Counting to 100 Outdoor Math Activity – Busy Toddler

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Counting to 100 in the best outdoor activity!

Need a fun little win that helps in more ways than one? Try this Counting to 100 activity – it has everything good we’re looking for in early childhood activities.

RELATED: Looking for more outdoor activities for kids? I’ve got a great list!

Kids learning about 100 with an outdoor math activity

Let’s break down this easy outdoor counting activity

This is an “onion activity”: it has an epic amount of layers.

There’s the counting aspect.

There’s the grouping by 10 aspect.

There’s the seeing 100 aspect.

And then (we’ll talk more in a second) the epic “sittervising” aspect of this.


RELATED: Curious how I teach my kids at home? Check out Playing Preschool, my homeschool preschool program.

Kids learning about 100 with an outdoor math activity

Here’s how I set up the Counting to 100 activity

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  • Cardboard box or large sheet of paper
  • Marker
  • Outdoor items – rocks, sticks, leaves, pine cones, or whatever else you have access to

On my piece of cardboard, I made four sections. I wrote 100 in each space.

Next up: my kids started collection their groups.

Kids learning about 100 with an outdoor math activity

I broke this down into groups of 10

100 is a big number. It’s intimidating. It’s a lot.

So instead, we break it into a smaller and more manageable 10 groups of 10. My kids were told to collect groups of 10.

For my 3 year old, this meant repeatedly counting or listening to siblings counting to 10. That’s so powerful for their rote counting memorization.

Kids learning about 100 with an outdoor math activity

After they had collected 10 groups of 10, we count all the groups together (depending on kid ages/skills, you’ll want to take the lead here) then we stood back to marvel at the group of 100.

Wow! That’s 100! That’s what 100 looks!

And then we move on to the next group of 100.

Kids learning about 100 with an outdoor math activity

The magical learning moment once ALL sets of 100 are collected and counted.

That’s when some deep learning happens. In this moment, your child can see 100 objects in various sizes. So the questions are:

Are these all 100? Which has more? Which has less? How can this one and that one be the same when they are all different sizes?

It is a complicated and tricky question but it’s an important one for kids to consider. It’s a big math skill to understand the size of an object doesn’t affect the value of the object.

Kids learning about 100 with an outdoor math activity

But look at all this sittervising…

Sittervising is my made up term for sitting while supervising.

When kids are finding 400 items in your yard… it takes time! Time that I get to sit and watch and drink my coffee.

Counting to 100 makes the abstract concrete

It’s hard for children to wrap their minds and heads around “100” – it almost takes on mythical like qualities.

But when we can make it concrete and actually touch 100… that’s a magical moment!

Kids learning about 100 with an outdoor math activity

Let’s talk learning standards.

If you have a school age child, here are the Common Core State Standards that this activity address:


Count to 100 by ones and by tens.

When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.

Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.

First Grade:

10 can be thought of as a bundle of ten ones — called a “ten.”

This really is a gem of a math activity – try Counting to 100 today!

COUNTING TO 100: How many is 100? Find out in this great activity from Busy Toddler to support math play outside. A fun and easy activity!


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