How To Teach Numbers – Children’s English ESL, EFL

Teaching children numbers and counting from 1-100 is an important part of any young learners English Class (ESL, EFL). In this post I will talk about

  • How to teach Numbers 1-10 to beginner students
  • How to teach Numbers 1-100 and beyond
  • Songs to help students learn numbers
  • Games and activities to practice numbers with your students.


There are many different ways to teach numbers. I do not think it is necessary to translate numbers to the students native language. The students will be able to understand numbers by counting. Here are a few ways I introduce numbers to young students ages 3-6:

  • I use my fingers and count from 1-10. Encourage your students to follow along.
  • Teach the numbers with flashcards
  • Count objects and students
  • Do actions and count. For example, jumping or standing on one foot and counting to ten.

I sometimes do all of the above in one lesson! It can be fun and by the end students will really begin to count in English.


I have a big soft dice in my classroom. I use this for a simple game with my students.

First, we count the numbers on each side from 1-6. Next, I roll the dice and ask the students what is the number on the top of the dice when the roll stops. My dice has numbers, but you can use any dice and count the dots.

Now it is the students turn. If you have a big class, get volunteers. For smaller classes, every student can have a turn. Be careful using small dice if you have young students. Look for a dice like you see in the picture above.


I use Let’s Count 1 to 10 to teach numbers in preschool English class and the kids love it! It’s simple and fun. Kids from 2-10 years old will enjoy this simple song and dance. 

Before teaching the song, I start by teaching the numbers from 1-10. 

I teach the numbers in a few different ways: 

  • I use my fingers and count from 1-10. Encourage your students to follow along.
  • Teach the numbers with flashcards
  • Count objects and students
  • Do actions and count like jumping or standing on one foot and counting to ten.

Next, I teach the words of the song with the actions. 

You can see the actions in the video above. It is simple clapping from side to side while counting to ten. I do this first before trying with the melody. 

Now sing the song!

After teaching the actions to the song it is now time to give it a try. If you know the melody, sing the song without background music first. Finally, add the music and sing the song with your students!

Why so many steps?

Young learners need repetition to learn. While you are doing the steps to teach numbers, keep it fun for your students. Be a little silly, smile and laugh. Also, do not expect too much from your students for a first try. 

You can download a Free MP3 of the song here and it is also available on Spotify and other streaming services!


When my students are comfortable with numbers 1-10 I begin introducing higher numbers. For numbers 11-100 I use flashcards. It becomes more difficult to count objects when you get into higher numbers.

Here are some tips:

  • Teach 1-20 first. Students may have challenges with numbers 11, 12, 13, and 15. Go slowly with these numbers.
  • After your students can count to 20, introduce 20-100 counting by tens: 20, 30, 40, etc.
  • When your students are comfortable counting to 100 this way you can count up by one and teach 21, 22, 23, 24, etc.
  • You do not have to count from 1-100 by 1s every class. I usually count 1-30 by 1s and then by tens to 100.
  • After 100 you can introduce 1,000 and 10,000 young learners have fun counting such high numbers


In the video above your students can practice counting from 1-100 by 1s and get some exercise! Give it a try.


Believe it or not I have a song and video to count to 1,000! This video might be good for your students to listen to in the background or at home.


There are so many games you can use to teach numbers. With young English learners ages 3-6 I use two simple games.

  1. Touch Game – Put numbers flashcards on the table or floor and ask your students to touch a number you say. For young learners you can start with numbers 1-3 and as the students advance add more numbers. You can also make it a competition by having two students at a time touch a number you say. The faster student wins.
  2. Quiz Game – Show a number flashcard to your students and have them call out the number they see. You can start slowly with younger students. As your students get better, show them the card quickly by spinning it around. Have fun with this.

I hope this has been helpful. Be creative and use a lot of repetition and review. I teach numbers every class. Numbers are important and it doubles as great English pronunciation practice!

Happy Teaching!
Dream English