Preschool Math Activities

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Preschool math activities can feel overwhelming, especially when you are trying to figure out what part of your day to place them. Believe me, I’ve tweaked our schedule so much in the past 16 years! I tried math trays during centers time, large group math activities during circle time, and even math activities during small groups time. Eventually I came to a perfect solution, which I will share later in this post.
 

What is the best approach for offering preschool math activities?

 
Let me just get it out there that I did not like math as a child. Now, that was a long time ago, and thankfully teaching has come a long ways. But forcing a child to sit and do worksheets and flashcards can be boring. In fact, some children will quickly decide they don’t want to have anything to do with it.
 
I am a strong believer in allowing young children to use their five senses during learning activities, math included. They could be sitting and staring at numbers on a sheet of paper, or on an index card, OR they could be exploring numbers while sorting, measuring, counting, reading, singing and cooking. They could be counting the pieces that are involved in an art project, or while putting together shape puzzles with friends, or using the play cash register in the dramatics area. Math can be done at school or at home, indoors and out, while on a walk around the neighborhood, even while in the grocery store.

 

Preschool Math Activities

 

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When is the best time to offer preschool math activities?

If you were to walk into my preschool classroom, you’d notice learning taking place all over the classroom, and not just at one part of our day. I mentioned above that I’ve tried math trays during centers time, large group math activities during circle time, and math games during small groups.

Math does not have to be limited to a specific part of your day.

What I learned is that math can be done during all three of those times, and other times as well. And so,  this is how we engage our preschoolers into the world of math. Lots of hands-on activities that can be done independently, in large groups, and more intimately in small groups.

Preschool math activities can be done any time of the day, throughout the day.

So, let me share some fun ways that we have engaged our preschoolers:

 

SORTING

 

These are the obvious sorting activities, but there are so many others that just seem to happen naturally throughout our morning. Putting things away in proper bins, sorting what goes into the trash and what goes back into the bag at snack time, sorting the colored markers when putting them away.

 

Preschool Color Game Using Legos

 

Sorting Legos by Color

 

Rainbow Activity for Preschoolers

 

Sorting Rainbow Macaroni for a Necklace

 

preschool valentines activity

 

Sorting Hearts by Color

 

preschool classroom design

 

Sorting Toys in Our Classroom

 

Fine Motor Sensory Bin for Fall

 

Sorting Pom Poms with Matching Colored Containers

 

learning letters

 

Sorting Letters in Our Letter Box

 

MEASURING ACTIVITIES

 

So much math is being learned while we do even the simplest activities involving measuring! How many? What shape? How full? How much?

 

cooking with kids

 

 

great gift for mom

 

Measuring salt for our Mother’s Day gift.

 

Letter Beads Discovery Bottles

 

 

how to make a terrarium with kids

 

 

scented play dough

 

 

winter discovery bottles

 

 

Planting Seeds with Kids

 

 

BUBBLE PAINT

 

Measuring Soap to Make Bubble Paint

 

ART PROJECTS

 

One of my favorite ways to add some simple counting is during art projects. How many legs? How many eyes? How many circles? I often add a number line so they can place the items on the line while they count. (This is great 1:1 correspondence, too.)

 

ladybug 6

 

Count the Legs on the Ladybug

 

Thankful Turkeys

 

 

Count the “Feathers” on the Turkey

 

snowman art

 

 

SHAPES

 

We learn about and draw shapes in many ways. In our journals with stickers, puzzles, overhead projector, cookie cutters at the play dough table, etc. While we do have a “shape of the month”, I feel the same about it as I do “letter of the week”. Why devote one specific time for each one? We are exposed to all of them each day!

 

Learning Colors and Shapes Activity

 

 

COUNTING

 

We count all morning long, in so many ways, during large groups, small groups, and independently.

 

small group activities for preschoolers 5

 

 

 
Preschool Counting Activity for Spring

 

 

 

 Literacy Activities

 

We love to recite fingerplays and listen to stories that include counting.

 

Five Little Speckled Frogs Finger Play

 

 

Counting Books:


 

Counting Songs:


More ideas for young children:

 

snow play dough      cooking with kids recipes      simple toddler art

 

Preschool Math Activities long

 

Looking for more math play ideas? Head on over to Teach Preschool’s Everyday Math in Preschool.

 

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About Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl Cooper is the founder of Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds, a website full of activities for toddlers and preschoolers. She has been teaching this age group for over 15 years and loves to share her passion with teachers, parents, grandparents, and anyone with young children in their lives.