Counting with Beads

Enrichment Therapies

July 17, 2017

By Haley Hall, B.A.
LEAP Instructor & Learning Specialist

Are you looking for a fun new way to practice math with your little one? This simple activity helps improve a child’s one-to-one correspondence, counting, and fine motor skills. You will need pipe cleaners, pony beads, masking tape, and a permanent marker. Cut the pipe cleaners in half and put a piece of masking tape around the top of it. Write any single-digit number on the tape. If your child is able to complete the activity with single-digit numbers, try writing numbers 11 through 20. Allow the child to choose a pipe cleaner and trace the number on the tape with their finger. Ask, “What number is that?” Next, bring out the beads and ask the child to string on the corresponding number of beads onto the pipe cleaner. As the child puts each bead onto the pipe cleaner they’re developing their fine motor skills. Once the child is finished, have them check their work and count the beads they put onto each one. After they’ve completed several pipe cleaners, you could ask them to line them up in numerical order. You also could discuss the colors of the beads, and even string them on in a pattern.

I used this activity in our Academic and Social Language Prep summer program and the students loved it! Depending on the level of your child, they may be able to complete this activity on their own, or they may require your assistance in counting and/or stringing on the beads. For more early math activities, check out this post about number recognition, or this post about practicing early math skills with games. You can also watch my therapy talk about early math concepts.

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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