Early education teachers know that all foundational skills need to be explicitly taught. What does that mean? How do you implement this in the kindergarten classroom? Here a some ideas for explicitly teaching numbers to your little learners.

First of all–and I mean–the very FIRST thing to remember is–NEVER ASSUME YOUR KINDERGARTENERS KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT NUMBERS!!!!

Most new kindergarten students can count to 5 and will hold up five fingers. They probably have been doing this for 2-3 years (the number 2 and 3 respectively). Parents will usually teach 2, 3, 4 year olds–“How old are you?” and raise corresponding fingers. But this is not “knowing” numbers and what they represent.

You as the educator need to start at the base foundational level and teach explicitly!! Subjects must be broken down into small increments and explained in detail.

Students must be introduced to numbers then taught what the numbers represent, the different ways a number can look, how it is written and practice until the student can subitize. All of this must be done intentionally and in a fun, meaningful way.


Your classroom decor is the first introduction to numbers your new students will have. Make sure this counts!! (Pun intended!) Numbers that are identifiable and legible are a must for your decor. (See post “Purposeful Kindergarten Classroom Decor” for more information.)

Having all of the different ways a number is represented displayed around the room is a must. This allows for frequent visual review and familiarization. The more opportunities your students have to see and practice numerals in the many different forms, the more solid foundation they will have. This prepares your little learners for a much more successful school year and beyond.

Using a variety of number cards, fonts, and activities are all imperative for a strong number foundation. Have recognizable fonts that your students can see and identify. However, make sure you introduce and expose your students to the many ways numbers can be written. (Example- 7, 7.) Chants and music are also fun ways for your little learners to remember numbers and how to write them properly.


I created a Number Chants pack AND it includes an audio file of me singing each chant! #kindergartenchaos #iteachk #backtoschool2022 #teachertips #learningisfun

♬ original sound – Kindergarten Chaos ✏️Abbie


After the introduction of numbers and what they look like, you must explicitly teach the many different representations of numerals. This also includes number cardinality. Kindergarteners must be able to match numeral with the amount they represent. Having many different activities available to reinforce and practice is imperative for successful number sense.

These number playdough mats are perfect for number recognition and tracing, along with fine motor practice. Your students will love this activity.

Need a recipe for homemade playdough you will love? Check out “How To Make Quick & Easy Microwave Kool-Aid PlayDoh” and “Purposeful Playdough For Little Learners” for more playdough activities.

Not only does the following activity include clip art for your anchor chart for whole group instruction, but has individual practice pages to accompany each number as it is explicitly taught. This is the perfect way to teach precisely all the ways a number can be represented. Intentional, purposeful, yet fun and engaging!


I share a LOT about literacy, so naturally I have been getting a lot or requests about teaching numbers and math concepts!👩‍🏫 It’s been my experience that just like letters, numbers have to be explicitly taught and the best way that I have found is through this model that I am sharing today! 💗Of course, I have many more math practice games and activities to share, but this is a great start to explicit number instruction! #kindergartenchaos #tiktokteacher #handsonlearning #teachertok #learningisfun #teachertips #kindergartenteacher #kindergartenmath #finemotoractivity

♬ original sound – Kindergarten Chaos ✏️Abbie


Mystery Number Game

Pocket charts are a fun and effective way for number ID practice. Just write numbers on a sentence strip. Cut and place in pocket chart. Remove some of the numbers from the order and have your students place them in correct order. This as a simple and **FREE** activity for your little learners.


Here is another super fun and practically FREE math game! 🤩 Mystery Number! I used to ‘hide’ the numbers when my students were at specials and as soon as they came back in, they would sit down on the carpet and we would play! 🤩 This can also be done with a 100’s chart. You can differentiate and adjust to the needs and amount of students you have. ➡️Save this post as a reminder of a fun math practice idea and/or tag a teacher friend you think would LOVE this! #kindergartenchaos #teachersoftiktok #kindergarten #teachertips #learningisfun

♬ OMG – White Gangster


These 3 practically free activities are fun, engaging, and purposeful for number sense practice in your kindergarten classroom. Use cardstock or file folders and draw circles. Then add ten frames, numbers, tally marks or dots in the circles. Use manipulatives such as mini erasers to match the number representations. Perfect number practice for your little learners.


3 Simple Math Activities that are practically FREE!🤩 All you need are file folders, a Sharpie, a die🎲 and manipulatives. 🔴 These are quick and easy to make and can be easily differentiated for the students in your class. Have you tried any of these before? 💬 #kindergartenchaos #mathactivities #kindergarten #handsonlearning #teachersoftiktok #tiktokteacher

♬ Hold Me Closer – Elton John & Britney Spears

Counting Mats

Counting mats are perfect for number ID, counting and cardinality. In this activity, there are 11 monthly themed mats for fun and effective number and counting practice. Use manipulatives of your choice for added fun, or the printable ones included with the download.


Counting Mats are a great way for students to get purposeful practice of number ID, 1:1 correspondence and even fine motor muscle practice, if they use tweezers or tongs! 🍏🍎These Apple Counting Mats come with numbers 1-30 and in color and black & white. It also includes printable counters to use, but I love using red Pom Poms and buttons for apples! #kindergartenchaos #teachersontiktok #finemotoractivity #learningisfun #teachertips #kindergartenteacher #kindergartenmath

♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic

Digital Counting Mats

Digital counting mats for your computer station provides added practice for your little learners. Any amount of extra practice and exposure to numbers and what they represent will only add to your kindergarteners knowledge and number sense skills.

This is a year long activity bundle, but there are single month count and match available. Your students will love these interactive count and match activities.

Punch Cards

Not only are these activities perfect for number ID and number representation practice along with multiple fonts, there is the added bonus of fine motor practice. Your students will love using the hole punch with this number punch card. They are learning while having fun!!! Win-Win!!


Replying to @janevoss8 These are called Finger Hole Punchers and they come in packs of 4! Find the punching activities in my TpT or Kindergarten Chaos Shop! 💖#kindergartenchaos #finemotoractivity #finemotorskills #teachertips #kindergartenteacher

♬ original sound – Kindergarten Chaos ✏️Abbie


Subitizing is looking at a number, tally mark, dice, domino, etc. and determining how many without counting. This is a skill that must be practiced over and over. Looking for patterns will result in instant recognition of the number and what that number represents.

The following activity is fun, engaging and effective way to practice subitizing. See post “Tumbling Towers Jenga Games for the Classroom” for more information and ideas.

In order to explicitly teach numbers to little learners, you must start at the basic fundamental foundation and build on that principle. 1. What is a number? 2. What does it look like? 3. What does it represent? And finally, have your students be able to recognize the number without counting.

Do you need more math ideas? Check out blog “Engaging Number ID Activities For Kindergarten” and “Editable Interactive Math Activities For Kindergarten“.

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