Let’s make learning to count a fun game with rainbow number rocks.
Use these number rocks to practice counting and number recognition in a counting game for toddlers. You could use the number rocks to practice math skills with preschoolers and elementary ages, too.
How to Make your Number Rocks
Select some rocks from your child’s rock collection or buy a bag of rocks. I found mine at the dollar store. Paint the rocks. Acrylic paint usually turns out brighter but washable tempera paint works too.
Be careful using small rocks as they can pose a choking hazard. Always supervise. If your child likes to put things in his mouth, choose large rocks.
Depending on your paint and rock colors, you may need two or three coats. I recommend allowing your rocks to dry on wax paper or freezer paper. They have a tendency to stick to newspaper and then the paint peels off.
Once the paint is dry, you can write or paint numbers on the rocks. I did the numbers 1-10 for my toddler. I also did 11-20 for my 5 year old.
Counting Games for Your Number Rocks
We put all of the rocks in numerical order and practiced counting them.
Next, you’ll need to gather some toys to be counted. We used our collection of ducks as well as Little People animals and people. Cars, blocks, DUPLO, stuffed animals, or any type of toy you have at least 10 of will work. It’s okay to mix and match as needed.
Place the number rocks in a bucket or container. Have the toys in a pile nearby.
Ask your child to choose a number from the bucket. What is the number? Have him say the number or repeat the number after you say it.
Place the number rock on the ground. Ask your child to find that many toys.
Say, “That’s the number 7. Can you put 7 ducks next to the number?” Help count the toys as your child places them down.
Set that rock off to the side and return the toys to their pile.
Let your child choose another number rock. Have her say the number and place it on the ground. Count out that many toys.
You could also have your child find the number rock that matches the number of toys he has out.
My toddler had 4 animals out. He wanted to add a goat. Now we had 5 animals. I asked him to find the number 5.
Then, he wanted to find the next number (the 6) and add another animal. He continued counting this way for a while.
Add an animal, find the number rock to match the number of animals.
With the number 8, he wanted to count out a new set of toys. He chose Little People figures.
After they were all lined up, we practiced counting them again.
If you don’t have number rocks, you could use number magnets or write numbers on paper or tape numbers to the side of blocks. The goal is to work on seeing and naming the numbers (number recognition) as well as counting.
Fun Toys to Use With Your Number Rocks
More Counting Games for Toddlers
Apple Counting Rocks – Paint rocks to look like apples and use them for counting practice.
Counting Ducks Toddler Math Game – No number rocks in this game, just ducks and containers.
Garbage Truck Counting Game – If your toddlers love garbage trucks, they will love this fun game.