Find Time-Saving Kindergarten Resources ➔

Back to School Counting Games for Kindergarten

Back to school means it’s time to start focusing on beginning math skills like counting. One of my best tips for helping new learners grasp this concept is to use simple and engaging games in my classroom. As littles are learning the ropes, fun games help keep them focused and excited to learn! If that sounds like something you could use a little more of in your life, come along to check out my favorite back-to-school counting games for kindergarten!

Counting Games Galore

Games are my favorite way to teach just about any subject. They’re fun for kiddos and don’t seem as intimidating as other teaching methods. After all, it never takes much convincing to get a 5 year old excited to play a new game!

If you know me, you probably already know how much I love to use games in the classroom, but have you ever wondered why? If so, let me break it down!

I teach kindergarten and enjoy focusing my attention on small group time to provide support and 1:1 instruction. To help support this teaching style, I believe in teaching children how to be independent with centers and games so that I can work with kiddos one on one more frequently.

Keeping this in mind, I always have a lot of games on my lesson plan. They’re a simple way to ensure that my students are getting the practice they need for mastering counting in a fun way. Plus, when taught strategically, they also help make sure I’m getting more one on one time with students. Win-win!

A key component of making this all work is being selective about which games to choose to help promote independence. Not sure where to start? I’ve gotcha covered!

My Favorite Counting Games

One thing I always keep in mind when it comes to selecting games is that independence is the main goal. At the beginning of the year, kiddos will obviously need more support, but as the year goes on I want them to be able to manage games on their own.

All of the counting games in my Back to School I Spy Counting Resource use a familiar format to help promote independence over time. The more children play these counting games, the more they’re able to complete them without teacher direction.

These games focus on numbers 1-10 and are perfect for small groups, centers, independent work, and even homework! We use them in multiple ways to help familiarize children with the layout.

Low-Prep Games are a MUST!

When it comes to my favorite counting games, or really any games for that matter, there’s another common theme. You’ll probably notice most of my favorite games are super low-prep. This is by no accident. As a busy kindergarten teacher, any opportunity I can find to save a few minutes of my time is worth it!

I always lean towards low-prep games, centers, and activities to help balance out my workload. We have lots to do and I don’t want the preparation of a fun counting game to hold me back from including it in my lesson plan. At the beginning of the school year, having some easy-prep activities is SUCH a lifesaver! Check out the video below to see these low-prep games in action!

My back to school counting games come in two options so you can adapt these for what works best for you! The color version is great for printing out and laminating. You can use these mats with dry-erase markers and fun, seasonal counters. The black and white version is ideal for a “print-and-go” activity.

Let’s take a closer look at these counting games and how we use them.

1. “I Spy Graphing” Counting Games

One of the skills we focus on in kindergarten is counting objects and showing how many there are with a graph. This naturally leads to learning how to analyze data, and is always a student favorite!

One of the counting games we use to practice these skills is “I Spy Graphing Mats”. To play, children will count the pictures on their page and color one square on the graph for each one. These worksheets have 3 different pictures on each one, and once students have filled in their graph, they can compare which one has the most.

There are two options for these games, one in color and one in black and white. The black and white version is perfect for center time. Provide your kiddos with crayons and allow them to color in the boxes as they count. I like to encourage my students to color each picture a different color to help them keep track of what they’ve counted.

The color version of these game boards is a fun activity for your small group sessions. I like to laminate them and have students use mini erasers to fill in the graph. This is a great warm-up activity to use with your group!

2. “I Spy Counting” Tally Games

This next game targets counting and making tally marks, an important early math skill! To play, students will look at a box of pictures and count them up.

As they count the objects, they will make tally marks to show how many there are of each picture and then write the number.

Each game board features 3 different pictures, so students will need to look closely and use visual discrimination skills to count accurately.

If you use the color version of the mats, I recommend laminating them and having your kiddos use dry-erase markers to complete this game.

The black and white option is perfect to use with crayons or markers.

This game is perfect for center time, small focused math groups, and even morning tubs!

3. Clip Cards Counting Center Activities

If your students are anything like mine, they could probably use a little extra practice with fine motor skills. For this reason, I love to include a fine motor activity in with our counting games.

It’s always a win-win in my book if we can target multiple skills such as counting and fine motor development!

The clip cards included in my “I Spy” counting games are perfect for targeting hand strength and fine motor skills in a fun way. Students will count how many they see of each object on the task card. Then, they clip a clothespin to the card to show the correct number.

I like to prep these ahead and store them in small photo boxes. They’re a great activity to pull out for morning tubs, independent workstations, and centers! In addition to using clothespins, you can also have students mark the correct number with a small eraser, manipulative, or a sticker. Multiple options make this a great go-to activity when you need just one more thing to fill your day.

Even More Back-to-School Counting Games

I’m fairly certain there can never be enough games in kindergarten. It’s truly my students’ favorite way to practice new skills we’ve learned and makes repetition effortless!

I always use this to my advantage by switching up the format of my lessons. As I mentioned above, we use the black and white versions of these games for a “print and go” activity during small groups and centers. The colorful options are great to practice over and over again during morning work time.

Beyond these options, I also love to incorporate digital activities, too! The Back to School Counting Games bundle adds to the fun with Boom Cards for counting numbers 1-10.

The Boom Card activities mirror the ones we’ve used in the paper format, making these fantastic for review.

My favorite way to use them is during center time. Simply assign the Boom decks to your students and they’re thrilled to “play” these counting games!

Speaking of extra practice, the bundle also comes with no-prep printables focused on counting numbers 1-10! Print these off to have on hand for fast finishers, or use them for simple homework assignments your students will love.

Counting Games for the Whole Year

My little learners need to practice counting all year long, so I made seasonal counting games for kindergarten to help keep my students engaged month after month. By simply swapping out the theme in the counting games, I’m able to introduce these activities as something new and exciting to students.

This always works in my favor since children already understand the layout of the games, but are excited to try the new activities that relate to whatever theme or holiday we’re learning about. Some of the fun themes we use after back-to-school time include:

No matter what season it is, you’ll be able to help your students master counting numbers 1-10 through fun hands-on counting games!

Save This Post

Pin this post on Pinterest so you’ll always have ideas for fun and engaging counting games at your fingertips!

Share it:


You might also like...

Hi, I’m Julie!

If you are looking for hands-on, engaging kindergarten activities, you came to the right place!

I’m here to save you time by sharing tried and true kindergarten resources, tips, and ideas and hopefully give you some ideas for your own kindergarten lesson plans!

Find it Fast

Browse by Category

Join the Newsletter
Tips, Tricks, & Freebies in your inbox!