H. Numbers and Numerals


These activities are also available in Romanian ro_ro

H1 Feel How Many

Skills practiced: feeling; counting; recognizing numerals; working together.

Needed: 10 little stones (other small objects, like buttons, may be used instead as long as each one is different), black board and chalk.

Have a student stand before you with his or her eyes closed.

Put some stones in her or his right hand and some in the left hand.

Let the student feel how many; have him or her count them.

Have the student say the number.

Write the numeral for this number on the black board.

Have the student open his or her eyes and check to see whether he/she counted correctly.

Then examine the stones thoroughly and describe one stone. (For example: one little sharp, white stone with a brown upper side; or one smooth, round, grey stone, or one stone found in the backyard of the pastor.)
Teach the students to be precise in their descriptions.

Then do the game again, with a different number of stones and a different student.

When the game is understood by all the students, let them play it in pairs of two.

Stimulate the joy of getting it right.


H2 Count the Sounds

Skills practiced: counting; discerning differences in sounds; feeling; recognizing numerals.

Needed: little stones, nuts or beads, and a hard surface to drop them on, so that it makes a sound; black board and chalk.


  1. Have a student stand before the table with his eyes closed or with their back to the table.
  2. Drop a stone on the table so it makes a clear sound.
  3. Drop another one, and another one.
  4. Have the students count the stones as they drop.
  5. Afterwards, have him feel the number of stones on the table to check whether or not he counted correctly.
  6. Then have the student look at the table and count again.
  7. Write the numerals on a black board as the student says them, so the connection with reading and recognizing numerals begins.

H3 Counting with Animals

Skills practiced: vocabulary; describing textures and shapes; counting; drawing—fine motor skills.

For each student: a large sheet of paper, divided into 10 spaces by folding or drawing lines; pen or pencil.

Talk about something which an animal has just one of (a tail; a mouth; a nose). Have each student think of an animal. Have everyone say which animal they have chosen. Discuss the different shapes of tails (or mouths or . . .). Use words like hairy, soft, long, short, etc.

Hand out the sheets of paper. Have each student draw the animal they thought of in the first space. Make sure every drawing gets a lot of praise.

Then think of an animal that has two of something, or think of something that an animal has two of (ears, eyes, legs of a bird). Repeat discussion above. Have the students draw this animal in space number 2.

As you go along, write the numerals 1, 2, etc. on the black board.
Three (ears? Oh, no, what does an animal have 3 of? Nothing?) Draw a fantasy animal with three ….

Show the drawings to each other, give compliments on creativity, have fun.
Four (legs of a dog)
Five (same as three)
Six (legs of an insect)
Seven (same as three)
Eight (legs of a spider)
Nine (same as three)
Ten (draw an animal with 10 spots on its fur)

Write each student’s name on their drawing or let them put a special mark on the paper to identify their own drawing.

H4 Matching Numbers

Skills practiced: recognizing numerals; counting; concentration.

Needed: for each student, make a set of ten cards (or pieces of paper) with 1 to 10 written on them; about 55 stones (or nuts, shells, dried peas, buttons . . .) for each student; the papers from last lesson with 10 animals drawn on them.

Have the students place the right numeral on the right drawing of the animals.
Give each student a handful of markers (small stones or dried peas).
Let them put the same amount of markers under or on the drawing and numeral (one bean by #1; 2 beans by #2).
During the process, walk around and give students help and affirmation.


H5 How Many Fingers?

(Showing numbers with fingers)

Skills practiced: recognizing numerals, counting; finger coordination.

Needed: a set of ten cards or papers with the numerals 1-10 written on them.

Let everyone hold out their hands.
We have two hands, with ten fingers.
Can you lift one finger above the others? How about two?
Show one of the cards with a number on it.
Then ask the students to hold up the same number of fingers as the numeral on the card.
Repeat until the students know how to recognize the numbers and numerals.