Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Children should be exposed to counting well before they are capable of counting themselves, as there are lots of concepts and skills involved which they need to be aware of long before they can do it! They need to understand that objects can be counted, that counting relates to quantity, they need to learn the names of numbers and learn the order of those words. Children will learn to count at very different ages.  This activity is based on the game Simon Says but with Ralph issuing the instructions. Instead of asking the children to touch parts of their bodies, Ralph asks to children to do an action to a set number.

Equipment required

  • Ralph
  • Laminated numbers


Two to three weeks

How it works

Children are told to do a particular action a set a number of times by Ralph, counting to that number as they go.

What to do in the class

Put the numbers 1 to 5 on the walls. Explain that Ralph is going to help the children learn to count. Take the children round to each number and ask them/ tell them what the number is. Then take them back to the middle of the room and ask the children to find a particular number (3 for example). Once the children have found it, tell them that Ralph is going to ask them to do several thing to that number. Hold Ralph to your ear and pretended to listen to what he says and then gave them the instruction, for example, “Ralph say’s jump 3 times.”

Allow the children time to try and do their action the required number of times, with their parents help – they may need to take the child’s hands and do the action for them whilst counting – focus on the child saying the numbers, rather than doing the action. When they have had a go, then demonstrate it yourself, counting slowly and getting the children to join you. Repeat with different actions. If children are confident with the concept, move to another number and repeat the activity.

Aim to do about two numbers each week.


Possible actions to try:

  • Touch your head
  • Touch your knees
  • Clap your hands
  • Touch the floor
  • March
  • Jump
  • Turn around
  • Stamp
  • Bend

Adaptations for older/younger children

For younger children, stick to one number, doing lots of different actions for that single number. Also stick to lower numbers.

To make it harder for older children, move more quickly between different numbers. Also use larger numbers and make the actions little more challenging for older children. For example, blinking or hopping.

What to do in a nursery setting

No changes required.