Activity: The Counting Basket

This is a creative way to teach counting skills and build a new activity into your daily routine. It is called “The Counting Basket” and you can make it from everyday items found in your house.  You will need a medium size basket dedicated to holding items for counting. You can change the items on a weekly basis but the activity and the basket should remain exactly the same.  Next you will need to write the numbers 1 through 10 on small squares of paper. You can also use numeric tiles if you have them from some other game or teaching tool.

Find 1 unique item for the number 1. Find two of the identical items for the number 2. Find three of the same item for number three but unique from the item used for number 2 and 1. Do the same for each number. For example, 1 zebra, 2 jacks, 3 q-tips, 4 dominos, etc.

A solid color (preferably white or cream) cotton rug is ideal for children to do these type of activities on when working on the floor. They help define the space the child is working in and keep them organized. It helps other children learn to respect the space that someone is working in as well.

Spread the cotton rug on the floor. I recommend you use very few words when demonstrating this. As you lay the numeric squares across the top 1 to 10, left to right, say the number. Pour out the items in the basket onto the rug. Pick up the zebra and say 1. Then place it under the 1. Then find the item that has two. Hold up both of them and say “2.” Then place it under the 2. Complete the exercise and let the child observe you. If they pick it up right away, let them assist.

Depending on how developed your child is with math skills such as counting, you may need to incorporate this into a daily routine such as getting out the basket after breakfast every morning. They may need to watch you do it for several days before they begin to understand. Do not change the objects in the basket until you are confident they understand what to do with them. You may also want to start with 1-5 and build to 10 as they improve.

In this example, I used items such as tea bags, poker chips, dominos, candles, q-tips, play toys, magnets, etc.

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