Finger plays are a natural and “hands-on” way to nurture counting and number sense.

Noodles
One small noodle (Hold up one finger.)
On my noodle plate.
Salt and pepper,
Tastes just great. (Pretend to shake salt.)
Mother’s going to the store.
Mother, mother, get some more.
Two…Three…Four…
Five small noodles (Hold up five fingers.)
On my noodle plate.
Salt and pepper, (Pretend to shake salt.)
Tastes just great.
Mother, mother, I am stuffed.
I think that I have had enough! (Hands on tummy.)

•Cut five small holes in a paper plate. Insert your fingers as you say the rhyme.

Alligator and Monkeys (“Dr. Jean & Friends” CD)
Five little monkeys (Hold up 5 fingers.)
Swinging from a tree,
Teasing Mr. Alligator, (Point finger as if teasing.)
“Can’t catch me!
You can’t catch me!” (Shake head “no.”)
Along came Mr. Alligator (Put palms together and slowly
Quiet as can be, move like an alligator.)
And snatched a monkey (Open and clap palms as if
Right out of the tree! chomping on something.)
Four…three…two…one
“Missed me, missed me! (Put open hands on either side
Now you gotta kiss me!” of your head and wiggle.)

Five Little Hotdogs (“Just for Fun” CD)
Five little hotdogs (Hold up 5 fingers.)
Frying in the pan.
The grease got hot,
And one went BAM! (Clap hands.)
Four…One…
No little hotdogs (Hold up fist.)
Frying in the pan.
The pan got hot,
And it went BAM! (Clap hands and say the last word loudly.)

Ten Little Friends
Ten little friends (Hold up fingers.)
Went out to play (Wiggle.)
On a very bright and sunny day.
And they took a little walk.
Walk, walk, walk. (Walk fingers in front of your body.)
And they had a little talk.
Talk, talk, talk. (Put fingertips together.)
They climbed a great big hill (Move fingers over your head.)
And stood on the top very still. (Keep hands still.)
Then they all tumbled down (Roll hands around and down.)
And fell to the ground.
We’re so tired, they all said. (Hold up fingers.)
So they all went home and went to bed.
10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – (Put down fingers one at a time as you
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1. count backwards and lower your voice.)
Good night! (Lay head on hands.)

Macarena Math (“Better Bodies and Brains”)
1 (Right arm out palm down.)
2 (Left arm out palm down.)
3 (Right palm up.)
4 (Left palm up.)
5 (Right hand on left shoulder.)
6 (Left hand on right shoulder.)
7 (Right hand behind head.)
8 (Left hand behind head.)
9 (Right hand on left hip.)
10 (Left hand on right hip.)
(Clap two times.)
That is one ten. (Hold up one finger.)
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 (clap clap)
That is two tens.
21…100

• Make a poster to illustrate the different verses in the song.
(Use a different color for each verse.)
Point to the numerals as you sing the song.

Zero the Hero Number Stomp (“Just for Fun” CD)
I am Zero the Hero and I’m here to say,
I love to do numbers every 10th day.
When we make sets of ten we’ll stomp the ground.
And when we reach 100, we’ll sit back down!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Stomp!).
Let’s count another ten.
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 (Stomp!)
Two tens, let’s go some more…
Three tens, you’re catching on.
Four tens, you’re doing fine.
Five tens, you’re half way there.
Six tens, you’re on a roll.
Seven tens, what a cool game.
Eight tens, you’re doing great.
Nine tens, we’re near the end.
Ten tens is 100, now it’s time to sit down!

Activities: Stand like a super hero with feet out and hands on hips.
Point to numbers on a chart or hold up fingers.
Make a conga line by standing in a line facing forward with hands on the waist of the person in front of you.
Alternate sticking out your right and left foot as you count.
Download the Zero the Hero book and make copies for your students.
Country Countdown 1-20 (“Totally Math” CD)
All right all you cowboys and cowgirls.
Time to count ‘em up and count ‘em down with me.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Turn around and count back down.
20 19 18 …..
Let’s do it again…
Let’s kick it up and do it fast this time…

Pump Up to 100 (“Move It Learn It” CD)
Pick up your weights and let’s count!
1-20 as you do bicep curls
21-40 for shoulder press
41-60 tricep press
61-80 butterfly press
81-100 overhead press
Whew! (Wipe brow!!!)

• Use different body parts for counting to 100.
Touch head as you count 1-10.
Touch shoulders from 11-20.
Touch knees from 21-30, and so forth. Be sure to check out all of Dr. Jean's YouTube videos.

Brain Beads
Put 10 beads on a pipe cleaner (knotting the pipe cleaner on the ends). Children can slide the beads horizontally from left to right as they count to ten – then flip it over and count from 11-20. Keep flipping as you count as high as you want.
• Hold the pipe cleaner vertically and use for phonological awareness.

Counting on a Shoestring
Write numerals 0-20 on a cotton shoestring with a permanent marker.
Insert a bead. Children move the bead as they count.
Can they show one more? Two less? 3 plus 2?

Circle Count - Children stand in a circle.
The first child says “one,” and children continue counting around the circle. When you get to ten or a set of ten, that child must sit down. Continue counting until you get to 100 and then start all over again.
The last child standing is the winner.

Magic Number Count
The children stand in a circle. The teacher picks two random numbers (such as 14 and 27). The first child begins the count with 14. The child who says 27 must sit down. The game continues starting on 14 and ending with 27.

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a One
(Traditional tune: “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”)
I know an old lady who swallowed a one. (Hold up 1 finger.)
She said it was fun to swallow a one. She’s just begun.
I know an old lady who swallowed a two— (Hold up 2 fingers.)
What a thing to do, to swallow a two!
She swallowed the two right after the one; what number fun!
I know an old lady who swallowed a three; (Hold up 3 fingers.)
By gosh, golly, gee, she swallowed a three!
I know an old lady who swallowed a four; (Hold up 4 fingers.)
Her throat got sore from sharp-cornered four.
I know an old lady who swallowed a five; (Hold up 5 fingers.)
That jumped and jived and did a dive.
I know an old lady who swallowed a six. (Hold up 6 fingers.)
I think she’s sick; she swallowed a six.
I know an old lady who swallowed a seven.(Hold up 7 fingers.)
It wasn’t an eight, nine, ten, or eleven.
I know an old lady who swallowed an eight. (Hold up 8 fingers.)
She cleaned her plate and ate all of eight.
I know an old lady who swallowed a nine. (Hold up 9 fingers.)
I don’t think she’s fine—she swallowed a nine.
I know an old lady who swallowed a ten. (Hold up 10 fingers.)
She giggled and grinned and swallowed a ten…And that’s the end.

• Draw an old lady’s head with the mouth wide open on the board. Place magnetic numerals in her mouth as you sing.
• Make an old lady out of a small swing trash can.

Whisper Skip Count
One (Touch head as you whisper “one.”)
Two (Touch shoulders and say “two.”)
Three (Touch head and whisper.)
Four (Touch shoulders and say “four.”)
Five (Touch head and whisper.)
Six (Touch shoulders and say “six.”)…

• To count by 3’s, touch shoulders and whisper “one,” touch shoulders and whisper “two,” touch waist and say “three.”
• To count by 4’s, whisper on 1-3 and touch knees as you say “four.”
• To count by 5’s, whisper on 1-4 and touch toes as you say “five.”

Sing and skip count by 2’s to “Twinkle Little Star.”
Practice counting by 3’s to “Are You Sleeping?”
4’s “Row Your Boat”
5’s “The Bear Went over the Mountain”
6’s “London Bridge”
7’s “Ten Little Indians”
8’s “This Old Man”

Karate Chop Skip Count (“Move It Learn It” CD)
Feet out, knees bent, karate chop as you count by 2’s to 50
2, 4, 6, 8…
Leg curls and chops as you count by 5’s to 100
Kick front and back as you count by 10’s to 200.
Wax on, wax off as you count by 100’s to 1000.

Odd and Even
(Tune: “Old MacDonald”)
There was a teacher who had some numbers
And ODD was their name-o.
1, 3, 5, 7, 9
1, 3, 5, 7, 9
1, 3, 5, 7, 9
And ODD was their name-o.

There was a teacher who had some numbers
And EVEN was their name-o.
0, 2, 4, 6, 8…
Write numbers.

Chant and Write (“Totally Math” CD)
(Children echo each line as you slap thighs to the beat.)
Zero is where it all begins- (Make a zero with thumb and index finger.)
Curve down around and up again.
Number one is so much fun— (Hold up one finger.)
Pull straight down and you’ve got a one.
Number two is easy to do— (Hold up two fingers.)
Up around down and across makes two.
Number three is simple to see— (Hold up three fingers.)
Draw two humps sideways and that’s a three.
Number four I do adore—
Go down, across, then down some more.
We’ve reached five, now let’s not stop—
Pull down, circle round, put a hat on top.
Number six is easy to fix—
Big curve, small loop will give you six.
Number seven is really sizzlin’—
Straight across, slant down, and that’s a seven.
Number eight isn’t very straight—
Make “S” then back up for an eight.
Number nine I think you’re fine—
A loop on top of a long straight line.
Number ten we’ve reached the end—
Put a one by a zero and count again:
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10!

• Write numerals in the air as you chant.

The Numeral Song
(Tune: “Skip to My Lou” Sing to Learn CD)
Come right down and that is all. (Use index finger and middle finger
Come right down and that is all. to do “invisible” writing in the air.)
Come right down and that is all
To make the numeral one. (Hold up 1 finger.)

2 – Curve around and slide to the right…
3 – Curve in and around again…
4 – Down, over, down some more…
5 – Down, around, put on a hat…
6 – Curve in and around again…
7 – Slide to the right and slant it down…
8 – Make an “s” then close the gate…
9 – Circle around then come right down…
10 – Come right down, then make a zero…
We can sing the “Numeral Song”…
And make numerals all day long!

• Have children do invisible writing on each other’s backs.
• Let children suggest other body parts they can write with, such as their elbow, foot, nose, etc.

Sing and Spell (“Totally Math” CD)
Sing and spell with me;
It’s easy as can be.
Just sing a song and learn along—
It’s so much fun, you’ll see.
Z-e-r-o spells zero, o-n-e spells one,
T-w-o spells two, now we’ve just begun.
T-h-r-e-e, three, f-o-u-r, four,
F-i-v-e, five, now let’s spell some more.
S-i-x spells six, you’re spelling like a pro.
S-e-v-e-n, seven, three more numbers to go.
E-i-g-h-t, eight, n-i-n-e nine,
T-e-n spells ten, let’s spell them one more time.
Zero – z – e – r – o
One – o-n-e
Etc.

• Create a class book to go with the song by having children draw sets for each number word.
• Count to tell the number of objects.

Gummy Bears (“Is Everybody Happy? “CD)
(Tune: “Five Little Ducks That I Once Knew”)
Down at the candy store, what did I see?
Five little gummy bears smiling at me. (Hold up 5 fingers.)
Along came (child’s name) with a penny one day.
They bought a (color) one and took it away.

• Make gummy bears out of red, yellow, blue, green, and purple
construction paper. Choose five children to hold the bears. Pass out
pennies to five other children. As their name is sung in the song, children
give a penny in exchange for the bear.

Tally Song
(Tune: “Little Red Wagon”)
Put down a tally mark in a row. (Open palm and put down index finger.)
Put down a tally mark in a row. (Put down middle finger.)
Tally, tally in a row, (Put down ring and pinky fingers.)
Fifth one goes across. (Put thumb across.)
*Use pretzel sticks to sing and tally.

Make – Draw – Tell - Do
Here’s a way to help children “see” math. Fold a sheet of paper into fourths and do the following in each section.
Make: 4
Draw: ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺
Tell: I have 4 cookies.
Do: 2 + 2 = 4 1 + 3 = 4 (Children use manipulatives to create different ways to make a number and then write the equation.)

One on One Book
You will need heavy paper, black construction paper cut in ¾” squares, glue, and book rings to make this book. Glue a specific number of squares on each page as shown. Write the numeral at the top and the word at the bottom. Children take manipulatives (counting bears, cereal, pennies, shells) and match them up one-to-one with the squares on each page.
• Vary this activity by using seasonal objects, such as pumpkin seeds, holiday erasers, and other small toys.
• Give children experiences daily in one-to-one correspondence by asking them to pass out snacks, put pegs in holes, or match puzzle pieces.
• Let children match one to one by putting tennis balls in a muffin pan or cotton balls in an ice cube tray.

Set Cards
Take index cards and write numerals on them (0-10). Have the child clip clothespins or paper clips on the cards to correspond with the numeral. For example on “6” she would clip six paper clips.

Number Grid Game
Make a grid and write numerals 1-6 at the bottom. Roll a die and color in a box on the grid for that number. Which number will win?
• Children could play this game with a partner or small group.

Birthday Cake Math
Cut birthday cakes out of construction paper. Write a different numeral on each cake. Children count out real candles and put them on the cakes.
• Children can also make cakes out of play dough and make appropriate sets with candles.

Flannel Board
Arrange a specific number of objects on the flannel board. Count. Invite a child to rearrange the items. Recount. Continue moving objects around and counting.
• You can do similar activities with books, blocks, and other classroom objects.

# Hunt Homework
Prepare a number hunt with pictures or words of different objects around the home. Children count each item and then write the numeral down. For example:
Televisions______ People_______
Chairs__________ Pets__________
Lamps__________ Eyes__________
Sinks____________ Bikes__________
Monkeys (That’s a joke, but a good way to understand zero.)

Compare numbers

Alligator Mouth
Explain that the alligator is always hungry and wants to eat the largest amount.
Demonstrate how to make an alligator mouth with your arms.
Draw a set of cookies (circles) on one side of the board and a smaller set on the other side of the board.
Which one would you like to eat? Let children make the alligator mouth with their arms and “gobble up” the largest set.
Draw the sign on the board.
Continue making sets with classroom objects as children show which is more and which is less with their arms.
• Teach sign language for more, less, and equal by going to aslpro.com.

Guess and Check
Take 5 zip bags and number them from 1-5. Place 1-10 small items in each bag. (You could use counting bears, crayons, paper clips, coins, etc.) Prepare an answer sheet ahead similar to the one below. Children take each bag and estimate the quantity and write it on the “guess” line. Next, they open the bag, count the objects, and write the numeral on the “check” line. Did they guess more, less, or equal? Can they put the inequality sign in between the two numerals?

Dealer’s Choice
Write “high,” “low,” and “equal” on a piece of paper as shown. Give children a deck of cards (remove the face cards.) Children turn over two cards at a time and place the cards in the appropriate pile.

More, Less, Equal
Write >, <, and = on index cards and place them in a bag. Make a set with manipulatives. Invite a child to choose a card from the bag. That child must then make a set that is more, less, or equal based on the card they chose.
• Squish is a similar game played with play dough. The first child makes a set with the play dough. The second child chooses a card and must then make a set that is >, <, or =.

Keeping Score
Capitalize on your student’s interest in sports by having them:
• Predict who will win a game and estimate the total number of points. Who guessed more? Less? Who was the closest?
• Graph wins and losses.
• Compare the number of players on teams in different sports.