I enjoy creating these fun counting activities for kids! Sometimes there is a creation that especially hits my happy spot. That is definitely the case with these counting mats.
Besides having great fun using the counting mats and the cards that go with them, your kids will be learning, reinforcing and mastering the following skills:
- Before and after
- Number order
- Recognizing and counting neat arrays
- Recognizing and counting scattered configurations
Counting Mats in Each Set
Counting Books – One of the counting mats is the outside of a library. Kids can count the books in neat order as they are on the library shelves or in a disordered mess, as we know they sometimes become. The number cards 1-10 and the book cards have a red border to match the spaces on the mat.
Counting Students – The other counting mat in this set is the inside of a classroom – just waiting for the students to come in! As you can see, one set of student cards has the kids in a nice orderly manner just as they sometimes are when they line up at school. The other cards show the kids gathered all about with no rhyme or reason (as can often be the case!). The student cards and the number cards 1-10 have a medium blue border to match the spaces on the mat.
Counting Bananas – One of the counting mats in this set has a couple of monkeys on it, looking like they’re having a great time, if I do say so myself. One set of the cards shows single bananas in neat arrays and the other set shows bananas in bunches. The banana cards and the number cards 1-10 have a green border to match the spaces on the mat.
Counting Crabs – The other counting mat in this set has a cheery nautical theme with two happy sailors and a few items that remind us of the sea. The crab cards come with crabs in neat arrays, lined up just so (which I’m sure crabs never are!) and the second set shows crabs going every which way. The crabs cards and the number cards 1-10 are outlined in navy blue to match the spaces on the mat.
Counting Kids – This set has a counting mat with a mom and dad standing nicely outside their pretty home. The kids cards show their 10 kids in two sets of cards, again one with the kids all perfectly lined up (we know how often that happens in a family…) and in a disorganized manner. The kids cards and the number cards 1-10 are outlined in red to match the spaces on the mat. Fun fact: If you look at the kids cards you will notice that as more kids are added the birth order remains the same.
Counting Leaves – The other counting mat in this set has a happy and probably hungry giraffe. He’s come to eat some leaves form the tree! The leaves cards come in two sets, one with the leaves in an ordered array and the other with leaves as we see them in nature, just going this way and that. The leaves cards and the number cards 1-10 are outlined in brown to match the brown spaces on the mat.
All About the Counting Mats
There are a few great features of these counting activity sets.
To begin with, the counting mats are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.
Each counting mat is a perfect activity for one child in a math center. Each child can have the same mat (or a different mat) and you can have them all do the same thing. “Match the number 3 with a card with three objects.”
However, you can also use them with partners. One child can put down a card and the other child can match it. Read on for more ways you can use these counting mats.
Next, there are three sets of cards with each set. One is a set of numbers 1-10. No counting here, just a need for number recognition and how many that number represents. The other two sets of cards have the objects that go with each set (crabs, books, kids, etc.) in two different formats – a neat rectangular array and a scattered configuration.
This pinpoints the following Common Core standard:
K.CC.B.5 Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1-20, count out that many objects.
Also, each set is color-coded so if you use more than one set at a time you can easily tell which parts go with which mat.
And lastly, each set comes with a storage box to store the cards in. Simply print the box out, cut along the dashed lines, fold on the solid lines and glue or tape together. Now you have a cute labeled box to neatly store the cards in! No more cards all over or in another ziploc sandwich bag.
I print the mats, the cards and the storage boxes on white card stock. I laminate the mats and cards, but not the storage boxes. The storage boxes were made large enough to fit laminated cards so if you don’t laminate the cards that boxes may seem a bit too big.
Counting Activities – Different Ways to Use These Counting Mats
I’ve come up with a few ways you can use the counting mats and the cards (listed below). You may be able to think of even more ways!
Count & Match
Your kids can match a number to a picture (the neat array picture or the scattered configuration) as seen below.
Or your kids can match a picture to a picture (the neat array to the scattered configuration). This is a great lesson for kids to see the same number of objects in different arrangements.
Before & After
Your kids can place a number card in the right space, find the number that comes before and place in the left space.
Or they can place a number card in the left space, find the number that comes after and place it in the right space.
The same thing can be done with the object cards. Kids choose a card and count how many. They place the in the right space, find the card that has the number of objects that come before and place it in the left space.
Conversely, They can pick a card, count how many and place the card in the left space. Then they find the card that has the number of objects that would come after and place it in the right space.
Sometimes we just want or need to see the bigger picture with everything in order. Your kids can do that!
Set the counting mats aside and use only the number cards. Put the cards in order from 1-10.
Your kids can also put the cards with the objects in number order. Of course, they can use one set of cards, the other set or mix the two, as long as they’re in number order. Hey! They can even do both sets!
The Big Match Up
With the counting mats set aside again, your kids can line up all of the cards in number order. They can line up each set one after another like a train, or in three rows one on top of the other. As you can see here I just matched up a few numbers to save space. You get the idea though.
No matter which way you choose to use these mats, there is a possibility they can keep your kids occupied for quite some time!
Storing your Counting Mats and Their Cards
Of course, the mats will need to be stored flat in a storage baggie or a file cabinet. The cards can be stored in the storage boxes as mentioned above. It’s a neat organized way to keep all the cards together, just like a regular deck of cards. You can even teach your kids to put them away in the boxes. : )
You can find these counting activities in my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s store. Just click on any picture below.
As always, thanks for reading (or just looking at the pictures 😊) all the way to the end of this post.