These free printable apple theme counting clip cards are a fun, low-prep way to help your child improve their counting abilities, number recognition, finger strength, and fine motor skills. They’re fun for a preschool fall theme or a special apple theme.
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How to print and and use counting clip cards
Counting clip cards, also called count and clip cards, are a low-prep, reusable, and hands-on way for your child to practice counting and number recognition.
Counting clip cards help your child develop and improve:
- Number sense
- Counting abilities
- Number recognition
- Subitizing skills
- Fine motor skills
Subitizing is the ability to immediately recognize small quantities without consciously counting them. For example, you automatically know when you see four dots on a die that it means “4” without counting them “1, 2, 3, 4” the way a young child needs to. This is instant recognition is subitizing.
Fine motor skills are improved when your child uses a close pin to “clip” their answer. This can be very challenging for little fingers!
If you don’t have a clothespin (or if your child can’t operate one yet), that’s fine. Your child can mark the answers with a manipulative, like a counting bear, pompom, or nature treasure.
For a greater fine motor challenge and added interest, have your littler learner use large tongs or plastic tweezers to place a manipulative. In the image below, you can see my daughter using a graphing page with tweezers and wool balls:
This set of counting bears comes with tongs, cups, and activity cards. It also comes with a reusable storage box. Our box arrived a little dented, but it’s held up to frequent use for eight months at the time of writing. This is the set we personally use and a great way to get started with math manipulatives if you don’t have any yet:
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Materials needed for counting clip cards
You don’t need much time or materials to print and use these apple theme counting cards:
- Your free printable. The download is located further down the post. Look for the row of purple arrows.
- Paper or cardstock. If you’re not laminating the pages, use cardstock. If you are laminating, I recommend 32 lb “premium” paper. It has a surprisingly non-premium price, is thicker than regular printer paper, and is bright white for vibrant images. To see it in use, see this post with the best paper for printables.
- Laminator and laminating pouches. Optional, but recommended to make the cards reusable. Printables typically only last for a couple of uses with young children if they’re not laminated. Laminating at home is easier than dragging your kids to the office supply store to get them laminated and a laminator pays for itself quickly compared to the cost of having individual sheets done.
- Scissors or a paper trimmer/cutter. I use this paper trimmer.
- A clothespin or manipulative to mark answers. If your pages are laminated, your child can use a dry erase marker or a dry erase crayon.
What is a dry erase crayon? It’s basically a wax crayon. We use the Stabilo Woody crayons/pencils and they’re amazing. The Stabilo Woody line has a large, easy to grasp wood body. They’re water soluble and can be used as watercolor pencils or in lieu of a dry erase marker. They wipe off easily with a damp cloth or paper towel, which makes clean up quick and easy. They can even be used to make coloring pages reusable. See them in action in this post with free printable dinosaur coloring pages.
Even if you have a clothespin and don’t need them for this particular activity, check out the Stabilo Woody line.
- XXL lead applies as much pigment as 8 colored pencils at once
- Large width ideal for smaller hands
How to use counting clip cards
First, download your printable and print the pages you want. The cards have numbers 1-12 with 4 cards per page.
Laminate the pages before cutting them out, unless your laminator instructs otherwise. This saves you from cutting everything twice.
Cut the cards out.
Count, clip, and enjoy! My daughter is still working on left to right order. She’s capable of counting to 12 by herself now, but I still like to review and count with her by counting from left to right, top to bottom. This is reading order in English and Spanish. (If you’re new here – we’re a bilingual household. Be sure to check out these free printable Spanish alphabet tracing pages to help your preschooler learn Spanish, too.)
If you don’t have a clothespin, your child can place a manipulative on top of their answer or mark it with a dry erase crayon/marker. They’re a fantastic art supply that will quickly become a go-to favorite!
You can make the cards self-checking for your child by marking a mark with a Sharpie on the back of each card that corresponds to the position of the correct number. You can also mark the correct answer with a sticker, as long as it sticks well on the laminated card.
Free printable apple theme count and clip cards PDF download
Alright, let’s get to the free printables!
Please note that the lovely apple clipart is copyright by Digital Artsi and is used under license.
Like all free preschool printables on The Artisan Life, this printable is licensed for personal and classroom use. You are also welcome to use it with scout troops, homeschool co-ops, etc. Basically, as long as you are personally organizing the activity, it’s fine to use these. Yes, you are also welcome to leave it for a substitute. Thank you to the considerate readers who’ve emailed to ask.
I hope your little learner has lots of fun with these apple themed counting clip cards!
Be sure to grab these additional printables for your fall theme below: