Find resources / Activities / Counting — Tatau Activity

There are so many easy way to teach tamariki to count.

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.

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

How many things?

E hia ngā mea?

How many people?

Tokohia ngā tangata

One each

Kotahi ma tēnā

Two each

E rua ma tēnā, ma tēnā

Two biscuits for you

E rua ngā pihikete māu