Number sense activities are so important in kindergarten and preschool math. It’s important to give kids a variety of counting activities to gain automaticity. I love stocking up on math center ideas for kindergarten. That way you can change things up, but keep working on the same concepts all year. This fun set of Free Back to School Puzzles for Counting to 10 are a great way to ease kids back into school. They are easy to prep, so you can focus on settling into routines, bulletin boards, word searches, and all of the other things as you kick off the school year!

back to school themed counting puzzles

Recommended Grade Level:

School Theme Counting Puzzle Supplies:

  • Printer/Ink
  • Laminating Supplies
  • Paper Cutter

Counting Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten Math

BACK TO SCHOOL MATH ACTIVITIES

COUNTING AND NUMBER RECOGNITION ARE KEY COMPONENTS OF EARLY MATH INSTRUCTION. KIDS NEED HANDS-ON GAMES AND ACTIVITIES TO BECOME FLUENT COUNTING TO 10 AND BEYOND.

Children need lots of practice counting. We do it with songs, oral counting, games, and other hands-on activities that make learning fun.

You can break this activity out on the first day of school! It’s a great activity in your lesson plans to either assess where kids are at, or to give them a hands-on math center in kindergarten that will ease them back to school.

The great thing about these puzzles is that even kids that aren’t fluent counters can be successful because they can look at the picture.

You might use this counting game for preschool or kindergarten during the first week of school, but you can also keep it handy throughout the rest of the year as kids continue to grow at their own pace.

Counting to 10 is an important number sense skill. You can also ask kids to think about numbers before/during/after they complete the puzzle in math class:

  • Can you count to 10?
  • Can you count backwards from 10 to 1?
  • Which number is smallest/largest/in the middle?
  • What number comes after/before 3?
  • What number is between 5 and 7?
These free back to school puzzles are great for practicing counting to 10 with your kindergarteners.

Number Sense Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

TEACHING NUMBER RECOGNITION

PRIMARY MATH INSTRUCTION BUILDS NUMBER SENSE BY TEACHING KIDS TO COUNT, RECOGNIZE, AND WRITE NUMBERS. SCHOOL ACTIVITIES SHOULD BE HANDS-ON AND REPETITIVE.

The number 1-10 puzzles cover a few different math skills in just one activity:

  • One-to-one correspondence
  • Number sequence
  • Number identification
  • Oral counting
These free back to school puzzles are great for practicing counting to 10 with your kindergarteners.

Why Is It Important For Kids To Work On Number Sense Activities?

Preschool and kindergarten math activities and games provide a solid foundation for future math skills, even those they won’t cover until middle school, like algebra!

Number Identification

Number identification is sometimes the first step towards understanding what numbers are. Kids need lots of practice to be able to look at a number and name it appropriately.

Counting Fluency

Being able to count smoothly and effortlessly goes a long way toward ease with future math concepts and skills. It takes lots of preschool counting practice to reach that level of ease.

One-to One Correspondence

Counting groups of objects and assigning each object one more gives meaning to the numbers that kids identify. Then they begin understanding quantity.

Make Connections

Early math games help kids make connections between different numbers. It helps them see 10 is greater than 2, or 5 is an odd number.

How to Make the Back-to-School Counting Puzzles

To Prep:

Print and laminate the puzzles. Use a paper cutter to slice the pieces. I like to keep each puzzle in a plastic storage bag for organization.

To Use:

There are lots of variations of the puzzles depending on each child’s skills. For a younger child, I give them one puzzle at a time.

For someone needing a challenge, I give them 2-3 puzzles mixed together and have them sort the puzzles as they assemble them.

These puzzles are especially great because it’s easy for kids to see where the missing pieces should go. That way, when they miss a number, they can easily see that “6 goes in between 5 and 7” because the picture doesn’t look right.

These free back to school puzzles are great for practicing counting to 10 with your kindergarteners.

Count Objects

After the puzzle is assembled, give the child beads/counters/buttons to place under each number. This will work fine motor skills and one-to-one correspondence.

What’s Missing

After the puzzle is assembled, have the child close his eyes. Remove one or more numbers. The child will open his eyes and identify the missing number(s).

Play a Game

Place the slices of one puzzle upside down in a draw pile. The child must complete the puzzle by drawing each strip one at a time to add an extra challenge.

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back to school themed counting puzzles
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These free back to school puzzles are great for practicing counting to 10 with your kindergarteners.

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Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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