How fast? How strong? How many? So what? Why do numbers matter in biology? Chromatin binding proteins are forever in motion, exchanging rapidly between bound and free pools. How do regulatory systems whose components are in constant flux ensure stability and flexibility? This review explores the application of quantitative and mathematical approaches to mechanisms of epigenetic regulation. We discuss methods for measuring kinetic parameters and protein quantities in living cells, and explore the insights that have been gained by quantifying and modelling dynamics of chromatin binding proteins.