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Counting in French, Learning French Numbers

Bonjour! Welcome to the first lesson in our Learn French for Kids series, counting in French for kids! I am Felicity, creator of Mini Languages where children learn French by coming to our UK classes or exploring our online platform. I am pleased to be collaborating with Bilingual Kidspot to bring you a series of easy, effective ‘lessons’ to use with your child to learn the foundations of French.

If you have already checked out the French Starter Kit, you will know that the Mini Languages ethos is about taking small steps. You can make progress by incorporating a little French into your daily.

I know parents are short of time so I recommend short, sharp, practical activities that you can build into your routine. Below you can find some activities for kids of all ages. On that note, let’s get started! 

Counting activities in French 

Today’s lesson is about learning French numbers and counting in French.

As many parents are familiar with some French numbers, it is a comfortable place to start. It is also the basis for many conversations we have with our little ones and they are at the stage grasping the concept of counting and using numbers in conversation.

Firstly, some free resources…

Numbers in French

French Numbers Printable for Kids

PRINT YOUR FRENCH NUMBERS CARD HERE

Number Memo Card

French Numbers - Counting in French for Kids

PRINT YOUR FRENCH NUMBERS MEMO CARD HERE

Memo Cards provide at at a glance guide to themed French vocabulary. They incorporate images, words and a pronunciation guide. You can display it in the house or laminate it to use as mini flashcards.

 ‘Compte avec moi’ Mini French video

Watch this short video called ‘Count with me’ with your little one!

It is one of the ‘Building Blocks’ videos on the Mini Languages online platform. Listen and learn the correct pronunciation for numbers one to ten, plus, how to ask ‘How many…?”

NB: In French, when counting objects, the word one changes on the objects gender. If the objects are masculine you use “un”, if they are feminine noun you use ‘une’

Counting in French with babies and toddlers

Now you know the French numbers and how to count in French, start building these words into your routine. 

Here are some ideas of how to do this naturally:

  • Walking up the stairs
  • Counting fingers and toes at bath time
  • Asking how many there are of something 
    “Combien y a-t-il de {insert noun}”
    eg: Combien y a-t-il de bananes? How many bananas are there?
  • Building a tower together – see next activity
  • Singing French nursery rhymes with counting – see suggestions later

Un, deux, trois… tombé!

This building game is called ‘One, two, three… fallen down’ and it is an activity I play with my own children but also in class at my parent and child group.

Counting in French for babies

All children like to build towers… and knocking them down! Simply grab some blocks or stacking cubes and take turns to place them one top of the other to make a tower. How many can you stack before they fall? Count them as you go and when it topples shout ‘Tombé’ which means ‘fallen down’!

  1. Faisons une tour… (Pronounce: Fez-ohn ewn touh-rh) Let’s make a tower
  2. Oh la la! C’est haut! (Pronounce: Oh la la! Say oh!) Wow! It is high!
  3. Un, deux, trois, quatre…. Tombé! (Pronounce: Tombey) 1, 2, 3, 4… fell down!

Take it further: As your French progresses, you can also name the colours of the cubes as you stack them… 

i.e. De quelle couleur est ce cube? Il est rouge! 

Counting in French with children aged 5+

All children respond well to play-based learning so the above ideas will also work well with older children. In addition, how about adding in a structured activity by playing BINGO in French? Again, I play this with my bilingual children. In French this game is called “Le jeu de loto”

French Bingo Game - Learn French for Kids

Print your French Bingo Game Here

What you will need to play Numbers Bingo in French

  • Printed materials
  • Scissors
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Bowl

In a school environment, consider laminating the boards and counters to make them durable.

How to set up the game

  • Set up the game by cutting out the ‘Number Cards’.
  • Distribute 8 counters per person to cover the numbers on your board as they are announced – alternatively, you can use coins or buttons.
  • Firstly, practice the numbers in French together up to 10 or 20 depending on the level you are working to.
  • Next, put the cut-out Number Cards into a bowl in the middle of the table. 
  • Then, distribute a bingo card each. You can choose Level 1 cards (numbers 1-10) or Level 2 cards (numbers 1-20)

How to play

  • Take turns to fish out a number from the bowl.
  • Say it out loud and anyone who has that number on their card places a counter on it.
  • It is a good idea to hide the number card from the rest of the players when you fish it out so that the other players have to really listen and not just read the number on the card!
  • The winner is the one who covers all their numbers with counters and shouts Bingo (or choose any French word like pomme [apple] or poisson just for fun!

Taking your counting further

Ok, you and your child have comfortably mastered counting to 10 or 20. Continue to use on a regular basis and try levelling up with these phrases and activities:

Point at objects and ask how many there are of them

Combien y a-t-il…{French plural noun}?

As mentioned previously, this phrase means How many {plural noun} are there? 

Find this too much of a mouthful? Feel free to shorten to Combien? It isn’t a full sentence but we are taking baby steps here!

Learn some counting songs

Scientific studies show a positive link between language development and singing. In my classes and on the Mini Language online platform we use a large range of carefully selected songs to accelerate learning. Some counting songs include:

  • 1,2,3 Nous irons au bois
  • Deux petits canards

Recommended: Action Songs for Kids in French

Incorporate other themes like The Body

Start by pointing at parts of the body whilst saying the French words. Then add in numbers 

J’ai deux yeux – I have two eyes
J’ai une bouche – I have one mouth
J’ai dix doigts – I have ten fingers

Counting in French for Kids

This is the first lesson of our Learn French for Kids series, French Numbers & Counting in French. I hope this set of activities and that you are inspired to build small amounts of French into your daily routine. By starting with small steps, the learning is manageable and fun making the whole experience enjoyable for you and your child.

Looking forward to our next lesson? 
À bientôt! See you soon!
Felicity

French Numbers - Counting in French for Kids