Number Recognition and Counting with Play Dough

There are so many ways to use play dough while doing learning activities. Today I decided to work on number recognition and counting while playing with play dough. I love that it also works on fine motor skills at the same time!

Numbers and Counting with Play Dough


Materials Needed:

Play dough

Number cookie cutters (or number stampers)

Activity Directions:

First, I helped Evan flatten out the play dough. Then we cut numbers out with cookie cutters. I bought the set of 101 Wilton cookie cutters for $10 and it has been SO worth it! I use them almost daily. If you don’t have cookie cutters or stampers you can roll some play dough in snakes and then form the number. In that case, all you need is play dough.

As we were cutting out out the numbers I talked about them. I said things like “That is a number 3. You are 3 years old.” “That is a number 5. It kind of looks like a snake.” I just want to give him the number names and talk to him about them in the context of his life.

Then we lined the numbers up in order and made a number line. We counted in order out loud as we lined them up, deciding which number came next.

Numbers and Counting with Play Dough

In the pic above the “6” is backwards. Evan changed it. 🙂

Then we worked on one-to-one correspondence. We picked a number and then rolled that many tiny little balls of play dough. So for the number 4 we rolled 4 little balls. Then we counted the balls. We did this for each number. Evan did lose focus along the way and wanted me to roll the balls for him while he played with the play dough. I didn’t push him and just went along with his request. If this will take longer than the time you know your child will focus, just do 5 of the numbers at one time or something like that. I should also add that it is difficult for him to roll the balls in the first place, but I motivate him to at least try. If this skill is too difficult for your child, you can roll the balls or they can just tear off pieces.

This was a great way to work on number recognition, counting and fine motor skills. How do you use play dough to learn at your home?

Check out many other great preschool learning activities at my Pinterest board below!

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