Nature Soup – A DIY game for little ones learning to count

My daughter loves to cook and can count to 20, but she is just now learning how to count out items.  Often when we prepare a recipe at home, I will help her measure and count out ingredients.  I made this game for her after seeing a similar mainstream game and thought that it might be helpful to help her learn to count ingredients herself.

The fun thing about making a game is that you can customize it to your child’s needs and interest.  I call our version ‘nature soup’ because my daughter loves bugs, trees and flowers.  Our version also only requires 3 ingredients per recipe and counts between 1 and 3 of each ingredient.  You could easily change your version to any theme, such as space soup and use space themed things, or bug soup and use different kinds of bugs.

The game not only helps children learn to count and measure, but it helps them with identification as well.  The directions for our version of the game are below and I will explain how substitutions can be made to materials and quantities to make the game your own.

Materials List:

  • 9 stamps
  • 1 ink pad
  • 27 wood coins (or cardboard circles/squares)
  • 8 recipe cards ( I made recipe cards with leftover cardstock, but you can use pre-made recipe cards)
  • 1 bag to store game pieces in (I used a recycled muslin bag, but you could use a bandana or any kind of bag


  • Use each stamp design to mark 3 coins so that there are 3 coins for each design.
  • Label each recipe card with a fun recipe name.  For example, I used “Bee Salad”, “Flower stew” and “Garden Soup” for a few.
  • Stamp each recipe card with several of each stamp design and label it with the number of each design.  For example, you would write the number 3 and stamp the recipe card with 3 bees.  Be creative with your recipe combinations and create a different recipe on each of the 8 cards.
  • Enjoy!  Teach your little one how to count out the “ingredients” on the cards to make “soup”.

Our version of the game uses wooden coins, stamps and recycled cardstock because those are items that I had on hand.  Of course you could easily use pre-made recipe cards (or older children could make their own) and substitute the wood coins for construction paper or cardboard pieces.  You could also draw or paint the designs on the game pieces and recipe cards, rather than use stamps.  The number of “ingredients” on the cards can be increased to make the game more difficult.  And this game would work really well for color recognition if you used colors instead of designs.

Have fun!


PS For another fun DIY game, check out Sydney’s post about how to make your own puzzles here.


Comments (1)

Esther in Amsterdam
October 6, 2020

This is such a simple yet clever idea!!

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