44 Preschool Learning Activities for the Outdoors

You’ve planned your learning activities for the classroom or homeschool, but it’s just too nice outside to be indoors. What to do? Take learning outdoors! I’ve put together 44 preschool learning activities that are perfect for the outdoors.

Counting.

Measuring.

Letter hunts.

Science with nature.

And more.

Lose the 4 walls and the ceiling and get outdoors with this fun collection!

Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

44 Preschool Learning Activities for the Outdoors

The photo collages beneath each group of activities is shown left to right, starting with the first activity in the group. When you click the title of the activity, you will be taken to the original post with full directions.

 

  • Paint with Bubbles: Whip up a batch of vibrant bubble paint and make prints.
  • Outdoor Canvas Painting: Collect flower petals and add them to a watercolor canvas art activity.
  • Water Spray Alphabet Hunt: Work on letter recognition or letter sounds with water and a spray bottle! (Mom Inspired Life)
  • ABC Excavation Sensory Bin: Fill ice trays with ABC beads and freeze for a fun letter exploration activity. (Parenting Chaos)
  • Garden ABC Hunt: Get outside and enjoy some fresh air while practicing letter recognition. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)
  • Alphabet Ice Boats: Match the letters on the boats as the ice starts to melt. (School time Snippets)

preschool learning outdoors

 

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

  • Bubble Play: Make your own bubbles and try some fun activities that little kids love. (Red Ted Art)
  • Floating Flowers: Collect flowers from the garden and add to a tub of water. (Twitchetts)
  • Learn with Leaves: 7 math activities that you can do outside! (Crafts on Sea)
  • Exploring Senses in Nature: Make an easy DIY mystery bag and fill with natural materials for a fun tactile sense activity. (Natural Beach Living)
  • Play with Helicopter Seeds: These are fun to use for large motor activities, nature hunts, fine motor, counting, and in crafts! (Lalymom)
  • Outdoor Play Ideas Jar: Use the free printable for activity ideas, place in a jar, and let the kids pick a fun outdoor idea. (Kitchen Counter Chronicles)

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

  • Cutting Lavender: If you have lavender in your yard, invite your child to snip it for some fine motor fun. (Teach Me Mommy)
  • DIY Dice Game: Work on gross motor development while completing the task that the dice lands on. (Days with Grey)
  • Hammering Ice: Fill ice cube trays with water and small plastic bugs, freeze, and take outdoors to hammer! (Beauty Through Imperfection)
  • Sink or Float Science: Fill a tub with water, collect items, and see if they sink or float. Use the free printable to document results. (Buggy and Buddy)
  • Blow Bubbles with Household Objects: Discover which household objects work best to blow bubbles. (Playground Parkbench)
  • Spread Shaving Cream on Blocks: Help your children develop spreading skills with this fun activity. (Happy Hooligans)

preschool outdoor learning

 

  • Safari Small World: Create a safari small world in the sandbox with loose parts, including  natural materials. (Little Worlds Big Adventures)
  • Nature Number Art: Collect items on a walk, roll the dice, and create something with that many of the pieces. (Mosswood Creations)
  • Sand Cast Starfish: Next time you go to the beach, make this fun keepsake! (Crafts by Amanda)
  • Shadow Art: Add some hands-on STEAM to your outdoor time with this fun art and science activity. (Rhythms of Play)

 

preschool outdoor learning

 

  • Stone Faces Craft: Collect rocks on a nature walk and use the free printable to create funny stone faces. (Messy Little Monster)
  • Earth Craft with Rain: Use markers on paper and see what happens when rain falls on it. (To Be a Kid Again)
  • Jackson Pollock Art: Drip paint on a large sheet outdoors! (Learning and Exploring through Play)
  • Nature Paintbrushes: Collect pieces of nature while on a walk and then use them to paint with. (Messy Little Monster)

 

preschool outdoor learning

Looking for a more structured summer camp program for your kids?

preschool summer camp

Let the kids have the best summer ever! They will be busy learning, making and playing active games. Each day Summer Camp at Home offers 3 different activities.

Click here to read more >>>> Summer Camp at Home

Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids

 

 

More ideas for kids:

summer sensory bin      Fun Summer Activities for Toddlers     Fun Summer Activities for Preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Valentine’s Counting and Color Sorting Activity

We love simple activities that build skills! This Valentine’s counting and color sorting activity is perfect for small groups or independent work. It can be done in the classroom setting or in the home. All you need to do is download the free printable that is shown at the end of this post (scroll down), add objects that are the same colors, and it’s ready to go! You will see how I also turned this into a counting activity by creating a number line, and also an easy art activity.

I’m excited to announce that this activity is part of my book Learn with Play. Check it out here!

Preschool Valentines Activity - free printable! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Preschool Valentines Activity - free printable! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Valentine’s Counting and Color Sorting Activity

 Valentine's counting activity with free printable!

What you will need:

 

  • Foam hearts (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) or any desired shapes

  • White glue

  • Paper plate or other paper, cut into a heart shape

  • Colored hearts printable (offered at the end of this post)

  • Number line 1-6, written in the same colors as the hearts

preschool valentines activity

 

 

 

Color matching activity:

 

preschool valentines activity

 

Place at least 5 of each color of the foam hearts into a container, mixed up. Invite the children to remove the hearts from the container and sort them by color. Then place the hearts on the matching color on the printable.

 

preschool valentines activity

 

 

1:1 correspondence:

 

preschool valentines activity

 

Once again, mix all the hearts together so that the children need to sort them by color. Have them place one foam heart on the matching paper heart.

 

Counting the hearts:

 

preschool valentines activity

 

For this activity, I drew a simple number line by hand, using the same 6 colors as the hearts. I invited the children to place one heart on each number, making sure the foam heart and the number were the same color.

 

preschool valentines activity

 

 

preschool valentines activity

 

 

You could extend this so that they place 1 heart under the number 1, 2 hearts under the number 2, etc.

 

Simple art:

 

preschool valentines activity

preschool valentines activity

 

With the hearts still on the number line, squeeze 6 puddles of glue on a piece of heart-shaped paper. The children can then remove each heart from the number line and place on the glue. (1:1 correspondence)

 

preschool valentines activity

 

 

 

 Click here for free download: Colored Hearts Printable

 

 

Here are other fun Valentines activities to try:

Foil Valentines Hearts      Valentines Art      Easy Kids Valentines Craft

And make sure to pop over to our Valentine’s Day pin board!

 

 

 


 

Join us in having a kind classroom

Kind Classroom

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




12 Winter Math Activities for Preschoolers

 

I love the variety of winter math activities I have collected! Now when I go to plan my winter preschool curriculum, I can easily add these to our agenda. There are so many ways to add math to the environment, as I shared in my Everyday Math Play collection. Numbers can be explored in the sensory bin. Counting can happen with craft activities. Measuring and weighing is a fun science activity. Math can even take place during large motor play! I took all this into consideration when putting together this collection of 12 winter math activities for preschoolers.

Are you following our preschool math board yet?

 

 

Winter Math Ideas for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

12 Winter Math Activities for Preschoolers

 

Winter Math Ideas for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

1. Put together a gingerbread counting busy bag that can be taken just about anywhere. (Wildflower Ramblings)

2. After making a hot cocoa craft, count and glue marshmallows on it. (Apples and ABC’s)

3. Download these free hot cocoa counting cards for some simple winter math fun. (The Measured Mom)

4. This counting snowballs winter math activity can be adapted for preschoolers and kindergarteners. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

 

Winter Math Activities for Preschoolers

 

5. Children can help make the snowmen for a fun button counting game. (Mama Papa Bubba)

6. Download this free printable for a counting and color recognition activity.

7. Practice number recognition while going Olaf bowling. (A Little Pinch of Perfect)

8. Make your own finger puppets and count to 5 while reciting “5 Little Snowmen”. (Inner Child Fun)

 

Winter Math Activities for Preschoolers

 

9. For those with stronger fine motor skills, try this hole punching activity. (Sugar Aunts)

10. Put together a winter counting sensory bin. (The Imagination Tree)

11. Practice simple counting while singing “5 Little Penguins”. (Let’s Play Music)

12. Play “count the snowballs” using snowman party cups. (Pre-K Pages)

 

More math ideas for young children:

Preschool Math Activities     preschool math

 

Winter Math Ideas for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Hands-On Math Activities for Preschoolers

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 different skill levels, 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. Hands-on math activities for preschoolers.

 

Hands-on Math Activities for Preschoolers

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

 

Hands On Math Activities for Preschoolers

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.

 

math preschool activities

 

math preschool activities

 

Bonus! Grab these themed monthly counting cards!

Preschool Counting Cards Printable

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!

For only $4.00 download your PDF digital bundled pack now!

Related posts:

how to make math fun for preschoolers      Preschool Math Activities     Learn how to count in preschool

Math Activity Trays for Preschoolers

Make sure to check out more ideas on my math pin board!



Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Fun Spider Snack With Free Printable Activity Sheet

We just wrapped up our spider unit and had a blast! We made spin art spiders, sang spider songs, read spider books, and loved having pretend spiders in our water table. But the highlight (and grand finale) was making edible spiders. I wanted to add some counting to all the other fun spider activities we were enjoying. So I put together a fun spider snack with free printable activity sheet.

I love adding math where ever I can to strengthen number recognition and counting skills. But I also want to keep it hands-on and playful. So I put together a printable that our preschoolers used while building their edible spiders. They had to put a lot of thought into how many of each ingredient they were using, counting along the way.

The end result was getting to taste their yummy creations. Our question of the day was “What was your favorite part of the spider snack?” and almost everyone’s answer was “All of it!”

I’ve included a free copy of the same printable we used in this activity. You can find it at the end of this post.

Preschool Math Activity Making Spider Snacks

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Fun Spider Snack With Free Printable Activity Sheet

If you are interested in making this spider snack with your preschoolers, you don’t have to use the exact ingredients that we used. Just be mindful of the shapes that are on the printable.

What we used:

  • Vanilla wafer cookies
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • A tube of squeezable icing

All week we’ve been talking about how many legs and eyes spiders have, so our preschoolers were excited to add them to this snack.

We started with the body.

Preschool Math Activity Making Spider Snacks

And then we placed one pretzel rod on each long line. (Great 1 to 1 correspondence activity!)

Preschool Math Activity Making Spider Snacks

While doing this, we noticed that some of the pretzels were a bit taller than the others. That was an unexpected addition to this activity!

Preschool Math Activity Making Spider Snacks

After placing 8 mini-chocolate chips on the dots for eyes, it was time to assemble our spider. We squirted icing around the cooking and on top.

We counted the pretzel rods as we placed them around the cookie.

We then added the eyes.

You can see a short video of this on my Instagram account.
Spider Snack for Preschoolers

Preschool Math Activity Making Spider Snacks

And there they are!

Preschool Math Activity Making Spider Snacks

 

Preschool Math Activity Making Spider Snacks

Ready to try this with your preschoolers?

Free Download: Fun Spider Snack With Free Printable Activity Sheet

Preschool Math Activity Making Spider Snacks

More cooking activities to try:

Easy Applesauce Recipe for Kids      how to cook with kids     20 Christmas Snacks Kids Will Love - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Pumpkin Math for Preschoolers with Free Printable Cards

Our preschoolers are loving to count this year! They loved our apple counting activity a few weeks ago, and then our apple graph last week. So I put together simple pumpkin math for preschoolers with free printable cards. I have had this activity out all week because they are having so much fun with it!

Last week our preschool went to the farm and each child got to take home a pumpkin. They will carve it tomorrow during Dad’s Pumpkin Carving Night. They are so excited about these pumpkins and I think that’s another reason why this pumpkin math activity is such a hit.

Scroll down to the end of the post to get your free pumpkin cards download!

Simple Pumpkin Math for Preschoolers with Free Pumpkin Printable

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Pumpkin Math for Preschoolers with Free Printable Cards

What we used:

  • Pumpkin Counting Cards (available at the end of this post)
  • Pumpkin seeds

Simple Pumpkin Math for Preschoolers

Setting it up:

I decided to have this activity out during our centers time. I simply placed the seeds in a cup and placed the cards on a placemat.

Simple Pumpkin Math for Preschoolers

The preschoolers identified each number and placed that amount of seeds on each card.

Simple Pumpkin Math for Preschoolers

For those who need an extra challenge, you can shuffle the cards, place in a basket, and have them place them on the table in numerical order.

I’m thinking about making books out of these. After placing the seeds on the cards, the preschoolers could glue them onto the paper. The pages could be then stapled together in numerical order.

 

Simple Pumpkin Math for Preschoolers

Simple pumpkin counting for preschoolers!

Free download for you: Pumpkin Counting Cards

Simple Pumpkin Math for Preschoolers with Free Pumpkin Printable

More fall ideas for preschoolers:

preschool fine motor activities     Simple Halloween Sorting Activity     preschool counting activity with apples

Bonus! Grab this fall literacy collection for your preschoolers! Over 66 pages of learning activities to go with your fall theme. Buy it now for only $4!

Fall Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Did you know that Pete the Cat author, Eric Litwin, has a brand new book? Yep! If your preschoolers love Pete, then they are going to fall in love with a dog named Groovy Joe. Ours sure did! So I put together a simple preschool math activity with Groovy Joe, ice cream, and dinosaurs.

What, wait? A dog named Groovy Joe, ice cream AND dinosaurs? In one book? Oh yes! Just wait until you see!

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Full disclosure: I was provided a copy of Groovy Joe Ice Cream & Dinosaurs. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

About the book:

Groovy Joe Ice Cream & Dinosaurs has lots of rhyming and repetition, just like the Pete the Cat series. This book also focuses on sharing, something we talk a lot about in our preschool classroom.

What did Joe say?

“It’s Awesome to share!”

In the book, a dog named Groovy Joe spots an ice cream truck. After he sings his ice cream song, a dinosaur stomps into the room. And then another. And another! Each time, Groovy Joe shares his ice cream until it’s all gone. And then, he turns the ice cream tub upside down so it becomes a drum. Everyone starts to dance!

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

After getting our copy of Groovy Joe Dinosaurs & Ice Cream, I set up a simple math activity during our circle time.

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

I placed an ice cream container filled with some styrofoam balls and an ice cream scoop.

As we read the book and watched each dinosaur take a scoop of ice cream from Groovy Joe, I had our preschoolers remove a scoop of “ice cream” from our container.

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Each time we counted how many scoops were now out of the container, and figured out how many were left.

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

When the container was empty, we did what Groovy Joe did.

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

We turned our ice cream container upside down and used it like a drum!

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

We ended this activity reminding ourselves how good it feels to share, just as Groovy Joe did with his ice cream.

And then … we listened to the book and had fun singing with Joe! (We’ve since listened to this several times, it’s loved THAT much.)

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Books by Eric Litwin:


More about Eric Litwin:

Eric Litwin is the song singing, guitar strumming, #1 New York Times Best Selling author who brings early literacy and music together. He’s a former teacher who was concerned how the love of reading seemed to fade between kindergarten and third grade. He began bringing more music and interactivity into his instruction. As an author, Eric connects literacy to music and movement and uses call-and-response and repetition. He uses the Multi-Learning Approach in all of his books.

I have had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Eric on the phone and his passion and enthusiasm for children’s literacy is amazing! I’m waiting for him to visit my area so I can watch him perform in person.

Eric Litwin

Image from EricLitwin.com

Related posts:

preschool alphabet sensory play      Learning the Alphabet - Activities for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Apple Graph Activity with Free Printable Cards

Each year during our fall theme we ask our preschoolers to bring an apple to school to make applesauce. But before we cut into our apples, we sort and graph them. I put together this apple graph activity with free printable cards as a way for us to add some simple color recognition and math to our preschool day. It’s a great learning activity for circle time so that all the children can participate at the same time.

preschool apple sorting free printable

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Apple Graph Activity with Free Printable Cards

What you will need for this apple graph activity:

  • Yellow, red and green apples
  • Apple cards (free printable is available at the end of this post)

You will also want to have some apple books available.

A few days before we did this activity, we sent home a note asking each preschooler to bring one apple to preschool. We do activities like this quite often (such as our color wheel) and the children love being able to share something from home.

I chose to place 3 large sheets of construction paper in the middle of our circle time area – yellow, red, and green. I then placed the apple cards on the sheets of paper, matching the colors.

preschool apple sorting free printable

As the preschoolers arrived, they brought their apples to circle time.

preschool apple sorting free printable

As I called their names, they placed their apples on the matching sheet of paper.

preschool apple sorting free printable

Then they picked up the matching apple card.

preschool apple sorting free printable

We did our apple graph on a pocket chart, but you can do this on the floor if you do not have one. Just create a column for each color. As the preschoolers picked up their cards, they placed them in the yellow, red, or green column.

preschool apple sorting free printable

We continued until all of the apples were sorted and the cards were on the graph.

preschool apple sorting free printable

preschool apple sorting free printable

 

preschool apple sorting free printable

We then counted how many apples were in each column, noticing that we had more red apples than any other color.

Activities such as this are a great way to work on simple counting skills, while also building our color recognition skills. We will later use these apples for taste testing and making applesauce.

preschool apple sorting free printable

Using graphs during circle time is a great way to involve all of the children and builds language skills. They are very meaningful to children because they involve real life items or situations. In fact, our preschoolers cannot wait for our question-of-the-day because they can share their ideas and we can count to see what column has the most.

How to you use graphs with your preschoolers?

preschool apple sorting free printable

Free Printable: Yellow, Red and Green Apple Graph Cards

More fall ideas for preschoolers:

 

fall activities for preschoolers      Fall watercolor art     Fall Science for Preschool with Squirrels and Acorns

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Preschool Counting Activity with Apples

Fall is here, and that means putting together ideas to use with our apple theme! One of my new favorites is this preschool counting activity with apples.

The idea came to mind when I found the cutest little apple erasers. We have been working on one-to-one correspondence with our preschoolers, so I created a super simple printable that can be used with the apples.

What’s really nice about this activity is that it’s easy to set up. You could even keep everything in a busy bag for when you are out and about!

preschool counting activity with apples

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Preschool Counting Activity with Apples

What we used:

I introduced this preschool counting activity with apples during small groups time. That way I can give more undivided attention.

I placed the container of apple erasers at the table along with the printable. I had introduced our first one-to-one activity the prior week, so this wasn’t brand new. However, they still needed to be reminded to count the apples from left to right and not to randomly place apples wherever they wished.

preschool counting activity with apples

Learning one-to-one correspondence is an important skill to learn in preschool. The instructions were to place one apple eraser on one apple on the printable.

preschool counting activity with apples

We counted out loud as the apples were placed on the paper.

preschool counting activity with apples

preschool counting activity with apples

When they were finished, I asked them to place all the apple erasers back into the container.

preschool counting activity with apples

Coloring the Apples

I instructed the preschoolers to color each apple, moving right to left, top to bottom. Again, their automatic response was to color the apples randomly, so we worked together to make sure we were moving down the page, from 1 to 5.

preschool-counting-activity-with-apples-7

Next week we will put this activity at the table during our learning centers time, where they can work independently.

 

reschool counting activity with apples

Click here for the download.


More ideas to try:

Preschool Science Ideas for Fall - 5 hands-on activities from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Fall watercolor art     Spider Counting Craft for Preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Preschool Math Activity with Bear Counts

Books are a big part of our every day. We’ve found that they become even more meaningful when we can connect activities with them. You’ve seen us do this with Zoo Looking, when we put together a zoo small world play scene. We also did a color mixing activity that related to Little Blue and Little Yellow. One of my very favorites, however, is a preschool math activity with the book Bear Counts. This is what I am going to share today.

Preschool Math with Bear Count

This post was sponsored by Melissa & Doug Toys. All opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Preschool Math Activity with Bear Counts

What we used for this activity:

I often think of Bev Bos’ quote:

quote bev bos if it hasn't been in the hand...

In fact, I use this quote whenever I come up with ways to teach our toddlers and preschoolers concepts. So, when I put together a simple counting and number recognition activity to go with Bear Counts, I used our bead sequencing kit.

Before we even read the book, I placed the bead kit on our activity table so the preschoolers could explore the beads, placing them on on the hardwood dowels. (Note: We purchased this bead sequencing kit for our older preschoolers who are ready to work on patterning. However, removing the pattern cards makes the activity more developmentally appropriate for 3 year olds. We love being able to adapt our toys for different age groups!)

They loved feeling the chunky wooden beads in their hands, and quickly realized the dowels could be removed. This turned into a fun fine motor activity!

Preschool Math with Bear Count

During circle time, we read the book. Later, we did some related activities.

Counting the beads:

During small groups, I gave each child a number. They counted that many beads and placed them on the dowel.

 

Preschool Math with Bear Count

As they were counting the beads, they touched each one.

Preschool Math with Bear Count

Preschool Math with Bear Count

I had also drawn circles on the white butcher paper that covered the table, making sure they were the colors of the beads. I placed a wooden number inside the circle and they had to find the matching colored beads and count out the number that was in their circle. This added some color recognition to the activity!

Preschool Math with Bear Count

Preschool Math with Bear Count

We then read the book one more time. We placed the wooden numbers on top of the printed numbers on the book’s page.

Preschool Math with Bear Count

Preschool Math with Bear Count

Then we matched the beads to the numbers according to colors.

Preschool Math with Bear Count

How to you use books in your classroom? What activities do you create after reading?

 

Preschool Math with Bear Count

More hands-on activities to try:

Shape Activities for Preschoolers      Learn how to count in preschool     10 Literacy Games for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Counting with Race Cars

Toddlers love cars! Well, they love anything on wheels. But cars seem to be the biggest hit. We’ve done many activities in our classroom involving cars, even painting with them! So, I just knew counting with race cars was going to be popular.

toddler counting with race cars

 

Counting with Race Cars

There are so many fun ways to build counting skills through play. This is perfect for toddlers who want to keep moving! I knew when I put together this race car counting activity that our toddlers would love it.

I was so right!

Today I am writing about this fun activity over at the Melissa & Doug blog. Head over there and see the fun we had: Toddler Race Car Counting.

toddler counting with race cars

More ideas for toddlers:

Toddler Painting with Firetrucks - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Toddler Painting with Balls     First Art with Toddlers: Circle Painting

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Easy Shape Activities for 2 and 3 Year Olds

Teaching shapes doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, we prefer easy shape activities for 2 and 3 year olds. Something tells me that’s why you landed on this post. You are searching for the same!

There are so many fun, hands-on ways to introduce children to different shapes at in the classroom (and also at home!). No worksheets. No flashcards. Simple shape activities that involve hands-on learning.

Young children can learn to identify and name circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, and ovals. I am excited to share this collection with you!

I’ve also put together a collection of activities for math and literacy that are also hands-on and appropriate for this age group:
 Shape Activities for Preschoolers

 

 
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Easy Shape Activities for 2 and 3 Year Olds

Please note: Photos for each activity are in the collage below it, starting in the top left corner.

 

Build shape recognition using toys.

Make circles by painting with spools.

Play a shape game while also recognizing colors.

Make circles with a DIY circle stamper.

preschool shape activities

Mix colors while stamping circles from paper tubes.

Take apart your nesting toys to stamp shapes with paint.

Make a simple shape collage. (Homegrown Friends)

Go on a shape hunt at the playground (free printable included). (Buggy and Buddy)

 

 

preschool shape activities

Paint with different shapes of foam blocks. (Meri Cherry)

Make a shape puzzle using blocks you already have. (Twodaloo)

Trace shapes on a chalkboard. (Hands On As We Grow)

Create a fine motor shape bin. (Stir the Wonder)

preschool shape activities

Make a shape sorting activity from an ice cube tray. (Mess for Less)

Make paper roads in different shapes and trace with cars. (Adventures of Adam)

Play shape hopscotch indoors! (Housing a Forest)

Use colored construction paper to create a train color sorting activity. (Mom Inspired Life)

 

preschool shape activities


 

Take a look at these activities, too!

preschool alphabet sensory play      Learn how to Count      water activities for preschoolers - teaching 2 and 3 year olds

 

Shape Activities for Preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Learn How to Count with Toys

 

You know all those toys you have in your classroom or home? They make easy learning activities! Recently I wrote a guest post over at the Melissa & Doug blog showing how toddlers and preschoolers can learn how to count with toys. You can take all of a toy, or just pieces from a toy, even mixing several toys together.

While writing on the Melissa & Doug blog, I realized it would be fun to find other ways to create simple math activities using toys you already have.

Can I get your input, too? Scroll down to the comments section and share how you’ve used toys to create learning activities. I’d love to share it in a future blog post!

Learn how to Count

Learn How to Count with Toys

Last month I wrote a guest post for Melissa & Doug on how we use toys to teach shapes. When Melissa & Doug sent me some farm toys, I immediately had an idea on using them for a small group math activity. I was able to adapt it for our toddlers, too, using a simpler idea. Head on over to see just what we did!

Melissa and Doug Counting Activity

 

More counting activities using toys:

I decided to have even more fun with this and check out how other bloggers have used toys for counting activities.

 

Counting Trains: Use your child’s toy train collection for a hands-on manipulative to use to learn simple math skills like counting, 1:1 correspondence, and addition/ subtraction. (School Time Snippets)

preschool train math game

Counting and Measuring with Lego: Using numbered lego blocks is great for recognizing numbers, counting, ordering, and measuring. (The Imagination Tree)

Car Parking Lot Math Game: Play this parking lot game with your next transportation themed unit or just for fun! (Life Over C’s)

preschool math using toys

Counting Game: Use your choice of small toys for this fun kids number game. (B-Inspired Mama for Kids Activities Blog)

Playroom Count and Match: Find enough items from the playroom that are obviously alike for the groupings, sort and then count! (No Time for Flashcards)

preschool math

Transportation Graphing: Round up some different “modes” of transportation for this graphing activity. Sort by land, sea and air. (I Can Teach My Child)

preschool math

Color Sorting Math Game: Sort toys by color, place on a graph, and count. (Frugal Fun 4 Boys)

Measuring with Magnatiles: Measure various-sized toys you find around the room. (And Next Comes L)

preschool math

Here are even more math ideas for young children:

Preschool Math Activities      preschool math     how to make math fun for preschoolers

Learn how to count in preschool


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Learning Shapes in Preschool (Using Toys!)

Learning shapes in preschool can – and should be – quite fun!

And guess what? You can use toys for simple, hands-on shape activities. In fact, you might already have these toys on hand. You can even take pieces of different toys and use them together in one learning activity.

I am super excited to be partnering with Melissa and Doug sharing these shape activities!  Head on over to the Melissa and Doug Blog to see the fun we had.

 

Learning Shapes in Preschool

 

Learning Shapes in Preschool

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 

 

 




How to Make Math Fun for Preschoolers

Learning how to make math fun for preschoolers can feel like a challenge. Do you sit them down and do flashcards? Or what about worksheets?

Are they having fun? Is this enjoyable?

The key to getting young children excited about math is to make it fun so that they don’t even realize they are learning something. There is no pressure. No drilling. And you certainly don’t need flashcards and worksheets.

I’ve put together a collection of activities that will build that foundation for kids to enjoy math. Take a look and let me know which ones you try!

 

 

how to make math fun for preschoolers

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

How to Make Math Fun for Preschoolers

 

Counting and Playing with 10 Ducks: We love putting together activities based on favorite counting picture books. This sensory math play is based on Eric Carle’s book 10 Rubber Ducks.

Roll and Dot the Number: This is a good game for preschoolers who can identify numbers 1-6. The child rolls the die and then identifies the number represented by the dots on the die. They find that number on the free printable that is provided and stamps it with a marker. (From Mom Inspired Life)

Race to Fill the Cup: Any small items and a cup work fine with this game. The first person to fill the cup wins! (From Frugal Fun for Boys)

Rainy Day Math Game: Here’s a fun a weather game that encourages your preschooler to practice number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, and patterning. (From My Nearest and Dearest)

Counting and Measuring with Lego: I love how easy this is! If you have Duplo bricks, you can write directly on them – numbers are on one side and dots (to count) are on the other. Go as high as your child is ready for. (From The Imagination Tree)

Ladybug Number Game: Using craft sticks and ladybug clothespins, recognize the number on the stick and place that many ladybugs on it. What I love is that this can be adjusted for your child’s counting skills. (From Housing a Forest)

Bug Math Game: This game is perfect in your learning center or on the kitchen table. Roll the die, count the bugs, and put them in the jar. (From the Measured Mom)

Roll a Duplo Tower: Roll the die and see who can build the tallest tower! Lego lovers will especially enjoy this construction game. (From Stir the Wonder)

Fishing Math Game: Practice 1:1 correspondence and color recognition while fishing for numbers. You can even decorate your own fishing pole! (From Buggy and Buddy)

Pom Pom Counting Activity: This is a simple DIY idea that also strengthens fine motor skills while using tongs. (From Laughing Kids Learn)

Here are other fun ways to add math to your preschooler’s day:

Involve them in cooking and baking, sort laundry, weigh produce in the store, count steps while going up the stairs, play board games, and read picture books that involve counting!

 

Bonus! Grab these themed monthly counting cards!

Preschool Counting Cards Printable

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!

For only $4.00 download your PDF digital bundled pack now!

 

You can find even more math ideas on my pin board!

How to Make Math Fun - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

More activities to try:

STEM Playdough Building Challenge for Preschooolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Learning the Alphabet - Activities for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      science experiments for preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




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

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

 

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

 

Measuring Scoops of Vegetables for Soup

 

great gift for mom

 

Measuring salt for our Mother’s Day gift.

 

Letter Beads Discovery Bottles

 

Measuring Rice for a Rainbow Discovery Bottle

 

how to make a terrarium with kids

 

Measuring Rocks for Our Terrariums

 

scented play dough

 

Measuring Salt to Make Play dough

 

winter discovery bottles

 

Measuring Liquid for Discovery Bottles

 

Planting Seeds with Kids

 

Measuring Soil for Seeds

 

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

 

Count the Circles for the Snowman

 

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

 

Shape and Color Sorting Game

 

COUNTING

 

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

 

small group activities for preschoolers 5

 

Color and Number Recognition in Small Groups 

 

 
Preschool Counting Activity for Spring

 

 Spring Counting Activity
 

 

 Literacy Activities

 

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

 

Five Little Speckled Frogs Finger Play

 

Five Little Speckled Frogs Fingerplay Activity 

 

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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Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds