Counting with a baby

Your baby knows and listens to your voice. Say numbers to your baby often. You could count aloud the scoops you put in their bottle or the stairs you climb when putting them to bed. Hearing “one, two three” regularly will stay in their brain.

Count aloud

Numbers will become part of your child's everyday life. When they begin to talk, they'll be able to use the words as soon as they can pronounce them. Count aloud to your baby when you can. Young children love learning about eyes, ears, fingers and toes.

Count body parts together. You could ask "How many eyes does Mummy have?" or "How many fingers do you have?" Count familiar household items such as pets, shoes, pots and pans.


You can use blocks with your child and sort the blocks by colour or shape.  For example, place all the blue blocks in one pile and the red ones in another. After a time, your child will start to copy you and join in the sorting. These sorting skills will help them:

  • count
  • recognise patterns
  • measure things

Water games

Let your child play with cups and bowls of different sizes in the bath. They'll scoop water and dump it into other containers. This simple play helps your child learn measuring skills.

Reading counting books

Read counting books. There are many counting books for small children that feature brightly-coloured items such as spots, animals and cars. Your child can count these things.

Singing songs

Singing to your child is a great way to introduce numbers even before your child understands numbers or how to count. As your child gets a little older they can join in the song and take turns singing each verse.

There are many songs with numbers which you can sing to or with your child such as:

  • Ten green bottles
  • One, two, three, four, five
  • Five little ducks
  • Ten in the bed

For the words to these counting songs and other nursery rhymes, go to:

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