Math lesson ideas for the Number 3 (three)

Number 3

Objective:   Help children recognize the number 3 and the word “three”, use numbers for counting, count 3 objects, learn to write “3” and “three”.


  • Find an art print or picture from a calendar or magazine with good examples of “three”.
  • Optional:  Have small animals or objects for counting.
  • Have some stickers.
  • Write the number “3” and the word “three” on a word card.  Use the “1 one” and the “2 two” word cards from previous lessons.
  • Decide on a simple book, poem or song that has good examples of three.  Possibly use, “Three Little Monkeys”.  (Included at the end.)
  • Have paper and pencil for each child.  (It is fun to use a colored paper or colored pencils.)

Lesson Ideas:

  • Display the word card with “3 three”.  Discuss the difference between the number “3” and the word “three”.  Compare to the number “1 one” and number “2 two” cards.
  • Read a simple book or poem. (Three Little Monkeys)  Discuss the examples of three.
  • Show the picture and have each child pick out three things in the picture.
  • Give each child three objects.  Have them line them up, then touch each object as they count them as a group.
  • Show how to make the number 3.  Have them make them in the air with their finger.  Have them close their eyes and write the number 3 in the air.
  • Give each child a paper and pencil.  Have them write their names, help them if needed.  Show the word card again for “3 three”.  Have them write a number “3” several times, and the word “three”.  (If a child has a hard time writing their letters, write the word “three” with a yellow pencil and have them trace it.)  Put out stickers and have them select 3 for their paper.  (They could also draw three things.)

Extension ideas:  Possibly include some counting, comparing or patterning activities with small animals.  (more and less, same and different, ABC pattern, etc.)

Three Little Monkeys

  • Three little monkeys swinging in the trees
  • Teasing Mister Alligator,
  • “You can’t catch me! You can’t catch me!”
  • Along comes Mister Alligator quiet as can be.
  • Snap! (Clap)

(Repeat with one less monkey until there are none left.)

  • No little monkeys!


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