Unique ideas for counting to 30

The Question:

Does anyone have any unique ideas for daily activities to teach kids to count to 30? I’ve done daily counting where they write the number then count the amount to the teacher, but I’ve done that same process for years now. I need something new! 

The Answers:


Stephanie Biggins-Pacheco

 It’s all about our morning meeting and the calendar at our school. Everyday, we do exercises for the number of days on the calendar. The calendar helper gets to choose the movement we make. For example, on the 28th, we will do 28 jumping jacks, if that’s what they choose.

Danielle Westvang

 Have you thought about using printable learning materials or file folder games? Pocket chart activities? I make original materials…crayonboxlearning seasonal activities come to mind. For example: pumpkins numbered 1-30. Place them around the room and have the kids play a game trying to locate all of the pumpkins and then put them in order. Or number leaves and put the cards in order. To change it up, as the kiddos learn their numbers, remove cards and see if they know what the missing numbers are.

Maria Bray Sykes

Morning meeting too …I have a flip chart from Scholastic with an activity for each day up to 100, we have a counting to 20 song, add straws to make bundles of 10 up to 100, add numbers to our 100’s pocket chart, take turns “counting the class”…lots of routines.

Sandy Estrin Kanitra

 Try doing monthly calendars. I have been making them for years. I make one for each child and after we do the morning calendar the children go back to their seats and fill them in!

Kelly Smith Thayer

 I have the numbers in a hundred chart and have inserted some question marks. One of the children’s “jobs” is filling in missing numbers. The class counts 1,2,3, and we all take a deep breath when we come to a question mark , the assigned child must find the number and insert it. We say “ding, ding, ding” if it is right and make a buzzer sound if it is wrong. The children love it!

Erin Anderson

My class just counts as their warm up before math lesson everyday. To learn how the numbers look, I have the leader of the day hold up flashcards with the numbers on them. You could also say “number one,” then have the kids say “two,” you say”three,” the kids say “four,” and continue like that.

Tanya Cox

Use a part-part-whole board. Have them count out the number, then have them move the manipulatives to find all the ways to make that number. You could even do it with the whole class and find all the ideas the class has to make the number.

Randy Goff

We cross-hand count, clapping a partner’s hands …at tens we put our hands up for double high fives after counting ..we also count the words and letters on our class message and put a ten in our pocket when we run out of fingers and start over..then we take them out before we write the number on the board..one child underlines words, another does a dot under letters and one person does the oral counting, while another holds up fingers..

Rebecca Kuberry

 There’s a great youtube video called “Let’s Count to 30” I play it during transitions.

Jennifer Atkinson Jenkins

I recently made an instrumental cd of 3 popular rap songs. I changed the words around to relate to counting. The kids love it and really enjoy counting to the beat!

Angelan Ringland

We count to 30 everyday for the first six weeks. I like to change it up and have them count in monster voice, baby voice, whisper, etc….

Alyson Quaglieri Yoha

We play “Count Around”. The children get into a circle. I appoint a starter and that person says 1, the next person says “2” and so on. until we reach a given number. They have to pay close attention so they know their number. We also sing “Count to 100” by Jack Hartman each day.

Kristen Borsella

We do different motions in a pattern for each number. For example we say 1 and touch our head and say two and touch our knees and then three and touch our head again and do this all the way to our number destination. We have also counted in different voices such as a cowboy voice or a mouse voice. Those are both fun ways to spice up the counting

Patricia McNichol

We play the magic number game. Whatever we are counting up to is the magic number. Stand in a circle and have the children start counting from zero. the next child in the circle says 1 and so on till you get to 30.The one that says 30 sits down. the next starts with zero again coninue to go around last one standing wins.

Brenda Smith Browning

 Zero the Hero, Dr. Jean and Jack Hartmann all have a lot of great math stuff that might help you. I’m all for teaching concepts with music and movement. Your students will, no doubt, love it! :o)

Deb Haemker Skog

 Movin to Math with Jack Hartmann!

Cori Newman

 Good ideas so far, keep them coming! So it sounds like you all do almost exclusively whole group activities? Does this get EVERY child counting to 30 (or wherever) by the time they have to? I’m a little worried about those kids who come in really low getting there…thoughts?

Jen Staples Rodriguez

Our kids are expected to count to 100 this year and I’m nervous…

Amber Monson Schaefer

Our kids are expected to count to 100 and very rarely does anyone not make it. I use old calendars. The numbers are preprinted on them for the kids to look at and the boxes are just the right size for them to write the whole thing. It works like a charm. If you get the puppy and kitten calendars, then they also get a cute picture on the back. You can pick up leftovers from a bank or at home shows. No need for a current calendar!

Jen Coyne

Our students count to 100 – so all year we work towards becoming members of the 100 club. To become a member, one must count to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s without help. They get certificates, membership cards & ribbons.

I found an awesome cd “Movin’ 2 Math” and it has a fitness song with exercises to 100 in groups of 10. We use that as part of our morning meeting. I also have a giant gumball machine, and for each day we are in school we add an number. We count all the way up to the number we are adding.

Lynne Murray Smith

 I love these ideas! When we sit down for snack and lunch I pass out hand wipes. To make sure kids are actually cleaning I say “wipes up” and everyone holds them up, then we wash and count…by ones, then 2nd quarter by tens, then fives and by the end of the yr by 2’s.

Dawn Riedel Fleet

We count when we exercise… 30 jumping jacks, run in place to the count of 30 etc… I do that for counting by 5s and 10s. Kids don’t know they are learning because they are having a ball jumping around.

Kimberly Knapp Splechter

 We count how many days we have been in school (everyday!), we do exercises and count lots of things…but I love all of the new ideas.  By the end of kindergarten most all of my children can count to 100! Repetition is key!

Julie Kate Hurst

 We do squats, jumping jacks, touch your toes, to thirty. the kids love it & will get so tickled. 🙂 we also have a hundreds pocket chart we use every day. I will tell the students to “hide your eyes” and will flip two numbers…. they have to say which numbers are mixed up. 🙂

Emily Ray

Baby talk, hollering, whispering, hold your nose, pointer finger ,jiggling lips, HAVE FUN!!!

Shelley Griffiths

 Youtube has lots of counting videos….I slip them in whenever I can. They last 1-3 mins….Our school blocks YouTube so I download them at home and keep a folder of them on my desktop….

Denise Dillman

 Since we are 1/2 day, we still have milk/juice break. When most of the kids are finished, and we are waiting for the others to finish, we say our ABC’s, recite Nursery Rhymes, and count. The first week, we count to 10; the second week to 20; the third week to 30…

Caitlin Brown

Dr. Jean has a Zero the Hero song that my students love. You could stop it early. Heidisongs has math CDs and DVDs that are great.

Becky DeBorde Theis

 We try to combine counting each day with cross-lateral activities. We cross over and tap our shoulder or our ears or whatever–just so they are crossing and counting.

Sarah Lee

We do a poem/chant. While patting each leg alternately in rhythm we say: “Can you come out to play sir, no sir, why sir, because I have a cold sir, where did you get your cold sir, in the north pole sir, what were you doing there sir, counting polar bears sir, how many did you count sir, 1, 2, 3, 4…30.”

Alicia Garate-Golembiewski

We have a giant number line in classroom that is at their eye level. I only have room for it to go up to 50 but have enough panels to reach 100. We skip count everyday up to 50 from any number on the line and then down to zero.

Blossom Garibay

 I count out loud to thirty during transitions. For example, ” you have 30 seconds to clean up and come to the carpet… 1,2,3 etc” As the year progresses they join me. Then I start counting down to zero from 30 since that is an end of kinder goal too. Hearing it over and over and OVER every single day seems to do the trick.

Nancy Jones

 I do several of the ideas mentioned (and plan to try others!). I also use the time while we are waiting in line (at bus call or bathroom break) to practice counting. We might see how high we can count before the PA announces dismissal. It keeps the kids focused on something constructive and reduces “goof off” behavior in line, as a bonus. We count by 1s, 10s, 5s, and 2s, depending on the time of year. Our year-end goal is to count to 100 all of those ways. I sometimes do the round robin counting, pointing to each child to say a number as we count. Or I ask the line on the left to say a number and the line on the right says the next number. We also count the days we have been in school, using a one hundred frame and chain links (that we group by 10s. The links are also done in various patterns.) As has been pointed out, repetition is the key.

Mary Beth Cavanaugh Seeley

 We do a counting circle daily. Each child says a number round robin. They have to pay attention beacause if they don’t know the number when it’s their turn they have to sit down. They can, however, get back up if they know the number when it comes around to them the next time. Whoever says 100 gets a Cheereo. We also play BUZZ. Count around circle by 5’s or 10’s– if you hit 100 we all say BUZZ and you have to sit down. Last one up is the winner.

Courtney Cagle Davis

 I put up a colored arrow for each day we come to school. (Each month is a different color.) We count each of the arrows every day. This really helps the students learn to count by ones. I pick a daily helper to lead the class in counting.

Valerie Weyer 

We do mathercises. For 1-10 we jog in place, 11-20 we do jumping jacks, and for 21-30 we do alternating elbows to our knees. I switch exercises and we do to count to 30, so it doesn’t get boring.

Kory Andersen Graham

I would love to know more voices people use to count out loud- I’ve got some new ones already, but would love more! We use the “underwater” voice by moving our fingers up and down in front of our lips while we count. Love the cowboy voice and baby voice ideas!

Denise Baker Dillman 

Opera voice, giant voice, mouse voice, leprechaun voice, …

Kym Reinarz-Braaten

 I use a lot of songs, Shari Sloane ,I like to count. Tug-a-tug-a with Dr. Jean, Macarena math. I have them count to 30, then count backwards and pop a balloon, but they really like the songs that we count

Aimee Wright 

Youtube has a lot of great videos – we count and dance as we watch it through my laptop (with a projector).

Melissa Rosenberg Pavonarius 

One thing I do is write each number on a separate index card. I pass one card out to each student and then have them put themselves in the correct order. When everyone is in the correct spot, we count by each child shouting their number.

Deena Sullivan 

I also “hide” a number on the number chart and count. We count in calendar daily…Check out Kim Sutton activities on her website. She also is the resource for Ron Brown who has written several math CDs. Robot voice!

Willo Harris 

I do monster voices, shout it to the space aliens on Mars, shout it to the worms under ground.

Jennifer Schratwieser 

I use Jack Hartmann’s cd Movin’ 2 Math. We do “Let’s Get Fit (count by 1’s)” to count to 100. Later in the year I introduce the count by 5’s song. My kids look forward to it everyday and go home singing it to their parents.


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