This fun board game will help your pre-k, preschool, and kindergarten kids practice counting skills, one-to-one correspondence, and turn-taking.
We played this game in my class last week and it was a huge hit as it always is every year! Years ago, before teachers had printables online, I made these same board games with stickers. You can see my sticker dinosaur board game on my “Ways to Teach Counting” post. I also have a printable St. Patrick’s version of this board game.
This time, I decided to make more of a “general” version of this game as a printable for you. You can use it with different themes just by changing out the math manipulatives you use. You can use the game with counting bears, like I have in the pictures. You can use dinosaur counters for a dinosaur theme, mini motors counters for a transportation theme, bug counters for a bug theme. You could even use mini erasers for different themes or table scatter for different holidays.
It’s very versatile, so you can use it with almost any theme, whenever you need to practice counting with kids!
How to Prepare the Board Game
Download and print the board game (you will find the file below). Attach the two pieces of the game together using some clear shipping tape. You can laminate it before or after you tape it.
Find some playing pieces for the kids to use. I like to use marker caps, such as the ones from dry erase markers, highlighters, or Mr. Sketch markers. Make sure each player has a different color.
Choose a math manipulative: any kind of counters, table scatter, mini erasers, etc. Put the manipulatives in a basket or bowl in the middle of the game. You decide the number of manipulatives you want in the basket.
You’ll also need a game die. You can buy those at a dollar store or make one by drawing dots or writing numbers on a wooden cube. You can use one die or two dice if you want kids to count higher and add the dots from the two dice together.
How to Play the Board Game
Each player will chose a color for their playing piece. In this game, kids can start anywhere they want on the game board. It really doesn’t matter where they start. If you have kids who just need direction, you might want to instruct all the kids to place their piece on a star or on a green square or something similar.
Choose who goes first, that child will roll the game die, and move their playing piece that number of spaces. If they land on a star, they get to pick a manipulative from the basket in the middle. They keep it until the end of the game. The next player takes a turn and so on.
Continue playing until the game ends. There are two ways you could decide when the game ends.
- You determine the number of manipulatives in the basket (maybe there are 10 or 15). When all of the manipulatives are gone from the basket, the game is over.
- Or, you set a timer for a certain length of time. If you know kids’ attention spans will last 20 minutes, you can set the timer for 20 minutes. Use whatever works for your group. When the timer goes off, the game ends.
I always have my students count their manipulatives to see how many they have at the end of the game. No one gets upset because they are so trained that we don’t play win/lose games in our class. Nothing wrong with win/lose games for older children, but they don’t work well with preschoolers.
Make it a Cooperative Game
Here’s a slightly different way you can play the game, which would be especially great for younger kids and great for cooperation at any age. Instead of each child having a different color playing piece, use only one playing piece for everyone. The children still take turns and still collect manipulatives, but only move one piece around the game.
Set your timer for whatever length of time you choose and decide on the amount of manipulatives you want in your basket. Kids take turns rolling the die, moving spaces, and collecting manipulatives if they land on a star. The group wins the game if they beat the timer (if they collect all of the manipulatives before the timer goes off). Even if the timer goes off before they’ve collected them all, have the children put all of their manipulatives together and count to see how many the group got.
Download the Printable Board Game
Download: Counting Skills Board Game
Note: This is a free printable, just click to download.