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Curious George: Hands Down!

What's The Point

Hands are a wonderful natural counting tool, particularly since they can be used to count by 1’s, 5’s and 10’s – all so basic to mathematics. Counting forward and backward by 1’s lays the foundation for addition and subtraction, while counting by fives helps prepare children for multiplication. Counting by fives also prepares kids for telling time and counting money.

Related Games

  • High Five – Make handprints with George as you count by fives.
  • Blast Off – Launch a rocket by counting backward with George.

This Activity Will Help Your Child

  • Count forward and backward by 1’s, 5’s and 10’s

Book Suggestions

  • Leaping Lizards
    by Stuart J. Murphy
  • Ten, Nine, Eight
    by Molly Bang


  • Finger paints
  • Paper grocery bag or large piece of paper
  • Child-safe scissors
  • Crayon or marker
  • Pan or other large, flat container

How Do I Do It?

  1. Cut down one corner of a paper grocery bag, cut the bottom off, and spread it out into a long rectangle with the non-printed side facing up.
  2. Pour finger paint into a pan that is big enough to hold your child's hand, spread out palm-side down.
  3. Have your child use the finger paint to make two handprints at one end of the paper. With the crayon or marker, write the counting numbers above each finger of the first handprint (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and the second handprint (6, 7, 8, 9, 10).
  4. Ask your child to count the fingers forward by 1's and then backward by 1's.
  5. Now add three more handprints next to the first two. Continue the number sequence above the fingers of each hand: 11, 12, 13, 14, and so on, up to 25. Under the first handprint write "5," under the second handprint write "10," and so on until you reach "25" under the fifth handprint.
  6. Ask your child to count by 1's up to 25 and then count the fingers by 5's up to 25 – both forward and backward.
  7. For older kids, add five more hand prints so the counting sequence can continue up to 50.

Take It Further

Your child will love singing the song Five Little Pumpkins Siting on a Gate. The lyrics are readily available online, and many video versions can be found on YouTube. An easy way to act it out is to use your arm as the gate and the fingers of one hand as the five little pumpkins.