Teaching Number Sense and Counting in Kindergarten


Students in Kindergarten are just getting a sense of number and counting and are motivated to count everywhere they go. Virginia SOL K. 2 deals with multiple ways of thinking about and representing numbers. For this SOL, when given a set containing 15 or fewer concrete objects, students will tell how many are in a set by counting orally, write the numeral to tell how many are in a set, and select the corresponding numeral from a given set of numerals. Students will  develop number sense through verbalizing numbers in order and connecting them to counting experiences, kinesthetic experiences involving writing number names and numerals, and practice with conservation and one-on-one correspondence.  The following are a set of book and online resources to teach number sense in a Kindergarten or First Grade classroom:

 Literature Connections:


 Anno’s Counting Book introduces counting and number systems 0-12 by showing mathematical relationships in nature. Each page contains the written numeral, the number represented in unifix cubes, and the number represented pictorially in various ways. For example: Page “2” includes the numeral, the number represented in unifix cubes, 2 children, 2 buildings, 2 cars, 2 dogs, and 2 trees.


Count! by Denise Fleming depicts the lively antics of colorful animals as they present the numbers 1-10, 20, 30, 40, and 50. This book can be used as an interactive guide for students as they wiggle with 7 worms, stretch with 5 giraffes, and leap with 40 frogs.


The text and illustrations of the familiar “O” shaped cereal will help students count from 0 to 20 and add groups of 10. Students can read and count along with the story of follow along by manipulating their own set of Cheerios. Cheerios are represented in easy, countable groups up to 90 and includes text which stresses counting groups of 10 to determine higher number values. 


Counting Crocodiles is a story based on an old African tale where a clever monkey uses her ability to count to outsmart hungry crocodiles and find her way off of a deserted island. This rhyming adventure follows the monkey and her friends as they count from 1-10 forwards and backwards in order to get to across the ocean and back with an armful of bananas.


Perfect for counting aloud as a group or for students working individually, no words are needed in this wonderful counting book by Teri Sloat. Join students from all over the world in counting 1-10 and by 10’s to 100. Each themed page includes a numeral, and various objects which can be counted in each picture. For example: page “6” has the numeral represented in haystacks, 6 chicks, 6 eggs, 6 plants, 6 spiders, and 6 feed pails.

Web Connections:

This interactive teaching model provided by Houghton Mifflin Math for Kids involves an interactive tutorial about counting, representing, and recognizing numbers 0-31. In this teaching model, students will listen to prompts in order to learn about concepts and to practice using ten-frames, one-to-one correspondence, and manipulatives such as unifix cubes to represent numbers from 0-31.

This counting game with one of children’s most beloved characters involves students counting a set of items (numbers 1-10) and selecting the corresponding numeral from a set of answers.  Students will get practice in conservation, representing numbers and numerals, and estimating while having fun and helping Bob the Builder and his friend Sprout fix things around the town.

  This counting game provided by AOL kids, allows students to use numeral and vocal cues to count out the correct number of ants and place them in order on a leaf for counting. Students will love using the whistle to call the ants to order and place them on a line in time for inspection.

This amazing site provided by ABC, links to 15 different interactive games and activities that teach students about counting and number sense. Game 1 involves separating sheep into two equal groups in two separate pens allowing students to practice counting up and down from numbers greater than 10.  Game 3 involves counting items in a picture and writing the corresponding numeral.  Game 5 involves placing a certain number of objects under the corresponding numeral. Game 6 involves matching a numeral to the written number. Game 7 involves using a 10 frame to count to values greater than 5. Game 11 involves counting one more or one less than a number without starting from 0. Other games include number sense activities involving ordinal and cardinal position, classifying sets, and sorting.

This interactive guide provided by Bornthinker allows students to see and follow along as the guide shows how to write numbers and numerals from 0-15. This website is a great resource for kids struggling in writing numbers and numerals correctly and to help students refine their fine motor skills through kinesthetic experiences.

 Additional Resources:

This website provided by mathdrills.com is a great resource for teachers and includes free printable number sense worksheets in pdf form. Worksheets include blank and “counting by..” hundreds charts, number lines to values up to 125 by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s, and place value charts for ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc.

This website provided by Apples4theteacher.com includes counting flashcard printables for numbers 1-15 including pictures for counting and numeral representation in color and black-and-white flashcards.

This website provided by A to Z teacher stuff includes fun and interesting counting lesson plans and activities for Kindergarten students including directions to make counting books, cheerio counting necklaces, M&M counting activities, and number songs and displays.

This website provided by songsforteaching includes links to many songs that will help teachers in teaching early number concepts and skip-counting. Song topics include- counting to 100, skip-counting by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s, concepts of greater than and less than, principles of basic addition and subtraction, and counting up and counting back. Each song includes lyrics and a clip of each song being sung.

This 16 minute podcast includes basic principles which make up a good counting book and good counting book titles and suggestions.

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