Little Counting Bears are great manipulatives to have in your home or classroom. They can be used for a wide variety of activities for toddlers up through at least kindergarten.
They can help build a variety of skills including fine motor skills, color recognition, number recognition and other basic math skills.
The bears can be used alone or with various printable worksheets. Kids will love the cute teddy bears which come in several fun colors.
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In this post I’m going to lay out 15 different activities you can do with counting bears. You can do some without worksheets, make your own worksheets, or purchase my counting bears printable pack at the bottom of this post.
I’ve also got 10 FREE counting bear activities worksheets so you can check them out (these 10 are also included in the full pack).
Use them at home as part of homeschool math learning or for a math center at a preschool.
Counting Bears Manipulatives
There are many different sets of counting bears out there. For my worksheets all you need are the bears in the basic six colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. They’re basically rainbow bears.
You can also buy sets that come with matching colored cups or other accessories.
If you don’t have bears you could use any small math manipulatives in these six colors to complete most of the activities. You could also use actual gummy bears, jolly ranchers, or simply cut construction paper into small squares.
Be sure you are supervising young children with whatever you use as many of these items can be choking hazards.
Counting Bear Activities
Let’s go over 15 different ideas for counting bear activities! Some of the activities will appear more than once because they will be the same activity but made a bit more difficult.
I’m listing the activities as Easy, Medium, or Hard. The easy ones should be okay for many toddlers and young preschoolers. Medium and Hard will be good for preschool or kindergarten age kids depending on their abilities.
The Easy activities mostly focus on color recognition and sorting while Medium and Hard are mostly math activities.
You know your child best so choose some that will be easy and just for fun and some that will challenge them and help grow their skills.
*Almost all the worksheets can be used as full pages or cut into squares, strips etc. so that your child can focus on one activity at a time.
You can also then laminate them and use them as part of a math activity center or so that you can use then again and again at home. I recommend this laminator for at home use.
1. Color Sorting (Easy)
The first activity is of course the easiest one, a very basic sorting activity. You can cut out each color bear or just lay out the 3 pages as is.
Grab a couple scoops of bears and have your child match the bears to the correct colored big bear.
You could also use large circle of construction paper in the corresponding colors.
2. Color Match (Easy)
Next is a different way to match colors. Instead of simply grouping them according to color your child will match one bear to each circle of the same color.
This is also a great activity for fine motor skills as they try to stand up each bear on their own little circle.
3. Color Matching (Easy)
For this activity your child will need a crayon or pencil. (You can also laminate the sheets and have them use a dry erase marker.)
Draw a line from the purple bear to the purple cups, they can draw from dot to dot or from object to object. Repeat for the other bears.
This is another activity that helps with fine motor control. Kids need to develop pen control so they can write letters and numbers later on.
4. Sort By Color – Basic Graphing (Easy)
This is another color sorting activity, but it’s also a form of basic graphing. Children can sort the bears either lying down or standing up in the squares.
Once they have sorted the group of bears you’ve given them it’s time to ask questions like:
- How many blue bears did you have?
- Which color did you have the most of? (Help by asking which line is tallest or longest.)
- Which color did you have the least amount of? (Help by asking which is shortest.)
These early activities all focus on learning and practicing colors and grouping. Check out my other fun ideas for teaching colors to kids.
5. What Comes Next? – Basic Patterns (Easy)
The last easy activity I have is basic ABAB patterns. These simple repeating patterns are the first patterns your child will learn to do.
They can put bears over the pictures or just add the two they need on the end to complete the sequence.
If you don’t have bears they can just color in the squares the proper color to finish the pattern.
Try cutting the bear pattern cards apart to help your child focus on one pattern at a time. My 3 year definitely needed a bit of help figuring this one out.
Now we’re moving into the Medium and Hard activities where we’re switching the focus to numbers but still using colors to keep things fun and interesting.
Want the FREE Printables?
Join our email list to get free printable pages including Color Sorting (3 pages), Color Matching (1 page), Basic Patterns (1 page), Count & Mark (1 page), Which has more (2 pages), Bear Graphing (1 page), and Bear Addition (1 page). That’s ten pages of counting bears fun!
To get all 41 pages of counting bears activities you can grab the full set at the end of this post or by visiting my shop page.
6. Count & Mark (Medium)
The count & mark worksheet asks the child to count the bears then identify the correct number. They can then mark the number with a dab-a-dot marker, color it in with a crayon, or simply X it.
These can also be cut apart, laminated, and used as count & clip cards. Have child clip something like a clothespin onto the correct number.
Working the clothespins is also great for fine motor skills.
7. Which has More? (Medium)
This activity is a simple which has more activity. Have your child count each set of bears in a row, then circle which one has more.
Repeat for the rest. You can also set this activity up without the worksheets. Simply lay out two sets of bears, using 2 different colors will help. Have your child count each set and point to the one with more.
8. Trace & Count (Medium)
Tracing numbers is a great precursor to writing numbers. Tracing them either with just their finger or with an actual pencil will help start to develop the muscle memory and pen control they need to write numbers.
They’ll need to master writing their numbers if they’re going to start writing out math problems.
After they trace the number they can add the correct number of bears to that square.
9. What Comes Next – Advanced Patterns (Medium)
In the first patterns activity we did the simplest ABAB patterns.
These patterns are a bit more advanced and cover the ABCABC, AABAAB, ABBABB patterns.
You can use worksheets like the ones in my counting bears set or simply use your bears or other items to set up patterns for your child to complete.
10. Bear Graphing & Worksheet (Medium)
The earlier graphing activity just involved sorting the bears by color. Now we’re ready to do it in more of an actual graph format.
Help your child read the graph once they have categorized all the bears by going across to the number to figure out how many of each color bear there are.
There is also a worksheet to go with this where they can answer some questions about their graph.
The last set of activities I’ve leveled hard but you could also call them Level 3. They are a continuation of the skills kids have been building in the previous activities.
These are probably best for older preschoolers and kindergarten age kids, but you’ll know when you’re child is ready.
11. Count & Write (Hard)
With this count and write activity we start to connect counting and writing out the numbers.
If you’re kids are still new to writing numbers you may need to draw examples for them after they tell you how many bears there are.
This is a great one to laminate so they can easily erase mistakes or practice again.
12. Read & Count (Hard)
While this is called “read and count” it doesn’t truly require reading since the number is there and the color is written in it’s own color.
But it does provide them with a new way to obtain the information. By doing the same thing in different ways it helps to reinforce the concept.
The goal is for them to identify how many and what color bears they need, then place them in the square.
It comes as a whole worksheet but you can cut them apart so they can focus on one at a time.
13. Count & Graph Worksheet (Hard)
This activity is very similar to the graphing activity in the medium activity section. We’re just adding on an extra layer.
For this worksheet, before they graph they make a prediction about what will happen.
It introduces some basic science concepts and lets them practice visually adding up groups of objects.
For an extra challenge instead of placing the bears on the graph they can count all the bears of one color then color that bar of the graph by filling in the correct number of squares.
This will help further develop their graphing skills.
14. Which Comes First – Ordering Activity (Hard)
Similar to the “Which is more” activity this one focuses on figuring which has more and putting them in order.
With my worksheet set I provide you with 6 color coded sets for kids to practice with. You can also set this up yourself by putting 3 different amounts of bears in small cups or something that they can easily move around.
There are also lines above where they can write the number once they have them order if desired. (You’d have to laminate the sheet or print out several copies if you want them to write the numbers for each set.)
15. Add up the Bears/Write & Add (Hard)
The very last activity is using counting bears to start practicing some basic addition skills.
It may help kids to get hands on physically lay out the bears and count each one with that 1:1 correspondence. You can make up your own problems using your counting bears but keep it to totals of 10 or less for this age.
The counting bears sets includes additional sheets with spaces to write the number corresponding to each set of bears so that once they finish they can visually see the entire math problem written out.
Want the full Counting Bears Activity Set?
You can purchase the full set right here, from our shop page, or in my Etsy store. The pages print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper and I recommend using cardstock or laminating the pages if you plan to use them more than once.
Printables are for personal use only. All printables on Tot School Resources website are the property of totschoolresources.com and may not be sold, used for commercial purposes, or given away for free on your own website.