Counting is a key aspect of numeracy. When whānau count everyday actions while eating, dressing or cleaning up, tamariki hear numbers in context. Waiata and rhymes identifying maths concepts are fun ways to support learning how numbers work.

Why do it?

Counting is a chance for tamariki to:

  • get interested in counting things in their daily lives
  • enjoy learning and singing rhymes and songs that reinforce counting skills in a fun way
  • start to remember the order of number words used in counting, through repetition
  • learn to count in the language of their whānau.

Printable activity

Learn to tatau flash cards

Print and cut along the dashed line to create your own flash cards to learn to count in te reo Māori.

pdf 8.7 MB

How to do it

  • Include counting in everyday ways. ‘Two’ is a good place to start as we have many examples just on our body alone — eyes, ears, arms, hands and feet — and also in clothing — socks, jandals, gloves, gumboots and shoes.
  • Count the steps together as you go up and down the stairs.
  • Talk about the food on your plate: two pieces of toast, three carrot sticks and one sausage.
  • Use counting as a way to get ready: ‘One, two, three, jump!’
  • Count when setting the table: ‘One plate for me, one for Dad and one for Mummy.’
  • Count when pretend playing: ‘A chair for me and a chair for Ted. Do you want two biscuits, Teddy?’
  • Count cars when you’re out and about.
  • Keep the counting fun and don’t worry if your tamaiti makes mistakes. Practice makes progress.
  • Sing songs like ‘The three little kittens’, ‘Tahi, rua, toru, whā’ and ‘Six little ducks’, or counting rhymes such as ‘Two little dicky birds’ and ‘One, two, buckle my shoe’.
  • Read picture books like ‘The three little pigs’, ‘The wolf and the seven little kids’, ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’ and ‘Ten in the bed’.
  • Count out loud and point to the pictures in the book as you count them.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
E hia ngā mea? How many things?
Tokohia ngā tangata? How many people?
Kotahi mā tēnā One each
E rua ma tēnā, ma tēnā Two each
E rua ngā pihikete māu Two biscuits for you