Counting and one-to-one correspondence are the foundation blocks of mathematics. All other math skills are built around the simple concept of numbers, which makes learning them, their quantities, and their relevance to each other a crucial part of early childhood education. Introducing activities like counting puzzles helps to strengthen these skills.
Thankfully, early learners LOVE to count and it’s an easy skill to teach – one you can reinforce all day, every day. Walking down the hallway to the cafeteria with your class? Count the number of classrooms you pass or how many stairs you have to travel up or down.
When we find themes that resonate with our students, it helps them understand and retain what we are teaching. Looking for a fun way to practice number sense with your little learners? Check out this penguin counting craft that can easily be adapted to fit various themes. To further their learning of numbers, take a look at this counting book idea with stickers.
Decorate your classroom with these fun number posters, and your students will be recognizing and ordering numbers in no time! Incorporate counting into your sensory bins with activities like this Spider Counting Mat Activity. Or integrate counting into your whole group or read aloud time by enjoying one of these Counting Books for Little Learners.
Playing math games to build number sense is a great way to get kids learning without realizing they’re learning!
These FREE counting puzzles for preschoolers are the perfect activity for strengthening counting and building number sense. Your learners will first count the number of beads on a string and then the number of buttons in the jar before matching them to the written number.
These number sense counting puzzles will make a fantastic addition to your math center! Students can complete them independently, and you can check them at the end. Or use them in small groups during math time to help students who need a more hands-on approach. They also can enhance any whole group lesson by passing out a puzzle piece per student and together finding each puzzle piece for every number in turn.
Inside You’ll Find:
- 21 Beads and Button Puzzles Numbers 0-20
These fantastic number sense puzzles for little learners come in both black and white AND color options. Have your students color in the black and white version to create a more personalized set!
Getting Your Beads & Buttons Counting Puzzles Ready
Prepping your free number puzzles is quick and easy. You will need:
- Paper or cardstock
- Laminating pouches
- Scissors or paper cutter
- Rubber bands for storage
I recommend printing the number puzzles onto cardstock and laminating for both durability and longevity. This also will allow students to use a dry erase marker on the counting puzzles for an added modification.
Once you have printed and laminated the puzzles, trim to the edges and cut on the two curved lines, separating each puzzle piece. For easiest storage, we recommend using rubber bands and keeping 3-4 puzzles together. Once they are together in sets, store in a quart-sized Ziploc bag or pencil case for quick and easy access.
Using Counting Puzzles with Little Learners
This simple yet effective number sense game has students counting from 1-20 multiple times, as well as identifying a quantity and matching it to the corresponding number which cultivates one-to-one correspondence.
For first-time use, give students only two puzzles at a time. As students show mastery, increase the number of puzzles they receive at a time to improve sorting abilities.
For students who may struggle with inaccurate counting, have them use a dry erase marker to cross out each bead and button after it has been counted. This will help them to slow down and be conscious of the items they are counting, increasing accuracy and understanding. Using counting puzzles for a hands-on math game will build their confidence while they’re having fun!
Download Your Counting Puzzles
Download a F-R-E-E copy of our Beads and Button Counting Puzzles for PreK by clicking the link below. You will automatically be emailed a secure download!
Looking for more ways to help build number sense?
For more hands-on counting math games, check out our Insect Skip Counting Puzzles for an added challenge. Or look at our Insect Counting Mats for students who need additional hands-on counting practice. Check out all of these fun counting games to build your students’ confidence with number sense.
Looking for even more math center activities for your little learners? Consider joining our Dollar Teachers Club! For less than a dollar a day, you will get access to brand new monthly center resources for math AND literacy! Request to join here.
If you can’t find a resource that you would LOVE to have for your teacher toolbox, contact me and I would be happy to make it for you!
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