What is on our Montessori-inspired shelves: counting and number recognition activities

Hello, thanks for stopping by! I am here today to share with you the activities that I set up for my 3-years old son to support his interest in counting. 

Before I begin, I want to say a few things:
  • teaching children number recognition and counting makes sense only once they have shown an interest in them, there is no need to force toddlers to master those skills,
  • I prepared most of these activities a while ago when I was testing out a laminating machine, which was playing up and I finally needed to return it. That's why there is so much plastic in here. 

I hope you enjoy reading and try some of these activities out 🙂

On the first shelf, I have 2 activities. The first one is ten 2-piece puzzles from North Parade Publishing Ltd. (I found them in TKMaxx). The child simply counts the items on one half of a puzzle and matches it to the corresponding number on the other half. What is important, only the correct pieces will fit together, so this is a fully self-correcting activity. This means that the child will be able to complete and correct it without the help of a parent. 
These particular puzzles aren't available anywhere at the moment, but you can find plenty of alternatives these days. I always see similar sets in TKMaxx, and in every other charity shop I go to. 

These are Montessori-inspired sandpaper numbers, that I made a while ago using some scrap paper, sandpaper, glue and cardboard. I invite my son to repeat the names of the numbers as well as to trace each number with his finger two to three times. This is a fantastic learning material, so I would advise everyone to either buy the original Montessori sandpaper numbers or to DIY them. 

On the second shelf, I have a simple activity that helps with both counting and number recognition. I have made these counting cards using stamps, but if you don't have stamps, you can draw little pictures on a paper or print the ready cards out (there are plenty of them available for free online). 
In this activity, the child counts the pictures on the card and matches the correct number to it (I used some magnetic numbers, but you can use anything you want/ have).
As you can see, these aren't the prettiest cards in the world, but I like to make the most out of everything I own (hence the stamps). 

On the third shelf, we have a Montessori Hundred Board, which is a wooden board divided into 100 squares, and it comes with 100 number tiles and a control chart. 
It is a perfect material for teaching children number recognition and counting and helps them understand number order. Obviously, there is so much more you can do with it, for example, skip counting.
At the moment Kian practices placing numbers 1-10 in order. 
I bought this board off of eBay, so it is a slightly smaller version to the original Montessori boards, but it works perfectly fine for us, at home. 

On the fourth shelf, I have a simple number recognition matching activity, made using old bottle caps and a bottom piece of an upcycled sweets box. Of course, you don't need the exact piece of plastic for this activity, instead, you can use a plate, a paper plate, or even a piece of paper that you will write numbers on. The idea of this activity is for the child to match the numbers on the bottle caps to the numbers on the 'board'. 
To make it more challenging, you can ask the child to transfer the caps using tongs or handy scoopers, but I decided to stick to the simple matching activity here. 

Fun fact- the top part of this sweets box was used to make my waterfall diorama last year. You can find the step-by-step tutorial to it here

I found these puzzles in a charity shop a while ago, and they came without a box or even a stamp with a brand name on it, so, unfortunately, I don't know where they are from. Google isn't helping either here. I love them, however, because they are sort of two in one puzzle. Kian really enjoys the finger-counting feature here, so he normally counts the animals, then matches the corresponding number to the result he got, places the puzzle in the sloth, and then shows the number with his fingers. 

All in all, a well invested £1.99.

Another super simple activity here, it helps with counting, number recognition and fine motor skills. The child reads the number on the card and transfers on it a correct amount of blocks using tongs provided. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and please let me know what type of activities would you like me to prepare next.
Thank you for your time!

Gosia x


  1. These are some great activities to try. I remember having number puzzles like that when I was younger!

    1. My son loves them :) Thank you do much for visiting my blog :) x

  2. Love this. It is so important to combine play and learning this is how kids learn best. Some great ideas here for sure xx

  3. It sounds like you have some great things around to help teach numbers via play. I’m sure it helps so much learning in a fun way.

  4. Such great ideas and suggestions, thank you so much for sharing! My little girl has really been struggling with number recognition so I am going to try some of these with her I think as a more fun approach to it!

  5. This is a lovely suggested list of counting ideas. The wooden number board is lovely. Numbers are so better understood when the mind can visualise them.


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