Learning Numbers: Matching Counting to Print

My 3 year old is good at counting.  She can count to about 30 independently as long as you don’t hold skipping #15 against her, and she can count even higher if you help her with every new “tens” number.  She doesn’t recognize any numbers in print yet though.  One simple idea I thought up to help her with learning numbers: matching counting to print is to write the numbers on her fingers using a marker.  This way, when she practices counting on her fingers, she’ll also be matching the number in print to the number she says aloud!    

Learning Numbers: Matching Counting to Print

learning numbers

We tried it today.  I used a non-toxic washable marker to write the numbers on her fingers.  1 on her pointer, 2 on her middle finger, 3 on her ring finger, 4 on her pinkie, and 5 on her thumb.  I tried to get her to sit still for a minute or two until the marker dried enough it wouldn’t smear.

Then we counted her numbered fingers.  We practiced holding up certain numbers of fingers and looking at the numbers written on them.

learning numbers
Our fun didn’t last all that long before she was ready to move on to something new, but this is such a simple activity it’ll be easy to repeat, and each new exposure will help her make more connections between counting and printed numbers.  There are lots of ways you can extend upon this basic idea, too!   
To clean-up, Lilah just washed her hands with soap and water and dried them on a towel.  The numbers faded, but didn’t come off completely.  However, by the end of the day, there was no trace left on her hands, and the marker didn’t transfer to any of our furniture or toys either. 🙂

If you like this idea for learning numbers: matching counting to print, you should check out our Letter of the Day Hand Stamps, too!

letter of the day


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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • […] You can also check out a similar math idea with which we’ve had lots of success –> Learning Numbers: Matching Counting to Print.     /* […]

  • Kayla Curry says:

    That is a great idea! One thing that I have done is to take square pieces of felt, write the numbers on them, and lay them on the floor in a circle from 1 to 10 (Will go higher when he’s ready)I have him stand on one and hop around the circle while we say the numbers.

  • […] Matching Counting to Printby In Lieu of Preschool […]

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  • […] one number on each finger to help kids connect written numbers and counting. // In Lieu of […]

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