1, 2, 3...Count with Me!

One of the first mathematical skills children learn is rote counting. But what does that mean and how can you bring it to your preschool classroom? Read on to learn all about rote counting, activities for your classroom and how to track children's progress in rote counting.

What is Rote Counting?

Rote counting is the counting of numbers out loud in sequential order. This is different than understanding quantity or identifying numbers; in rote counting the only skill assessed is whether children can recite numbers in the correct order.

What rote counting is: siting in the blocks section and counting out loud.

What rote counting is not: sitting in the blocks section and counting how many square blocks a child sees

Why is it Important?

Rote counting comes before the ability to count objects. It is a crucial skill for adding and finding one more. In order to count objects, we have to know the order of counting (not to be confused with understanding 3 is more than 2, which is a skill learned later).

How to Incorporate Rote Counting in the Classroom

Songs (think of songs that include counting. Start with songs that count forwards (1, 2, 3,...) and then move to songs that go backwards (5, 4, 3,...):

  • 5 Little Monkeys (see video)

  • 5 Little Ducks

  • 5 Little Speckled Frogs


  • Counting as you line up

  • Count how long it takes to walk to the bathroom (kitchen, playground, etc.)