Preschool Theme Days


Having a Counting Theme Day is a fun way to review the numbers 1 to 10 with your preschooler after you’ve finished the individual Number Theme Days.

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



There are many counting songs found on children’s albums here are a few:

· This Old Man (Knick-Knack Paddywhack) - Check here for lyrics:

· One, Two, Buckle My Shoe—Check here for lyrics:

· The Ants Go Marching —Check here for lyrics:



There are many rhymes that deal with counting and numbers like “one potato two potato, three potato, four...”. 

Try these two books for number rhymes:

· Counting Your Way: Number Nursery Rhymes, compiled by Terry Pierce and illustrated by Andrea Petrlik Huseinovic, Picture Window Books, 2007

· Mother Goose Math, selected by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Emily Bolam,  Viking, 1997

· Mother Goose Numbers on the Loose, by Leo and Diane Dillon, Harcourt, 2007




There are many counting coloring pages on the internet; you can find them by searching for “Numbers Coloring pages” or “Counting Coloring pages” or you can print out my 1 to 10 Coloring Page.


Review the numbers with my “Number Poem” : “Number Poem: 1 to 5”  and “Number Poem: 6 to 10”



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any counting books.


Go to the library with your child to find some counting books.


Go to the library on your own to find counting books to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (type in “Numbers” of “Counting” under Children’s Books).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try to find some of these titles:

· Hiding Hippos: Counting from 1 to 10, by Amanda Doering Tourville and illustrated by Sharon Holm, Magic Wagon, 2009—This book adds hippos in an African river and has them doing all sorts of hippo actions.  This book also includes a numerical equation (1 + 1 =2) along with the text.

· Math Fables: Lessons that Count, by Greg Tang and illustrated by heather Cahoon, Scholastic Press, 2004—this book includes ten poems about animals, highlighting the numbers used and offering a simple moral in the poems story.

· One Foot, Two Feet: An Exceptional Counting Book, by Peter Maloney & Felicia Zekauskas, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011—This cute counting book offers die-cut windows highlighting a single object and then when you turn the page a group is revealed counting up.  What makes this one a little different is the use of irregular plurals like mice and geese for each group.

· One Little Blueberry, by Tammi Salzano and illustrated by Kat Whelan, Tiger Tales, 2011—This simple counting book shows, using cute watercolour illustrations, one little blueberry rolling down a hill and the groups of bugs who race after it wanting it for a snack.

· One More Bunny: Adding from One to Ten, by Rick Walton and illustrated by Paige Miglio, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 2000—Using rhymes and sweet illustrations this book shows how counting to ten is the same thing as adding 1.

· Over in the Meadow: A Counting Rhyme, by Olive A. Wadsworth and illustrated by Anna Vojtech, North-South Books Inc., 2002—I had a version of this poem when I was little and it was always a bedtime favourite.  The beautiful illustrations by Czech artist Vojtech make this addition extra sweet.

· Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under, by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Jill Dubin, Dawn Publications, 2011—This follows the rhyming pattern and story of Wadsworth’s “Over in the Meadow” by uses Australian animals.  I love the collage illustrations and my son liked the hidden animal on each page.


For counting backwards try these titles:

· Lions Leaving: Counting from 10 to 1, by Amanda Doering Tourville and illustrated by Sharon Holm, Magic Wagon, 2009— Ten lions drink water from a watering hole and leave one by one.  This book includes both text and a numeral equation for each leaving lion (10 - 1 = 9).

· Ten Little Fish, by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Bruce Wood, The Blue Sky Press, 2004 – Using computer graphics for illustrations this book follows ten little fish on a journey as their numbers slowly decrease in various ways. 

· Ten Dogs in the Window: A Countdown Book, by Claire Masurel and illustrated by Pamela Paparone, North-South Books, 1997 – Using repetitive rhyme this is a fun book as one by one people come to the pet store window and find “the perfect dog.”


When your child has mastered counting to ten forwards and backwards try these:

· Buzzing bees: Discovering Odd Numbers, by Amanda Doering Tourville and illustrated by Sharon Holm, Magic wagon, 2009—Using repetitive text this book counts by even numbers as it tells the reader what the bees are doing in the hive.

· Chicka Chicka 1 2 3, by Bill Martin Jr. & Michael Sampson and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2004—We were big fans of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom so we were happy to find this book about numbers climbing up an apple tree.  Great fun and a good review of larger numbers.

· Pies for Piglets: Counting by Twos, by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Todd Ouren, Picture Window Books, 2005—Two little piglets make the perfect pie by adding ingredients (counting by twos) that some might think don’t belong in a pie.

· Splitting the Herd: A Corral of Odds and Evens, written by Trudy Harris and illustrations by Russell Julian, Millbrook Press, 2008—Miss Emma’s cows keep wandering into cowboy Kerby’s yard and Kerby uses odd and even numbers to split the herd but somehow as this keeps happening his own herd keeps getting smaller and smaller.


Or for something different try counting in different languages:

· Come out and Play: Count around the World in 5 Languages, by Diane Law, NordSüd Verlag AG, 2006—Using bright illustrations of children around the world each page has the numerical symbol for each number plus the number written in English, Spanish, German, French and Chinese.




Materials: Number stickers, and coloured paper.


Step 1: Let your child choose what colour paper he/she wants for the background.

Step 2: Give your child the stickers and let him/her stick them to the coloured paper in any design or manner. Encourage your child to name the numbers as each sticker is used.



Materials: Coloured paper, magazines (to cut up), child safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: Look through magazines with your child and together cut out  the numbers one to ten searching for them through the book.

Step 2: Help your child put the numbers in order (lay them on the table).

Step 3: Let your child glue the numbers onto the coloured paper in any design or manner.  Encourage your child to name the numbers as he/she glues them.




Materials: Crayons and markers, coloured paper, child-safe scissors, glue stick, a copy of My Counting Book Worksheet, face cloth for sticky fingers, an assortment of stickers.


Step 1: Sit with your child as he/she colours each number on the colouring page, reviewing the name of number.

Step 2: Have your child cut out the individual numbers using child-safe scissors.

Step 3: Have your child pick the colour of paper he/she wants to use (you’ll need three pages).

Step 4: Stack the paper and then fold the pile in half to form a booklet.

Step 5: Staple the stacked and folded paper booklet along the fold in 2 or 3 places to bind the book.

Step 6: Have your child apply glue to each coloured number and glue each one to each page of the booklet.

Step 7: Give your child an assortment of stickers and help him/her count out the appropriate sticker for each page OR have your child draw pictures for each number.

Step 8: You can encourage your child to write the numbers 1 to 10 on his/her own on the last page of the book.

Step 9: Read the book together to review counting 1 to 10.




Materials: A copy of my Count from 1 to 10 Chart, and ink pad and various stamps (or an assortment of stickers or stamps).


Step 1: Have your child pick a stamp (picture) to print in each square (or use stickers).  Each square gets as many stickers or stamps as indicated by the numbers 1 to 10.

Step 2: Have your child read the number and press the stamp into the ink pad, counting out loud the correct number of times as indicated by the numbers in the squares or apply the correct number of stickers for each number.

Step 3: Display or glue the chart in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.



Breadstick numbers – using refrigerated breadstick dough help your child to form the dough into the shapes of numbers before baking them.

Ants on a log – count the raisins as you make this classic snack of peanut butter (or cream cheese) on celery.


Number Salad: 10 pieces of lettuce, 9 slices of carrots, 8 cubes of cheese, 7 slices of cucumbers, 6 grapes, 5 cherry tomatoes , 4 slices of hardboiled egg,  2 croutons, 1 tablespoon of salad dressing.



Whatever you serve have your child count as you plate the food, for instance 1 slice of bread, 2 tomatoes, 3 carrots, 4 meatballs, etc..


Cut-out cookies: During the morning make cookie dough together (search online for a recipe) and refrigerate the dough for later use.  Then in the early afternoon roll out the dough and use various number shaped cookie cutters to create number cookies.  If you want you can later decorate them by using coloured icing (milk, icing sugar and food colouring) to paint the cookies.




Print out one of my Counting Worksheets and help your child count the pictures and then circle the correct number: Counting Worksheet 1, Counting Worksheet 2, Counting Worksheet 3, and Counting Worksheet 4. You can also use these as colouring pages.



Give your child a copy of my Print the Numbers 1 to 10 Worksheet and encourage your child to trace the letters and practice writing the numbers on his/her own.  The last space in the row is there for your child to try to write the number without tracing. 



Print out one of my “Count and Write” Worksheets and help your child count the pictures and then write the correct number in the space provided: Count and Write Sheet 1, and Count and Write Sheet 2. You can also use these as colouring pages.



Print out one of my Counting Objects Worksheet and provide your child with objects to count. You could use small piece of cereal (like Cheerios) or candies (like chocolate chips), buttons or coins, puzzle pieces or even just pieces of cut out paper.  Have your child count out the correct number of objects for each square and place the objects on the square (for instance one chocolate chip on the number 1 space and two chocolate chips on the number 2 space).



Make a paper dice by printing out my Paper Dice Worksheet (or use a real die) and then cutting it out and folding and gluing the flaps.  Then have your child , count and match the numbers with beads/beans or even better with sweet treats or yummy crackers.



Another way of helping your child understand the concept of counting to ten is by using coins.  Print out one of my “Counting with Money” Worksheet and help your child place coins onto the sheet (you will need 16 pennies, 3 nickels, and 1 dime). 




Give your child a copy of one of my  “Dice Bingo” Sheets. Have your child roll either one or two dice and count out the dots.  Then have your child colour the number on the worksheet.  Continue to roll, count and colour until your child gets a BINGO!  For beginners who can only count to ten print out Dice Bingo with one Die and to extend your child’s knowledge try Dice Bingo with Two Dice.



If it’s a sunny day, take your child outside and draw the numbers on the sidewalk or your drive way using sidewalk chalk.  You could also play Hopscotch (check here for instructions: ) which is a game that uses numbers.



If you have any educational toys with numbers on them (like puzzles or counting toys) this Theme Day would be the perfect time to play with them.




Materials: Print out a copy of my Numbers Memory Game Printables: Numbers Memory Game Sheet 1 and Numbers Memory Game Sheet 2, coloured paper (2 of the same colour), glue-stick, scissors (for adult use only), crayons or markers (Optional), damp cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: If your child wishes to, have him/her colour the numbers on both printable sheets with crayons or markers but this is not necessary.

Step 2: Have your child pick the colour of the paper to be used  to glue the printables on to (Optional but this will make the game sturdier) and then help your child apply glue to the back of the sheets and paste each one onto a piece of coloured paper.

Step 3: Carefully cut the squares out making 24 cards.




Step 1: Mix the cards up face down.

Step 2: Place the cards (still face down) in a number of rows.

Step 3: Youngest player goes first and gets to flip over two cards.  The goal is to match a numerical symbol with the correct number of dots.  If a match is found the player gets to keep the two cards.

Step 4: The next player then goes and turns over two cards, keeping any pairs.

Step 5: Continue to take turns until all the cards are flipped over.

Step 6: The winner is the one with the most cards.


HINT: For younger players work as a team to find matches together.


CHALLENGE: Print out my Numbers 1 to 20 Memory Game (matching only the numerical symbols and not pictures) to add more cards to the game to make it more challenging.





NOTE: This one is not a counting activity but it is a good for reviewing number recognition.


Materials: A copy of my Numbers Dominoes Worksheets, markers or crayons (optional), scissors, coloured paper, glue-stick, face cloth for sticky fingers.


Step 1: If your child wants to, colour each number on the print outs (there are a lot of them so you may not want to do that).

Step 2: Glue each sheet to a sheet of coloured paper (this will make the cards stronger which is good for multiple usage).

Step 3: Cut on the solid lines to create fifty-five dominos.




Step 1: Place all the dominoes face down on the table or floor.

Step 2: Each player draws 5 dominos.

Step 3: The remaining dominos stay face down as the draw pile.

Step 4: The youngest player starts the game by picking a domino from the draw pile and placing it in the centre of the play area.

Step 5: The youngest player checks the dominos in his/her hand for a number that matches either end of the domino placed face up in the centre of the playing area.  If he/she has one, he/she places it on the table or floor, with the matching pictures touching.

Step 6: If the youngest player has no matching shapes he/she then draws a domino from the draw pile. He/she continues to draw until he/she picks a domino that can be played (a match).

Step 7: The next player checks his/her hand for a domino that matches the number on either end of the dominos that have been played.  If he/she cannot play, he/she draws a domino from the draw pile until a domino is found that can be played on the ends of the played dominos.

Step 8: The game continues in this manner until one player has use all his/her dominos. 


Optional Step 9: If you want to play for points when one player has used all his/her dominos the other players count the dominoes remaining in their hands and the winner is awarded that many points.  Keep score for as many rounds as you have time to play.




a)      Double dominos (those with the same shape twice) are played by turning the domino sideways to lay it on the playing area.  One successive turns, a domino can be played in three directions from this double domino.

b)     If you get close to the end of the table or floor area where you are playing, turn a corner as you place your domino.




Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with the theme of counting and numbers.


Here are some DVD’s that review numbers and counting:


· Brainy baby: 123’s—Introducing Numbers 1 to 20, The Brainy baby Company, 2006


· Leap Frog: Numbers Ahoy, Lionsgate, 2010


· Look and Learn: Hello Numbers—Learn to Count, View Video, 2008


· Sesame Street: Preschool is Cool! Counting with Elmo, Warner Video, 2010





Count on having fun together!

Photo: C Wright

Sticker Collage

Magazine Number Collage

“My Counting Book”

Number Cookies

Count from 1 to 10 with Stickers

Practice counting by using dice.

Numbers Colouring Page

Counting to 10 with coins

Play with Number Toys

Count from 1 to 10 with Stamps