups, napkins, etc.
- Count how many packages or cans you have left in the cupboard to see if you need more of a favorite food.
- Have the student practice counting out a specific number of snack to pack for him or the class. For example, have the student pack 5 baggies of 15 pretzels each.
Counting and sensory
Students often have more language when they are moving, so adding counting to some sensory activities can happen naturally. For example, Have students count while they do squeezes. This will not only help them calm their bodies, but it will reinforce counting as well. Another example would be to count how many times the student jumps on the trampoline or ball.
Interactive books are one of my preferred methods of teaching just about everything! Adapted books are a great way to combing reading and math. They’re also great for independent work systems, math centers and direct instruction.
Read more about using interactive and adapted books to teach math:
Cooking activities and group are a great way to integrate math and life skills. There are many ways to practice counting during cooking:
- Count out the ingredient. For example, put ten chocolate chips in the batter.
- Stir the batter 3 times.
- Practice counting in different ways while students take turns stirring. For example, count to 20 while one student stirs and then count by fives while the next student stirs.
Board games offer lots of practice with counting. They are also a great way to integrate social skills and language into math. Here are a few of my favorite board games to practice counting (These are affiliate links which means that if you click and end up purchasing, you pay no extra cost, but I earn a small fee for referring you).
race to fill the cup
This is a super easy and quick counting activity that basically takes no prep. All you need is a cup or contained for each student, small manipulatives for students to count into their cups and dice. To play, students roll their dice and count that many if the small items into their cup while peers do the same. First one to fill their cup wins! To keep the game fresh, change the small items up with the season or theme.
Task cards are a great way to integrate counting practice into independent work systems or task boxes. All of my theme units include task cards for counting. Switching up the theme of counting task cards helps keep students engaged when they need to practice the same skill over and over to master it.
Play a counting motor game with a deck of Uno cards or regular playing cards. To play, assign a motor movement to each number in the deck. For example, 1 is for frog jumps, 2 is for push ups, 3 is for toe touches, etc. Then gather the students and flip over the top card of the deck. Take turns identifying the number and then doing that many of the exercises. It’s a great way to practice counting and build endurance and motor skills.
count the room
Count the room is another way to pair math and motor skills. During count the room, students have to find the set cards hidden around the room or area that matches the picture on their sheet. Once they find the sets card, students count the number of items on the card and write the number on their sheet.
Give students an over-sized magnifying glass to use to find the pictures for some extra fun! I purchase ours at the Dollar Store in the spring.
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