It is one thing to be able to rote count, it is another to understand the quantative value to each number. The objective of cards and counters activity is to help the child understand the latter.
I love how this activity shows the child what '1' means, how many '2' is etc. It is visual, clear and very easy for a young kid to digest.
I am glad babydoll has progressed and is now able to allocate the correct quantity to each number. Whoohoo! I was looking back at how she started and recall at an earlier point I wasn't even sure she was going to get over counting! But she has come to this point and I am reminded the importance of being consistent, persistent, patience & have faith.
So anyway, one does not need to own these materials to do this. You can always write numbers on cards and use simple household items like straws, cotton balls, Lego, Duplo or...
You can purchase these from Daiso for $2 and use them as counters! To make it interesting and fun, use a variation of counters.