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Counting Rhymes

Help young children develop their math skills. Read more about activities and rhymes to count with children.

Activity 7: Counting rhymes and songs



Try It Out:

1. Recite or sing the following rhymes to your child.

Fishes in a Pool Hand Gestures
Five little fishes swimming in a pool. [Hold up five fingers]
1 fish said, “The pool is cool.” [Hold up 1 finger]
2 fish said, “The pool is deep.” [Hold up 2 fingers]
3 fish said, “I want to sleep.” [Hold up 3 fingers]
4 fish said, “Let’s dive and dip.” [Hold up 4 fingers]
5 fish said, “I spy a ship.” [Hold up 5 fingers]
The boat comes, and a line goes splash. [Clap when you say “splash”]
Away, away all the fishies dash! [Wiggle all 5 fingers and then hide your hand behind your back]
Now let’s count all of the fishes again: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! [Hold up fingers as you count them]


Five Little Piggies
“It’s time for my piggies to go to bed,” the great big mother piggy said.
So I will count them first to see
If all my piggies came back to me.
[Point and count the child’s fingers or toes]
1 little piggy, 2 little piggies, 3 little piggies dear
4 little piggies, 5 little piggies!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Yes, they’re all here!

2. Recite or sing the rhymes again, and ask your child to join in.

Making the Most of This Activity:

  1. Try this activity during different routines—bath time, bedtime, or while dressing.
  2. Repeat the rhymes multiple times so your child can learn the rhythm, words, and motions.


Did your child sing or hum along with the song, or try to copy your gestures? If not, next time ask your child, “Would you like to sing along with me?”


American Institute for Research


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