My toddler had so much fun pushing ping pong balls through a shoe box with our Ping Pong Name Recognition Activity that I decided to build on that enthusiasm and extend it to a math activity as well. I just love it when I can re-purpose a learning activity across the curriculum! As my little one is beginning to show interest in counting and numbers, I felt a hands-on way such as this would be a great introduction to early numeral skills. This activity touches on counting, number identification, and one-to-one correspondence.
Ping Pong Push Counting Activity
How to Set Up the Counting Activity
We used the same shoe box with holes already cut out so that our ping pong balls would easily sit atop of them, but also be able to be pushed through. If you’re just getting started with this activity, you will need to gather the following materials:
Affiliate links included.
I labeled the ping pong balls and holes on the box with the numbers 1-5. This would allow for each ball to be matched up with its corresponding number after each round of play.
Time to Play
We began playing by counting aloud to five. Once I was certain her rote counting was accurate, I showed her the ping pong balls and the numbers written on them. I demonstrated one-to-one correspondence, touching and identifying each number as I counted. I then asked her to touch each ball as she named the number. She was more than ready to start pushing the balls through the holes, and so the fun began!
With each number that she pushed through, we counted aloud, reinforcing the number recognition and one-to-one correspondence.
I think her favorite part of this number recognition and counting activity was watching the balls disappear so that she could remove the box from the lid and start all over again! Each time she reset the game, it was great practice for matching and naming the numbers.
My preschooler wanted in on the fun, so I gave her a little added challenge and wrote number words on the ping pong balls. We followed the same steps for review and she was just as excited to match the number words with their corresponding numerals and push! I’d say after many rounds of reading, counting, and pushing, we’re doing pretty good with recognizing and counting smaller numbers!
I plan on leaving this activity set out for independent play and review. You could extend this activity to work on larger numbers, skip counting, or even colors and their color words. The possibilities are endless and fun!