1. Overview

“Counting Cups” connects cardinality – the idea that the last number counted is the number of objects – with recognizing numerals. It also gives your child hands-on practice in grouping small objects.

Put the correct number of coins in the cups!
“Put the correct number of coins in the cups!”
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2. Materials

  • 10 foam/plastic/paper cups
  • 50 quarters, grapes, beans, or any other small item
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    3. Directions

    Get 10 paper cups and write the number 1 through 10 on them. Place 50 beans (or any other small item) in a pile in front of your child. Put the cups in front of your child in order from 1 to 10.

    Have your child place five beans in the cup numbered 5, three in the cup numbered 3, and so on. Continue until your child has filled in each of the cups with the right number of beans.

    Adult: Count five beans and place them in the cup with a 5 on it
    Child: One [Touches first bean]…Two [Touches second bean]…
                Three [Touches third bean]…Four [Touches fourth bean]…
                Five [Touches fifth bean]
                [Puts five beans in the number 5 cup]
    Adult: Count two beans and place them in the cup with a 2 on it.
    Child: One [Touches first bean]… Two [Touches second bean]

    Once your child masters the game, mix up the cups and have your child place the correct number of beans in the right cup. This practices numeral recognition by making your child pay attention to the number written on each cup.

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