Counting Beads: Fun Easy Math Activity for Preschool

I got the idea for this activity while we were putting together a number puzzle which I found at the dollar store. (It has all of the uppercase letters plus the numbers 0-9. I often separate out the letters and numbers for different activities. You really can't beat $1 for a resource like that!) Why not use it for counting too?

Counting Beads: Math Activity for Preschool and Toddlers

Your child will work on math skills including counting objects in quantities of zero through nine as well as number recognition of single digit numbers. Picking up the beads with a pincer grasp is also excellent fine motor practice.

Remember that if you are doing this activity with a young child, make sure they are supervised throughout to ensure that they do not swallow any of the beads or pieces of the foam puzzle.

What You Will Need for the Counting Activity:

  • a foam number puzzle
  • pony beads

Doing the Activity with Your Child

Toddler putting together the number puzzle

First, put together the puzzle with your child. We created a number line with zero at the left and nine at the right. We talked about each number and counted from left to right.

Then we counted out the appropriate number of beads for each number one at a time(Little M. was a bit fascinated with the idea of zero beads!)

Beads inside the number puzzle

I found that the beads like to roll away, especially with an exuberant kid waving her hands around in literally every direction. (Hey, I'm not complaining-I'm just happy she's this excited about math!) Our solution was actually to pop out the numbers and leave the empty puzzle pieces on the table. The beads fir right inside where the number used to be. Perfect!

When you finish counting all of the beads for each number, you will have a neat visual representation of the numbers 0-9. Little M. enjoyed it so much, we did it again!

If you found this activity useful, please share or leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you! If you enjoyed this activity, another math activity you may enjoy is the Counting Buttons Activity.


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