What Are Counting Numbers? Definition With Examples

What are Counting Numbers?

Numbers that we use to count things are called counting numbers. They are also called natural numbers. These numbers start from 1 and are infinite. That is why no one knows where to end these numbers. ​Zero is not a natural number since we cannot count zero. 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on are examples of counting numbers.

Counting is a topic that we have learned in kindergarten. Each one of you must have different ways to count. Some understand it by counting natural numbers on their fingers and others by counting things around them. But one thing common among us is that the first thing we all learn in math is counting. These numbers are the basis of all mathematics.

Where do we use these numbers?

We use counting in performing different activities in our day-to-day life. For instance, 

  • Counting money
  • Counting balloons in a bunch
  • Counting students in a class

Numbers 1–10 on Fingers

Representing numbers with finger arrangements allows children to learn and incorporate the fundamental properties of natural numbers. The figure below shows how we can use our fingers to represent the numbers from one to ten.

Counting numbers on fingers

Number Names of Numbers 1–20

The following table gives the number names of numbers from 1 to 20.

Number Names

Different Ways to Count Numbers

  • We can count the numbers forward. For example,

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

You can count numbers backward. For example,

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

  • You can use skip counting as well. 

Skip counting is the method of counting forward by numbers other than 1.

Counting by 2:   2, 4, 6…

Counting by 3:   3, 6, 9…

   Counting by 4:   4, 8, 12…

Solved Examples

Example 1. Write the missing numbers between 30 and 40.

31, 32, 33, ___, 35, ___, 37, ___, ___

Solution: Number between 30 and 40 are: 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Therefore, the missing numbers are 34, 36, 38, and 39.

Example 2. Count by 2s and find the missing numbers.

8, __, 12, __, 16

Solution: Skip counting is counting forward by numbers other than 1. So, skip counting by 2s from 8 to 16. We get

8, 10, 12, 14, and 16.

Therefore, the missing numbers are 10 and 14.

Example 3. Write the even counting numbers less than 10.

Solution: Even numbers are divisible by 2. 

Counting numbers less than 10: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

So, even numbers less than 10: 2, 4, 6, 8

Example 4. In the figure below, observe the pattern and find the number of dots in the fourth box.

Counting numbers dot pattern

Solution: 

Number of dots in the first box $= 3$

Number of dots in the second box $= 4$

Number of dots in the third box $= 5$

So, the number of dots in the fourth box must be 6.

Practice Problems

What Are Counting Numbers? Meaning, Definition, Examples

Attend this quiz & Test your knowledge.

1How many apples are there in the figure?

3
5
8
9
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 8
There are eight apples.

2What is the sum of the two missing numbers?

What Are Counting Numbers? Definition With Examples
3
5
7
10
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 10
The given figure, between 1 and 10, 3 and 7, are missing. So, the sum of the missing numbers is $3 + 7 or 10$.

3Which of the following is not a counting number?

10008
23
0
2
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 0
Natural numbers start with 1; zero is not a counting number.

4Find the missing number.
55, ___ , ____, 58

34, 36
23, 26
56, 57
39, 40
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 56, 57
55, 56, 57, 58

Frequently Asked Questions

No. We don’t use negative numbers for counting.

Counting on fingers is a constructive strategy to teach students math concepts. Representing numbers with finger arrangements allows children to learn and incorporate the fundamental properties of natural numbers.

Numbers that we can use to count things are called counting numbers, for example 1, 2, 3, and so on. They are also called natural numbers. 

All counting numbers along with zero are the whole numbers.

Counting makes us understand that numbers have an order. In real life, we can relate numbers to quantities. Counting is used to find the number of elements of a finite set of objects by continually increasing a counter by 1 in some order. Counting is used to demonstrate knowledge of the number system.