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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Your kindergarten students always love to count, and learning one to one correspondence is such an important skill that you’ll want them to practice it all year long. These count and cover number mats give your students multiple opportunities to practice recognizing different forms of each number as they practice counting to 10. There’s lots of ways to turn these mini eraser math activities into games so that your students will want to play all year long.
Teaching Number Representation
A key early math skill in the kindergarten classroom is being able to conceptualize each number as referring to a set of objects. While ten frames are the current best practice for teaching addition and subtraction, students also need to be able to look at a group of any objects and accurately count them. In time, your goal will be to have them begin to subitize, which is the ability to automatically know the number of objects in a group without having to count them individually, and these count and cover mats give you a perfect starting point.
Preparing Count and Cover 1 – 10
The best thing about these number recognition games is that they give you an instant math center. Simply download the target number that you’re working on (or get a whole set!), print full size and you’re ready to go. If you’re doing the cut and order activity below, you may want to laminate the cards to stop them getting destroyed by eager fingers.
Playing Count And Cover Games
These mini eraser math activities are simple to put straight into your math centers. Just pick one of the 1 to 10 counting mats and have students find all the examples of the target number by covering it with a mini eraser or similar small objects. As with all the best kindergarten math centers, the activity is best when you gamify it, so try some of these games to keep your students counting and covering:
Race to cover – in this paired game, each student starts with a copy of the same target number page. On a signal, both players start to count and cover, racing against the other player to see who can complete the page first. To increase cooperation, play this game with the students working together on one page and challenge them to beat their best time. Use these Food Friends Partner Cards to pair up your students peacefully!
Count and compare – this doubles as a speaking and listening game as well as a math challenge. One player is the “caller” and looks down at their sheet and picks two objects to be compared (e.g. they might say “fingers and pepperoni pieces”). Their partner has to count up the number of each item and make a comparison sentence (e.g. “there are more fingers than pepperoni pieces”).
Cut and order – you can get multiple counting to 10 activities from each card. To get students thinking about the magnitude of each number, instead of the size of the objects being counted, try cutting out all the squares on one page. Students then count the instances of each objects and make a “train” of cards in numerical order.