cupcake numbers

23 SIMPLE Number Recognition Activities

Let’s talk about some SIMPLE ways you can teach your children about the numbers.

 

I always appreciate it when things are easy to set up, teach, and implement to my kids! I am a working mom, so I try to plan fun and simple activities, so my kids can learn!

 

Number recognition and counting in numerical order are essential skills that all of our kids need to know! It’s one of the first skills preschool work on to get them ready for kindergarten!

 

So, let’s dive into my 23 SIMPLE Number Recognition Activities For Kids to help you learn how to teach numbers to your kids!

 


Activity #1: DIY Number Cards

 

Do you order from Amazon a lot?

 

I know I do! Don’t recycle those boxes just yet! You can use them for some activities.

 

 

diy learning boards

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- medium/large-sized cardboard box, sharpie, clothespins, and stickers/mini erasers.

 

2. Cut the cardboard box into a square shape, big enough to write a few numbers on it, and place the stickers or mini-erasers.

 

3. On the bottom part of the square, write 3 different numbers in sharpie and give your child a clothespin!

 

4. Put a specific amount of stickers or mini erasers on the large part of the square and have your child place the clothespin the correct amount number of corresponding items.

 

5. Got an older child? Instead of writing numbers, write tally marks or dots, so they have to use higher-level thinking skills to answer the questions.

 


Activity #2: Swat the Number

 

Wait, your kids can actually hit something, and it’s okay?

 

Yes! They will be so excited. Swat the number is an activity where your kids can use fly swatters to smack the correct number.

 

swat the number game

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- fly swatters and numbers 0-20.

 

melissa and doug 0-20 puzzle

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2. Set out the numbers on the floor and ask your kids to find a specific number and swat it with the fly swatter!

 

3. Another way to play is to have the kids swat a number and tell you what number they hit.

 

Simple as that!

 


Activity #3: Stamping Numbers

 

You can use letter stamps in several different ways. I have used them on paper, and I also have used it in Play-Doh.

 

play-doh number stamping

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- art tray, Melissa and Doug alphabet+number stamps, Play-Doh and paper

 

alphabet and number stamps

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2. Flatten out Play-Doh on a tray and stamp numbers on the Doh! You can put numbers in number order, practice teen numbers, and even practice some math facts since there are math symbols included in this pack.

 

3. Another way to talk about number recognition is to stamp numbers on the play-doh and ask your child to find specific numbers!

 


Activity #4: 1:1 Correspondence

 

The best thing about 1:1 correspondence is that you can use any object that you have lying around the house to do activity!

 

I do like to have a specific theme, but you don’t have to do that.

 

1:1 correspondence

 

All 1:1 correspondence means is that you have a number out for your child to see, and they have to match the amount of objects to the number.

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- an object that you want to use as the manipulative (eggs, cars, bows, pom-poms, etc.), a marker, stamper, or moveable numbers like magnetic numbers.

 

2. Place or write the number down on a sheet of paper or the floor, depending on what you are using!

 

3. Have your child count out for each number how many objects they need to place next to each number, as you see above.

 

4. For younger kids, start with numbers 1-5. For older kids, you can do as many as you’d like!

 


Activity #5: Number Search

 

Bringing in some number play while doing a sensory activity? OH YA! Your kids will love it.

 

Many sensory bin fillers can be used for number searches, but this is the one that worked well for us!

 

chicka chicka boom boom book play

 

In this bin, are colored chic peas! I made them green and red to go along with an apple tree theme from the book Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3.

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need-  tray, 2 bags of chic peas, liquid watercolors, FREE APPLE NUMBERS WORKSHEET, and numbers.

 

liquid watercolors

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2. In a ziplock bag, dump a bag of chickpeas and squirt a bunch of liquid watercolor into the bag.

 

3. Zip it up and shake, shake, shake! Make sure to cover as much of the chickpeas in the color as you can.

 

4. Repeat this step if you want to do another color in a separate bag.

 

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dump the colored peas out to dry. Let them dry for at least a half-hour before play. The liquid watercolors dry pretty quickly!

 

6. Once dry, dump them into a medium-sized container and hide numbers throughout the chic peas.

 

7. Download my Apple Numbers for the kids to match up numbers when they find them!

 

Don’t have the book? You don’t have to go out and buy it, have your little one listen to it online! 

RELATED: THE BEST 22 SENSORY BIN IDEAS FOR KIDS

 


Activity #6: Geoboard Number Building

 

Does anyone remember using these boards when you were younger? I remember teachers busting these out every now and then for us to use!

 

You can create numbers, letters, make sight words with multiple boards, or just have fun and create whatever design you want!

 

geoboard numbers

 

Plus, this is a fine motor activity, so it works on increasing those little muscles to be able to do critical everyday tasks like zipping up their coats or buttoning their shirts.

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- geoboards (they come with the rubber bands)

 

geoboards for math and language for kids

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2. Encourage your child to try to make specific numbers; some will be easier than others due to the curves. However, you can still create those numbers; they just will look more box-like.

 

3. If your child can’t do it on their own, you can create the number and work on number recognition skills by asking what number it is.

 

4. For older kids, you can even create addition and subtraction problems using these boards!

 

addition with geoboards

 


Activity #7: Number Line

 

Kids LOVE sticky notes. I know, right? Sometimes, it’s the simplest things.

 

number line sticky notes

While I was setting this activity up, my oldest was making letters to all of us on sticky notes and hiding them! I’m telling you, they love these things.

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- post-it and sharpie

 

post-its

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2. On the post-its, write as many numbers as you want to practice with your kids. My recommendation would be to first start by writing numbers 1-10. For older kids, you can write 1-20.

 

3. Place the post-it’s on the wall in a mixed-up order. Have your child place them in numerical order on a different wall, so they don’t get confused by all the different sticky notes!

 

4. For older children, make this more challenging by placing some numbers on the wall and ask them to find the missing numbers and fill them in!

 


Activity #8: Egg Carton Counting

 

It’s actually near Easter time while I’m writing this, but this activity can be done at any time!

 

number egg counting activity

 

My kids are obsessed with plastic eggs. They love putting things inside them, even when it’s not Easter time, especially if candy is involved.

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- egg carton, plastic eggs and candy (jelly beans/M&M’s)

 

2. Write the numbers on the plastic egg with a sharpie- if you use a dry erase marker, it will come off when your child touches it!

 

3. You can write the numbers on the bottom of the carton as well so they can match it up or you don’t have to! Have your child match up the number egg to the place it should go in the egg carton in numerical order.

 

4. To extend this activity, you can have your child place the correct amount of candies to match the number in the egg! They will enjoy this part; sometimes we need to bring in a little something extra, don’t we?

 


Activity #9: Tactile Sticks 

 

The possibilities are endless here! I love doing holiday-themed things, and my favorite one that I have done recently is my Halloween themed tactile sticks.

 

tactile sticks number counting activity

 

These sticks can be done with googly eyes, small pom poms, glitter glue dots, or even small hair ties!

 

glitter glue for kids

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How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- popsicle sticks, glue, and whatever object of your choice listed above!

 

2. On each popsicle stick, write a number 1-10.

 

3. Have your little one say what number is on the stick, then count out how many pieces of supplies that they need to glue on each stick.  This works on number recognition and numerical counting.

 

4. Remember, a little dot does a lot 🙂 So, a small amount of glue for each object is perfect!

 


Activity #10: Bath Number Puzzle

 

Bath crayons are the BEST!

 

It’s a way for the kids to draw on the walls of your house and not ruin anything! If I could insert an emoji here, the double high five’s would be right here!

 

bath number puzzle

 

For most kids, bath time is a lot of fun, but sometimes kids don’t like it. This could be a way to help excite your kids at bath time while learning.

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- bath crayons and bath foam numbers

 

bath foam numbers and letters

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2. With a bath crayon, trace the numbers you want to teach/ review on the bath wall.

 

3. Have your child say the number if they can before they match up the foam number or just attempt to match the correct number with the shape that’s on the wall!

 

4. With an older child, have them trace the numbers to get some handwriting practice! Or, you can even write a few numbers on the wall and have them find the missing numbers to challenge them.

 


Activity #11: LEGO Block Count

 

Your kids will be so excited to count when LEGO blocks are involved! The best thing about this activity is that it can be toddlers and for early elementary-aged students!

 

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- LEGO blocks and a dry erase marker

 

lego duplo blocks

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2. With toddlers, I would write numbers 1-10 on the blocks and have them stack them in order. For preschoolers, you can do 1-20.

 

3. To challenge early elementary students, you can practice skip counting by 2’s, 5’s, or 10’s!

 


Activity #12: Pipe Cleaner Count

 

I started doing some fine motor activities with my son, he’s 2, and he just fell in LOVE with doing these sorts of activities.

 

I swear this kid is going to be some sort of engineer or something.  Your kids will enjoy this learning challenge.

 

bead threading fine motor activity

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- pipe cleaners, beads, paper, marker, and a flat surface like an art tray!

 

(Picture of tray)

 

2. On small pieces of paper, write how many numbers that you can fit on your flat surface that you want your child to practice.

 

3. Tape down a pipe cleaner underneath each number and have a bowl of beads ready for your child. (Choking hazard: make sure your child is old enough to do this activity so that they won’t put the beads into their mouth).

 

4. Have your child string the amount of beads associated with the number above the pipe cleaner. Little ones will need help counting out the correct number, but they can try to string the beads on their own!

 

5. Have the older kids try to do this on their own without assistance! You can even have them make a specific pattern with colors to make this a bit more challenging for them.

 


Activity #13: Do-A-Dot Number Painting

 

Do-A-Dots are one of our favorite supplies around here!

 

If you haven’t used them, you are missing out! It’s a way to paint with your kids that they won’t get messy.

 

do-a-dot number worksheet

 

GRAB YOU FREE Do-A-Dot Numbers 1-10 WORKSHEET HERE!

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- My Do-A-Dot Numbers 1-10 FREE Worksheet and Do-A-Dot painters

 

do-a-dot markers

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2. Download and print my number printable and ask your child to name the specific number that you are focusing on. If they don’t know it, that’s okay! Tell them the number and have them try to use the painters to fill in the dot.

 

3. The numbers around the dot are there to help your child differentiate between numbers. They should focus on painting the number in the circles that go along with the big number on the page.

 


Activity #14: Pom Pom Number Matching

 

It’s always nice to have an activity that you know you can pull off using what you have at home!

 

It always makes things more complicated if you have to order something or run out to the store. I always tend to put those activities on the back burner, which sometimes means I even forget about them.

 

Pom Pom Counting Fine Motor Activity

 

This is a fine motor activity that builds up small muscles in your children’s hands so they can do daily activities like write their name, tie their shoes, and zip their jackets!

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- cupcake tin, 12 cupcake holders, a marker, pom-poms, and kid-friendly tweezers.

 

cupcake tins

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2. On the bottom of 12 cupcake liners, write the numbers 1-12 and place them inside the circles in numerical order.

 

3. In a bowl, place the pom-poms in and show your child how to use the kid-friendly tweezers. Have them pick up a pom-pom and place it in the first liner. Explain that depending on what number is on the bottom of the liner, that’s how many they should put in.

 


Activity #15: Sensory Bag Game

 

If you have read some of my other content, you know how much I enjoy a good sensory activity.

 

This sensory game is so much fun, plus it’s a great way to work on number recognition!

 

number sensory bag game

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- 2 bottles of hair gel, a large ziplock bag, sharpie, food coloring, and plastic coin.

 

2. On the bag, write whatever numbers you want to practice with your kids (1-10, 11-20, 100’s, 1,000’s).

 

3. In the ziplock bag, squirt both hair gels packs inside, drop several drops of food coloring in, place the coin in, and zip the bag shut.

 

4. Massage the bag, so the food coloring and hair gel get all over the bag!

 

5. Ask your child to find a specific number. They should move to the coin through the bag over to that number! Repeat this until you have gone through all the numbers!


Activity #16: Giant Number Matching Game

 

I did this game with the alphabet, and it was such a hit I decided to try it with numbers!

 

This is such an easy set-up, and I always have paper plates on hand, which makes things easier since it’s already at home!

 

giant number match game

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- paper plates and marker

 

2. On paper plates, write which numbers you want to work on with your kids. Make sure you write 2 of the same number since it’s a match game.

 

3. Spread them out all around the ground, making sure that the pairs aren’t right next to each other!

 

4. Have your kids flip one plate over, look at the number, they should say it then flip another plate over to see the number. If it’s a match, they can leave both plates flipped over. If it wasn’t a match, they need to turn it back to its original side and try again.

 

5. Play until all the plates are flipped over, and all the matches are found!

 


Activity #17: Tray Number Writing

 

Did someone say sprinkles!?

 

Any child will be engaged in an activity where sprinkles are involved. We used confetti sprinkles, which is great because they are a little larger.

 

tray letter writing

 

This is an excellent pre-writing activity! Especially if your little one struggles with handwriting with a pencil, this is a great alternative to get some practice in to give them confidence!

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need-  MY FREE TRACIBLE NUMBER CARDS DOWNLOAD HERE, a flat tray, sprinkles, and a paintbrush

 

2. On a tray, dump out the container of sprinkles. Then, place the tracing card of your choice on the front of the tray.

 

3. Before your child attempts to write the number with their paintbrush, they can use their finger to trace the number, so they get the hang of the shape of the number.

 

4. Then they can use the paintbrush to copy the number shape on the sprinkles!

 

RELATED: 15 FUN HANDWRITING ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOLERS

 


Activity #18: Ice Cream Counting Sensory Bin

 

This is one of my FAVORITE sensory bins that I have ever done.

 

The ice cream bin can be used as an educational bin because you can ask your child to put a specific amount of cotton balls+ sprinkles into a bowl.

 

ice cream sensory bin

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- medium-sized container, cotton ballssmall colored pom-pomsice cream bowls/plastic cones, and scoops! We also have ice cream set from Melissa and Doug, that’s where I got the little menu and the 4 scoops that you see in front of the bin.

 

melissa and doug ice cream set

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2. In the medium-sized bin, cover the entire tray in cotton balls! Add in some of the small pom poms to be the sprinkles for the ice cream! Add in all of the other little things like the bowls and scoops.

 

3. Help your child learn with this bin by asking them to put a certain number of cotton balls and sprinkles into the bowls, work on addition skills by getting two bowls out to add small amounts together and work on color recognition by asking for specific colors of sprinkles!

 

4. Have an older child at home? Challenge them by doing my FREE ICE CREAM ADDITION WORKSHEET!

 

Kids can work on adding small numbers together to see how many scoops of ice cream need to end up on the last cone! You can even make the worksheet come to life by adding in colored pom-poms to the bin instead of cotton balls! 

 


Activity #19: Puzzle Work

 

The reason why my children were able to learn their numbers was because of our daily practice with the Melissa and Doug number puzzle.

 

Seriously, all it takes is 5 minutes each day, and you will see considerable improvements in their number recognition.

 

melissa and doug 0-20 puzzle

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Being able to manipulate the number and have a place for it to go helps your child remember the number better than doing other activities, in my opinion.

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- Number puzzle (I recommend the one above because it has numbers 1-20, it can be used for longer and is only a few more bucks than 0-10).

 

2. Focus on one or two numbers a day; once they have mastered those, you can move on to another few.

 

3. I would recommend starting with numbers 1-10 and moving onto the teens when they comprehend the first 10.

 

4. Every day for at least 5 minutes, practice the dew numbers that you are focusing on. Ask them several times to point to the numbers you are saying and place it in the spot where it should go.

 

5. Tip: If your child gets distracted with all the other pieces, hide them so they aren’t a distraction, and they can focus on the few they need to learn.

 

RELATED: HOW TO TEACH YOU TODDLER NUMBERS (9 SIMPLE STRATEGIES)

 


Activity #20: Cupcake Play-Doh Counting

 

Play-Doh cupcakes?! This is sure to excite your kiddos in wanting to play with numbers.

 

cupcake numbers

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- Play-Doh, silicone cupcake holders, magnetic/ play numbers, + candles

 

silicone cupcake holders

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2. Have your child roll up as many Play-Doh balls as you have silicone holders out for. I used 6 just because that’s what fit on my tray, but feel free to use more or less!

 

3. You can also work on color matching by using the corresponding color Doh with the holders!

 

4. In numerical order, place numbers by the silicone holders, and your little one can start placing the corresponding number of candles in the Play-Doh.

 


Activity #21: Egg Matching Activity

 

Yes, there are several plastic egg activities on this list, they can be used for so many educational activities, it’s fantastic!

 

This is a subitizing activity, so if you have older ones, this is GREAT for them.

 

matching number sensory egg bin

 

FACT: Everything always looks more enticing when it’s placed in a sensory bin :).

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- medium-sized container, Easter grass, and plastic eggs

 

easter plastic eggs

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2. In the container, put the Easter grass inside.

 

3. On the plastic Easter eggs, write a number on the top half and on the bottom half write either tally marks or dots that correspond to the number you wrote on the top half.

 

4. I would suggest doing numbers that your child knows since this is a subitizing activity and is a bit more challenging.

 

5. Break the eggs apart and hide them throughout the Easter grass in the bin.

 

6. Have your child try to connect the right egg pieces together! Help them if they are having a hard time with this by showing them how to count using tally marks or dots!

 


Activity #22: Dot Sticker Numbers

 

Dot stickers are one of my MUST-HAVE supplies to have on hand at home.

 

Why? Because they are so versatile! I have an endless amount of activity that they can be used for, which is nice.

 

dot sticker numbers

 

Anyone’s mind go to garage sale stickers when they see these? My family always had garage sales growing up, and that’s all I can think of when we use these stickers!

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- butcher paper, dot stickers, painter’s tape, and a marker

 

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2. On a piece of butcher paper, write the numbers that you want, so it covers most of the paper.

 

3. Have your children peel off the stickers if they can and place them on the lines of the letters. Try to encourage them to put the stickers on the lines of the letter right next to each other.

 

4. Make sure to talk about each number as you get to it, and when the stickers are all placed on, you can repeat the numbers.

 

5. Challenge older children by having them count how many stickers that it took for them to cover up each number!

 

This is an excellent fine motor activity as well!

 

RELATED: My 10 FAVORITE Learning Supplies For Kid’s Activities

 


Activity #23: Number Hopscotch

 

Active learning is my favorite kind of learning!

 

I am a physical education teacher, and it just makes me so happy to see my kids working on some gross motor or locomotor activities while learning.

 

 

This activity can be used as a hopscotch game or a throwing game! Win, win, right? 

 

How to do this activity:

 

1. Materials you need- painter’s tape and bean bags

 

bean bags

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2. With painter’s tape, make a hopscotch set-up as you see above. I wrote the numbers 1-10 in each of the squares, but you can also practice even numbers, odd numbers, or larger numbers!

 

3. You can have your kids play with the hopscotch course, and they can say the numbers that they land on when they get to them!

 

4. Make this into a learning game by getting out some beanbags and work on some throwing! Have your kids try to throw a beanbag and have it land on one of the numbers. Have them say the number it lands on!

 

5. Got older ones? Work on addition by having them throw two beanbags and add the numbers that they landed on together!

 


Final Thoughts and Conclusions

 

Teaching your kids at home can be simple with these 23 number activities! Making learning fun makes it more memorable for your kids, which will help them understand the content better.

 

These activities are great for toddlers, preschoolers, and can even be modified to challenge early elementary students! Make sure to read through my post thoroughly to see how you can challenge each age level!

 

I’d love to hear about some activities that you do at home or school with your kids! Please leave a comment below to share them with our community!

 

Happy Learning!

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