Counting songs

Counting songs


There are a wide range of songs that promote children’s understanding of numbers and counting skills. The following list of songs expose children to the process of counting forwards and counting backwards from five or ten.

Songs that focus on counting forwards:

  • The Ants Go Marching
  • One, Two Buckle My Shoe
  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive
  • One Potato, Two Potatoes
  • This Old Man
  • Songs that focus on counting backwards:

  • There Were Ten in the Bed
  • Five/Ten Little Ducks
  • Five/Ten Green Speckled Frogs
  • Five/Ten Jellyfish
  • Five/Ten Cheeky Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
  • Five/Ten Currant Buns
  • Five/Ten Little Snowmen
  • Five/Ten Little Men in a Flying Saucer
  • Five/Ten Cheeky Monkeys Swinging in the Tree
  • Five/Ten Fat Sausages
  • Five/Ten Green Bottles

The songs suggested can be viewed on YouTube by searching the song name, however, research proves that child-carer interactions are more beneficial to children’s learning and development and so we encourage you to learn these songs first and sing them to your child.

Promote learning by:

  1. Using your fingers, or toys/objects, to show the number of objects in the song. Connecting the words for each number to the visual of the number of fingers, toys or objects supports children’s understanding that numbers represent an amount.
  2. While singing songs that focus on counting backwards, clearly show one finger/object being taken away (hidden) each time and emphasize the next number in the sequence. Visually seeing an object being taken away and discovering that the resulting number is getting smaller will support children’s early understandings of subtraction.
  3. While singings songs that focus on counting forwards, hold up fingers to represent each number in the song. Connecting the number of fingers to the numbers in the song and recognising that we can use our fingers to count to ten supports children’s understandings of counting.
  4. If your child is familiar with the songs and capable of repeating the words and actions in the songs, encourage them to sing along with you adding/subtracting a number for each line in each song.


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