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Number Recognition Dot Match

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A recognition activity for preschoolers

Can your child count to 10 (or more) easily, but struggle when it comes to recognising numbers? That’s because the two skills are different! Whilst Z (3.8 years) can happily count, she can currently only recognise a few numbers. To work on this, we’ve been doing a fair few recognition activities of late…

Before reading on, it’s worth noting that this is not a forced activity. Z is curious about numbers is often asking, ‘What number is that?’ when we are out and about. I also keep the activities we do fun – no worksheets insight! – and she is free to stop whenever she wants. With this activity for example, the duration was between 10-15 minutes.

As with all of our preschool based activities, we like to combine skills where possible. Whilst the key learning goal here is to recognise numbers, the activity also reinforces counting and works on fine motor skills. We primarily combine skills because I like to keep our ‘table work’ short and sharp. Z spends most of her days outdoors or playing freely.


  • White paper
  • Crayons
  • large dot stickers

What to do:

Before showing this activity to Z, I wrote the numbers 1 – 10 on the sheet, along with the corresponding amount in dots. This is because Z can count objects confidently and I wanted her to associate the numbers with the dots being shown. I colour coded the numbers to help her make sense of it too.

I introduced the activity to Z by explaining what we would do – count the dots by sticking on the dot stickers over the top – we started by counting the numbers together first.

Z happily got on with the activity and found it the correct level of challenge for now. It is certainly something I will repeat with her over the coming weeks until she is confident recognising the numbers 1-10.


I would always start small when it comes to activities like this. I recommend starting as small as 1-3, then 1-5 and so on. You don’t want your child to get frustrated and lose interest.

Of course, if your child is confident with counting and recognising the numbers 1-10, try similar for 11-15 or 11 to 20.

Key Benefits

  • Counting
  • Number recognition – reading skills
  • Language development
  • Fine motor skills – use of dot stickers.

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Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is the founder of Teach Investigate Play. She helps parents navigate the early years by providing meaningful and simple activities. She also owns 'Get Set Social Media' - a social media consultancy for small businesses. From the UK, now living in Vienna (via Australia). About page has more!

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