Salt Dough Numbers – Learning to Count and Recognise Numbers.

Teach your child to count and recognise numbers  with this simple and affordable salt dough activity. I have to say, this has been one of my daughters favourite activities. I’m not sure whether it’s the bright colours on the numbers or the use of our new fine motor skills equipment, but she absolutely loves this activity.Number Play Tray

Making Salt Dough

Making salt dough together was great fun and at the same time children get to learn about weights, amounts and capacity. Here is the simple salt dough recipe that we used.

Salt Dough Recipe

You will need:

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water


  • Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.
  • Gradually mix in the water a little at a time, until the dough is smooth.
  • Knead the dough, and then you’re ready to start making your creations.
  • Place your creations onto baking paper and bake in the oven for about 2 hours at 100 degrees C, until your salt dough creations are dry and hard.
  • Alternatively you can zap your salt dough in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it’s dry and hard.

Please note that salt dough can be poisonous for dogs so please keep the dough away from dogs.

Learning to Count and Recognise Numbers

We chose to use numbers 1 to 5, but you can make as many salt dough numbers as you like. We shaped the salt dough into the numbers by rolling the dough out into a sausage and bending it into position. I then place my thumb into the dough to make holes. Each number had the correct corresponding holes.

Once the salt dough numbers were out of the oven and cooled, we painted them yellow and painted the holes red so the holes stood out. We then left them over night to dry out.

Easy Salt Dough Recipe

The following day I placed the brightly coloured salt dough numbers into a play tray, along with enough pom pom’s for all of the holes and our new set of fine motor tools.


For more play tray activities click here. 


A Fine Motor Skills Activity

I had ordered my daughter some fine motor tools to help with her scissor skills. When I had set the play tray up I gave her the squeezy tweezers, the gator grabber, and the handy scooper out of the set. She couldn’t wait to use them. She immediately started to pick up the pom poms with her tools and place them onto the numbers.

Fine Motor Skills Activities for Toddlers

Fine Motor Skills Tuff TrayFine Motor Skills EYFS

Counting and Number Recognition Ideas

Number Activities in the EYFS

  • Let your child run their fingers along the numbers. This will help them become familiar with the shape and formation of the numbers.
  • Demonstrate how to count the holes by touching each hole as you count, and by counting slowly so you don’t accidentally miss one out.
  • Let your child place the correct amount of pom poms on each number. If your child struggles with this then model how to count them on correctly and then let them experiment independently. 
  • When your child can confidently recognise numbers, mix them up and let your child put them in the right order.

Learning to Count

This is an activity that my daughter comes to time and time again. Even my 12 month old enjoys playing with the numbers. To find more mathematical activities for children under 5 years click here


To help you find useful products that I recommend, this post contains Amazon affiliate links. 


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