Lesson Plans for Teaching Children to Count and Group

Children often start learning to count almost as soon as they can talk! There are a lot of fun ways to teach children to count, but putting them into a lesson plan is a little harder, especially if you want to also teach them to group items by number. Here are some ideas for you.

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Counting and Grouping Lesson Plans

Show and Talk about a Visual

Choose a manipulative for the lesson, such as gummy bears, Cheerios or M&Ms. Then you can tell you students that today they are going to learn how to count, and the bears (or Cheerios or M&Ms) are going to help. This will increase the students' motivation to learn.

Read a Story

Following whatever theme you chose, you can read the appropriate book to your class:

  • The Gummi Bear Counting Book by Lorenz Books
  • The Cheerios Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath
  • The M&M's Brand Chocolate Candies Counting Board Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath

If you have cutouts appropriate to your theme with the numbers 1-10 (or whatever range fits the book) printed in the middle, you can place one number on the board when you come to it in the book. After you've finished the book, you can review the numbers from these cutouts by everyone counting out loud together.

Do an Activity with Manipulatives

Give each child a set of number cards. Sets matching the larger set that you put on the board make it more fun. Give each child a sandwich bag with ten gummy bears (or Cheerios or M&Ms). Call out a number and have the children arrange these manipulatives in groups of that number. As soon as they have finished, they raise the card that has that number on it, and you can see if they have it right.

You can also do this without the number cards. When you call out a number, each child groups that many of the edibles together and raises his or her hand. The fun part for your students is when you allow them to eat the manipulatives after you've checked their answers.

Sing a Song

If there is time, you might learn a counting song. The children may already know 10 Little Indians. They might have heard - or even sung - 100 Bottles of Milk on the Wall. You can shorten this one at first and sing it as 10 Bottles of Milk on the Wall. This will teach them to count backwards.

A popular song is The Ants Go Marching. You can find versions of it on YouTube.com. Other choices are Five Little Ducks and Monkeys in a Tree. All of these are songs that have been sung for generations; words and music may be found on the Internet.

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