By Elisa Rudolph, 10 October, 2018

Use for generic karuta!

For a numbers lesson I often also:

  • count together (take turns, slow, fast, deep, high, mickey voice, etc)
  • sing numbers song
  • Missing Flashcard game
  • math problems
  • count with a partner, take turns
  • magic number game. take turns. you can say 1, 2, or 3 numbers. person to say 12 is the winner. 
By Joy Sung, 22 December, 2017

This activity is basically a more physical version of the counting activity in the Hi Friends 1 textbook.


Print out two copies of the attached files on a color printer, then laminate and cut out the objects. This should net you 20 cards of each object type. 

Put magnetic stickers on the backs of the cards. 

TEACHING "HOW MANY~?" (or review if you have already taught it)

1. Put some cards on the board and demonstrate a sample conversation with the HRT (or a student volunteer).

By Ashley Williams, 22 March, 2017

Make square cards (about a little smaller than your palm) in the various colours you will teach. Each colour set will have numbers (some the same, some different) written in large font on them.

Scatter your pre-made colour number cards around the blackboard, making sure they are as evenly spaced as possible.

By Clayton McIntosh, 15 March, 2017

This game is based on the bidding game from The Price Is Right TV show. It is quite fun as students are quite shocked at the difference in prices between counties.

Before class you will need to edit the printout to suit your countries products and prices. Print it out and cut up the price tags. Hide the price tags in a box or an envelope.

By Kylah Riendeau, 20 October, 2016


Write the numbers 1–10 on the board. Often western 2s and 7s (and sometimes 4s) are written differently from the standard Japanese style. Have a brief discussion with the kids about it. Have volunteers come to the board and write the offending number the Japanese way.

Practice counting aloud both forward and backward and at random.

Next, circulate the room and have students take turns standing and telling you the number. Be sure to ask them numbers out of order.

By Kylah Riendeau, 20 October, 2016


  1. Introduce shapes (circle, square, triangle, heart, diamond, cross, star)
  2. Hand out worksheet, students take out colored pencils.
  3. While students are writing their names on their papers (in romaji) arrange the color flash cards and the shapes (separately) at the bottom of the board.
  4. Collect students name tags and put them into an envelope/hat or small box.
  5. Pull a name out of the hat and call the student up to choose a color. They must tell the class the color name and hang it in the middle of the board.
By Amanda Ribarchik, 17 October, 2016


  • Review numbers 1-10 and introduce the names of face cards (Ace, Jack, Queen, King)
  • Demonstrate the key phrase “Do you have~” by interacting with the homeroom teacher.
    • Ask him/her to pick a card from the deck and show the class.
By Mairi Holtzner, 1 August, 2016

If your students have practiced numbers a bit before and are good at listening, this lesson will be easy. If not, you may have a challenge on your hands, but you can adjust by doing less of the dot to dots or opting for the easier ones.

Make sure you cut off the answers before you make the student copies of the dot to dot sheets!

By Rachel Bowyer, 26 July, 2016


  • Students are put in groups, each with a pack of cards. Demonstrate the game with the HRT and a pack of giant cards first.
  • One student puts down a card and says the number.
By Rachel Bowyer, 26 July, 2016


  • Each student is given a number.
  • Go around the circle listing the numbers and asking them to put their hand up so everyone knows their number in English.
  • Start a clapping rhythm.
  • The first student must say their number and another student’s number.
  • The second student must then repeat their number and say someone else’s number.
  • If a student cannot say their number in time to the rhythm they are out.
  • Continue around the circle until everyone has had a turn.
By Timothy Nguyen, 20 July, 2016

Numbers listening comprehension


Before using this worksheet you should have previously introduced numbers 1-60 as that is the highest number on the worksheet. I created this sheet as a precursor to telling time.


By Rachel Stevens, 20 July, 2016

This is a really easy game to review numbers at ES. It's a great warm-up activity.

The ALT or HRT will say a number, and the students have to get into groups of that number and sit down. The fastest team wins that round.

Some variations:

Once the students have sat down they have to count how many people are in their group together.

For 5th and 6th grades, I tell them they are not allowed to use Japanese which is a great challenge. I hear lots of creative English.

By Daniel Taccone, 19 July, 2016


1.     Tell the students they are going to create their own dream dinner.

2.     Give each student a recipe worksheet. Before they start thinking about the foods their dinner will include, practice saying each foods name a couple times.

3.     Have students cut out food on meal card page

4.     Practice dialogue with JTE and demonstrate on large example on board.

By Michael Atkinson, 19 July, 2016

This is a classic elementary math game used when studying probability. I use it in lessons that introduce numbers and counting.

Students only need to know numbers 1 – 6 to play, but it is better if they know how to count to higher numbers such as 45.

To play:

By Rachel Pritchett, 19 July, 2016

1. Warm-up (5 minutes): count together with the class to 30 and review the pronunciation for 13 vs. 30, the TH sound, 14 vs. 40, etc.

By Amanda Hahn, 15 July, 2016
  1. Each student gets five small objects (ohajiki, glass beads, etc).
  2. For two minutes, they play rock paper scissors with however many students they can.
  3. The winner must ask for a glass bead from the loser.

Winner: One, please.
Loser: Here you are.
Winner: Thank you.

  1. After the game, every student must say how many glass beads they have in English.

The winner is the student with the most beads (or, occasionally to mix things up, the least beads).

By Alex Aono, 15 July, 2016

The object of this game is to be the first to say the sum of the hands.

  1. In pairs, play janken.
  2. Add the total of your hands.
    Rock = 1
    Scissors = 2
    Paper = 5
    Challenge: Play with two hands, or more than one person.
  3. Play 5 times with a partner.
  4. Change partners.
By Jessica Dovey, 15 July, 2016

This game is from Genki English.

  1.  Make pairs.
  2. Each student shows a number of fingers on one hand.
  3. When you say, "Go," the two students turn to face each other.
  4. The first student to say the correct sum of fingers shown by both hands is the winner.

    For months of the year, the students have to ask in unison, "When is your birthday," and when you say, "Go!" they turn and say the corresponding month (7 fingers=July). For this version, they should only hold up 0-6 fingers.

By Jovel Morgan, 15 July, 2016


Review numbers 1-20 with flashcards. (Other vocabulary will work for this too)

By Travis Jenkins, 14 July, 2016

Here is a set of “UNO like” cards I made using Photoshop. I usually use them at elementary during the “How Many” chapter but have found numerous uses for them outside that lesson. UNO cards can be a bit expensive here in Japan, so please feel free to print and laminate these instead. I recommend using a backing and laminating these cards so that 1.) students cant see through them; and 2.) there are 108 cards in a deck so you won’t want to have to make a new deck every time your kids rough them up.

By Laura Young, 16 June, 2016
  • Print out large numbers 0-9 on pieces of paper. Attach each set of numbers to a different construction paper color. Laminate if you want them to last. There should be 1 set of cards for every 10 students, so if you have 25 students, make three sets, if you have 35 students, make 4 sets.
  • Create a list of math problems using +, -, x, and /. The problems should only have each numeral used no more than once in the problem and answer. Ex. 5+6=11 does not work because the 1 is used twice, but 5+7=12 does because each number is only used once.
By Thomas Cooper III, 16 June, 2016


Each corner of the classroom is designated with 4 keywords: number, emotion, vocabulary word, anything basically. One student is chosen to come up and be the caller. The caller counts down (from 10, 5, whatever you decide) while the other students quickly to move to a corner of the room. After the countdown, the caller calls out one of the keywords and whichever students that are in that corner are out and must sit down. When you get down to the final 4 students, they must each choose a corner and split up to make the game have a winner.

By David Green, 16 June, 2016

This is a fun, general game that can be used to learn any kind of vocab. The aim of the game is to keep the balloon in the air by hitting it like a volleyball.


  • First learn the names of the months using flashcards, chants or any other methods.
  • Next inflate a balloon or have one of the students blow it up.


In this instance, the game will use months as the vocab.

By Jovel Morgan, 16 June, 2016


The students play in teams (rows or groups) and they play in rotations within their team.

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