A deck of cards is all you need for this simple no-prep card counting math activity from Alisha!
A deck of cards is such a versatile tool and can be used in so many ways. They can be used for card games, sorting, building, and learning.
This fun and simple no-prep card counting math activity is a great way to sneak in some counting, number recognition, and one-to-one correspondence practice.
Check out these 40 Awesome Number Activities for Preschoolers.
You will only need three supplies for this activity. How cool is that!
- A deck of playing cards (A-10 only)
- Small gems (affiliate link) or similar small objects
- A tray or playing surface (I used an old Melissa and Doug wooden tray)
Set Up Your No-Prep Card Counting Math Activity
The first thing to do is remove all of the Joker, King, Queen, and Jack cards from your deck. I chose to keep the Aces in to represent the number one.
Once, you have removed the unneeded cards, you can now create the playing space.
Simply put the deck of cards (A-10) face down and place the gems in a pile next to the deck.
Let the card counting begin
To begin the activity, simply have your child flip over the first card on the deck.
Ask your child to say the number on the card.
Then your child will take one gem at a time to cover up each of the suits on the card.
For example, if your child flipped over a three of hearts, they would cover the three hearts with three gems.
As your child is covering up each suit, they can count the numbers out loud.
They will say “one, two, three, four” and so on. Or you can count together.
Once your child fills up their card, they remove the gems from the card. Place the completed card next to them.
Then start all over again! Choose a new card and repeat the steps over again.
Have more than one child?
Have your children take turns flipping and filling up their card. Or divide the deck of cards into multiple piles and provide each child with their own set of gems.
Enjoy these fun activities for two or more children under four.
The card counting activity continues until the deck of cards is gone and/or your child’s attention wanders.
If your child is ready, you could show simple subtraction by removing the gems from the card.
For example, once the seven of spades is filled up, then remove one at a time and talk about the number that is left.
When one is taken away or subtracted, then six are left. You can repeat this until the card is empty.
You could also practice addition. Leave some of the spots blank and cover others with gems.
Ask: “I need to make seven. How many more gems do I need to get to seven?”
Here are some great activities for learning math facts.
Another fun twist to this activity is to exchange a regular sized deck of cards for a giant jumbo deck (affiliate link).
It’s just plain fun to play with a jumbo deck of cards!