Math activities for preschool children must be fun and engaging to hold the attention of little learners. Luckily, early childhood lends itself to so many creative ways of teaching. Young children still see the magic in counting with M&Ms or patterning with holiday erasers!
Preschool Math Activities
Math activities for preschool can be built around the seasons of the year and holidays. They can also be created to fit with different unit or lesson themes. As long as the activities are meaningful and engaging, kids will love learning!
Here’s how to get started! Decide what skill or standard you’re going to teach. Then figure out how you’re going to present it to your children. Once that’s done, you can work on incorporating seasonal and holiday themes or lessons and unit themes into your activities.
Seasonal Math Activities for Preschool
Let’s say you’re working on one-to-one correspondence. You’ve decided you’ll teach the skill using ten frames. Here’s the fun part! Depending on which season it is, you can vary your manipulatives to match. Here are a few ideas for varying seasonal manipulatives:
- Fall: Use Play-Doh for students to roll into balls to use as counters. Orange Play-Doh can be “pumpkins,” red can be “apples,” etc. You can also gather real acorns for children to use. Let children use tongs to place manipulatives into ten frames for extra fine motor practice!
- Winter: Mini-holiday ornaments or snowflake cut-outs are great manipulative choices. Children can also use holiday-themed Hershey’s Kisses around Christmas and mini-hearts for Valentine’s Day.
- Spring: Easter candies around Easter time like chocolate foil-wrapped eggs are great for filling a ten frame. Around St. Patrick’s Day, go outside and pick clovers to use or use shamrock cut-outs!
incorporate Holiday Themes
Holidays are always a great time for creating fun math activities. Some holidays are known to nearly everyone, but think of looking up less popular holidays to create activities around, too!
- Halloween: I’ve always loved those witch fingers with the long nails that you can wear on your fingertips! Pick some up and let kids wear them for counting objects. They’ll think counting is super cool when they touch each object with their witch pointers!
- Thanksgiving: Cut out turkey patterns and buy a pack of colorful feathers. Place a basket filled with number cards or magnetic numbers for children to choose from. After they choose a number, have them place that many feathers on the turkey. These colorful feathers also make a fun color sorting activity!
- Christmas: For patterning, buy a large pack of holiday bows at your local dollar store. Children can make patterns with the bows. Plastic holiday ornaments and even holiday erasers work well, too.
Incorporating Unit or Lesson Themes Into Math Activities
Try incorporating your unit or lesson themes into your math activities when you can. For example, if you’re teaching a unit or lesson about dinosaurs:
- Get some fun dinosaur counters for children to use.
- Find out the size of a dinosaur footprint, then trace it onto a large paper board, and cut it out. Have children see how many of their footprints can fit inside.
- Have them sort pictures of dinosaurs with feet vs. dinosaurs with wings. There are so many options!
This also works for other themes you teach like insects, the beach, community helpers, etc. As long as you use your imagination, the possibilities are truly endless!