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 encourages children to count the number of beats they hear and to play the same number of beats with their claves.

Equipment required

  • Claves or castanets (you can also just use hands to clap the beats)
  • Your chosen ‘Ralph’s Counting Beats’ tracks
  • Laminated numbers

Link to resources


  • At least 3 weeks so children become familiar with the format and begin to learn to count.

How it works

There are 6 different music tracks which you can choose from. They have a little rhyme as an introduction to cue the beat, and then they have a number of beats (ranging from 1 to 6). After a pause the beats will be played again, and then after a further pause they will be played again (a total of 3 times).

What to do in the class

Sit in a circle, and explain Ralph is going to play a number of beats with his rhythm sticks. Choose one of the music tracks and ask the children to listen carefully and try to count how many he plays. Ask the parents to count with their children to help them understand what to do. Play the track and sing along to the rhyme. When the beats play for the first time show you are listening carefully, it is best to ask the children to put any claves or castanets on the floor so that their fingers are free for counting. Once you have listened, ask the children how many beats did Ralph play. When the beats play again, count along and encourage the children to count too. Then when the beats play for a third time, play the same number of beats with your claves whilst counting along. At the end, perhaps play the same number of beats repeatedly with the children, counting to the set number each time and encouraging the children to count out loud too.

You could print and show the number to the class as you count to it.

Ralph’s Counting Beats

Ralph loves to beat on his drum

Counting on from number 1

Listen carefully as he plays

How many beats does he play today? (three beats)

Play it again Ralph!

1, 2, 3

Ralph played 3 beats

Can you play 3 beats?

1, 2, 3


What to do in a nursery setting

No adaptation necessary.


Whilst this activity works really well as a stand alone game where you do 3 or 4 different numbered beats at a time, it can also be used as an introduction to the ‘Let’s all Count’s songs. Play the same number of beats as your chosen ‘Let’s all Count song’ and play the Counting Beats track first to see if the children can guess what number the song will be focusing on today.