Best Math Activities for Preschoolers
Preschool math is all about simple activities that engage early learners, support beginning skills, and entertain. The best options for preschoolers are hands-on activities that can be included in everyday play.
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Learning at the preschool level should be fun and hands-on. Kids learn as they play - experimenting, experiencing trial and error, observing, making decisions.
Some of the math concepts we can support during the preschool years include counting one to ten, sorting colors and shapes, comparing sizes and weights.
Related: This article by Scholastic discusses basic math concepts taught in preschool and kindergarten.
In daily play at home or in the classroom, there are lots of activities that can be scheduled for independent play as well as teacher-led activities. The materials can be as simple as paper and pompoms, or include props like clocks and recycled containers.
Kids can practice counting and sorting in daily play with inexpensive, low-prep activities. The ideas in this post use recycled materials and everyday household items along with stuff from the toy box.
You can easily provide fun hands-on play without expensive store bought materials.
Certain educational tools are assets that may be recommended for your child by early education specialists. These may be store-bought or handmade according to the needs of the child and practices of the OT or other professional.
The activities in this post are options you can make yourself for everyday play at home and in the classroom.
Learning through play
Kids learn best when they are interested, motivated, and involved. Our ideas to support beginning math skills are created with best practices in mind for hands-on, open-ended play.
The goal for most preschool activities is to be child-led, with guidance from the teacher where needed. Prompts require few instructions and are flexible enough to meet a variety of needs and skill levels.
This post lists all the math activities published on the Preschool Toolkit blog. The activities are divided into two categories for ease of search: Numerals and Sorting
Choose an activity or two to fill your daily schedule with fun and learning.
Here's a simple explanation of the difference between numbers and numerals.
- A number is the value or amount we are thinking about, an abstract concept. We say numbers when we are counting.
- A numeral is the symbol or name that represents a number, a visual representation. A numeral can be "2" or "two". The value can also be indicated by holding up two fingers.
The terms numeral and number are often used interchangeably, and this is generally not an issue with understanding the intent or instructions in kids activities.
Play math games with a free printable game board.
Learn to tell time with digital and analog clocks.
Match numerals and dots with a counting wheel.
Recognize numerals with a homemade counting book.
Set up an indoor bowling game with recycled containers.
A game of toss with numbered containers is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
Patterning and sorting are important math concepts. They help kids observe relationships and recognize and name colors and shapes.
Match colors and shapes with household objects.
Draw shapes in modeling clay with a STEAM activity.
Make shapes with feathers on printable templates.
Play memory games with beverage stickers (Halloween theme).
Sort jar lids into recycled packaging.
Make patterns with self-adhesive dots and recycled cups.
Match toys and small objects to shape outlines.
Sort colors and make patterns with tape and pompoms.
Trace leaves in a nature activity.
Sort fall leaves by size and color.
Learn fractions with watermelon math.