Preschool Math Activities


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:




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




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





Measuring Soap to Make Bubble Paint




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





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





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.