Page in JapaneseESL, EFL English language teaching site for teachers of elementary and primary school children. Free ESL MP3 songs, free ESL games and teacher training in Japanese

How to teach numbers

Target Language: Numbers

You can find this song on volume 8, the Teacher's Set
And in the new curriculum Level.
Click the pictures, hear them talk!

Owners Club
Bonus Materials...

A4 Flashcards
(What's this?)

+ zero cards
, to make 30, 40, 100, 300 etc.

Mini Cards
(What's this?)

(What's this?)

Dice Game
(What's this?)


Spaghetti Game
(What's this?)

Islands Game
(What's this?)

Snakes & Ladders
(What's this?)

One Card Game
(What's this?)

Owners Club Members can click on the pictures above to print them out

This song is the simplest way to teach the numbers 1 to 12. Do a small jump as you sing each number. Accidentally forget to say 12 each time and the kids go crazy shouting it out! The song starts off really slow, but then gets faster, and faster and faster. You'll be amazed at how quick the kids will be able to do it!

Then you can play some games...

Game 1: Thumb War

1. Kids get into pairs.
2. They try to hold down the thumb of their opponent.
3. The first person to hold down their opponentsf thumb and count to 12 in English wins.


Game 2: Unlucky 13 Timebomb game

Then put them in small groups to play ...

1. Put everyone in groups of between 2 and 10 kids.
2. The first person says either "1", "2" or "3"
3. The next person continues on and can say an additional one, two or three numbers.
E.g. if the first person said "1, 2", the second person can say either "3" or "3,4" or "3,4,5"
4. Continue around the group until one person is forced to say "13". They are now out.
5. Start again from 2.

There are lots of other themes you can follow on to from this one e.g.
How many ... do you have?
Numbers 13-20 Song
How old are you?
What time is it?
Do you have any pets? ( Numbers Mix)
How much?
Rocket Launch.

Plus several games, including:

Animals Card Game
Mingle ( the kids ask a question that has a number for an answer, you shout out the answer and they get into groups of that number)
Bargaining Game

You might also want to have a look at Will Jasprizza's hints and tips for teaching numbers.

Or try simple things like giving the kids telephone numbers and they have to write them down ( try telling them it's Tom Cruise's phone number!). Or tell them the combination to a secret safe you have with a prize inside.

1 -> 12 -> 31 -> 60

It's also a good idea to start teaching numbers 1-12 first rather than just 1-10.
Eleven ( most kids will know "Seven Eleven") and twelve tend to be tough to learn, but introducing them early helps a lot, plus it means the next set of numbers are thirTEEN, fourTEEN, fifTEEN i.e. really simple. But the main reason is that you can quickly flip to telling the time.

Then the next set of numbers you want to try is up to 31. One reason is it helps teach the dates ( if needed), and all the kids will know 31 thanks to the ice cream flavours!

A good activity for teens or twenties is to get the kids to get people's shoe sizes. Teach them "What's your shoe size?" and get them to ask classmates, parents, teachers in the staff room, or get them to go to other classes and ask the kids there. They can then do things like calculating the average shoe size of each grade or other activities that link with their maths lessons.

Next is up to 60, so you can do times like 12:50 or 9:45.

Then it's pretty much up to you, but for big numbers a cool activity is to get pictures and prices for yachts or helicopters or diamond rings, the kids have a lot of fun listening as you say the price, then trying to adapt it to their own currency!

Also have a look at the Online Numbers Game

Like us on Facebook to get a FREE song!

or Get my top tips, games & hints via email

Copyright (C) 1999/2014 by Richard Graham
Main Menu -|- Games -|- Songs -|- BUY CDs -|- Curriculum -|- Help/Advice -|- About the site -|- Contact Me -|- wZp