Before learning to count a child needs to understand 'one to one correspondence'. This means being able to match one object to one other object or person.
You can practise 'one to one correspondence' in all sorts of different contexts. Laying the table is a good idea. Alternatively you can do this in a play situation as indicated below.
Make some dough cakes and ask your child to give one to each of their soft toys. Use very small numbers at first.
Need a dough recipe?