Math Teaching Your Five-Year-Old Numbers and Counting

Numbers and counting are a crucial part of your child's growing mathematical understanding. These early math concepts build a foundation for more complex mathematical processes in the future. Five-year-olds are transitioning into elementary school mathematics. At this age, a child can often count up to twenty and beyond, and they'll start to apply this knowledge every week at school. At home, you can continue to look for simple opportunities to extend their understanding of numbers and counting in everyday activities and by playing simple math games.

Instill a love of numbers at an early age:

Dot-to-Dot Activities

Remember dot-to-dot books? These activities are great for practicing number identification and counting. You can buy a cheap dot-to-dot activity book online or in a local dollar store, or you can make your own! Your child will be learning how to identify numbers with a fun challenge she can do on her own.

Find Your Badge Number

Your child can find his or her Odd Squad badge number by using this printable decoder to map letters to numbers.

Do This Activity

Count Backward from 10

Just as with counting up to 10, number songs are a great way to help kids catch on to counting backward. You can also watch the numbers counting down on a microwave or digital timer to explore this concept. Or pretend to set off rockets with a countdown from 10!

Count Your Chickens

Your child can practice counting up to 10 by collecting an assigned number of hidden 'chickens' and then counting them out loud to make sure the right amount was collected.

Do This Activity

Make a (Little) Mess

Sometimes a little sensory play can help reinforce learning. Spray some shaving cream on a cookie sheet and spread it flat. Then call out a number between zero and 10 and have your child practice "writing" the number in the shaving cream. You can try the same game with finger paints as well.

Monkey Jump

Curious George is helping to fill the toy store with bouncy balls. Your child can practice counting skills while helping George fill the store.

Play This Game

Master the "Tricky Teens"

Your child might be close to counting to 20 at this point. However, most children get stuck somewhere around "13, 14, 15, 16" — skipping numbers or jumbling the order. You can help by practicing these teen numbers the most and making a number line for your child to visualize the teens in order.

Apple Picking

Let's go bobbing for apples. Your child can develop early understanding of number lines by helping Curious George find the correct apple to place in an ordered number line.

Play This Game

Play Board Games with Dice

"Subitizing" is the fancy word for seeing the number of objects without counting them. As an adult, you can instantly grasp that there are four people sitting at a table — you can subitize. But young children would need to count them one by one. By age five, your child will have a better grasp on this key skill. A great way to practice is to play a game that involves throwing a die (or dice) with spots instead of numerals, such as Sorry and Monopoly. Through play, your child will learn to recognize the numbers of the dice quickly and will strengthen their subitizing skills. 

Storm Dodger Game

You and your child can explore math and meteorology with this Storm Tracking game. Navigate a game board while avoiding the advancing storm to win!

Do This Activity

Help Your Child Learn to Love Math with Peg + Cat

Through engaging stories and comedy, Peg + Cat encourages your child to see math as exciting, accessible, and fun. The show teaches measurement, shapes and patterns, and problem-solving skills that children can use in their everyday lives.

Find Activities

Activity Finder: Learn With Your Five-Year-Old

Explore our Age-by-Age Guide: