Inside: This collection of preschool math activities is filled with playful ways to build counting skills. Each of these ideas can be done on a tray or table top at home. Free printable activities included!
When we choose math activities for our preschoolers, we look at playful ways to build counting skills.
We also look for activities that can be adapted to a variety of learners, since we have children at many different levels. Some of our preschoolers can count to 20 and beyond, while some are just starting to count to 4.
Math is more than worksheets and flashcards. It’s about exploring numbers and counting, being completely engaged in the fun of numbers.
Make sure to scroll down to find our FREE counting play dough mats and our FREE dot numbers printables!
15+ Preschool Math Activities that Can Be Done on a Tray
Setting Up Activity Trays
Before the children arrive, we set up the math activity trays on a table. We work with our preschoolers to keep the materials on the tray, although, quite honestly, this can be a challenge with younger preschoolers. It’s not uncommon for our younger children to want to pick up the pieces and carry them around the room, often dropping them off in a different center. However, we continue to model how to use the materials and keep them on the trays so that other children can easily work on them as well.
Storing Activity Trays
We store all of our materials in a shared storage closet with the other preschool teachers. We’ve found that storing each activity in a plastic gallon bag (zip top or sliding top) works well. They sit nicely upright in a box on a shelf.
- Count flower sticks and sort them into numbered containers.
- For Montessori educators, try one of these math trays. (Racheous Lovable Learning)
- Practice writing numbers in salt. (Learn with Play at Home)
- Develop color and number recognition using play dough.
- Explore math and numbers on a Reggio-inspired math tray. (And Next Comes L)
- Download free watermelon counting cards and count with watermelon seeds. (The Kavanaugh Report)
- Make your own counting cards for math trays.
- Cut a pool noodle into pieces for a fun counting and threading activity. (I Can Teach My Child)
- Use colored squares for a count and match activity. (Learning 4 Kids)
- Arrange colored gems in a salt tray to make patterns. (The Imagination Tree)
- Make some numbered cups and use them for sorting and counting. (Teach My Toddlers)
- Use these free number card printables to use with clothespins. (Tips from a Typical Mom)
- Learn shapes with pattern blocks (free printables). (Pre-Kinders)
- Write numbers in a salt tray. (Learn with Play at Home)
- Count beads on pipe cleaners. (Laughing Kids Learn)
More preschool math activities:
Free Math Printables
Click on the photo for the pdf download:
Bonus! Grab these themed monthly counting cards!
Thirteen sets (143 pages) of monthly card sets, one for each month of the year. For the years in which Easter falls in March, there is an alternate set that can be used.
They’re perfect for practicing those beginning numbers with toddlers and preschoolers!
Each number prints on its own page and includes large, clear images that make it easy for little ones to practice counting!
Make sure to check out more ideas on my Math is Fun! pin board!