Math Activities for Preschoolers

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Looking for some fun activities to help preschoolers gain math knowledge and number sense? This lesson tells the importance or planting math knowledge early and shares engaging ideas to use in your classroom.

Why 'Teach' Math in Preschool?

Young children are like sponges, soaking up new information and building a wealth of knowledge about a wide variety of topics. While their brains aren't typically ready for many mathematical concepts, teachers can capitalize on their curiosity by providing them with opportunities to interact with and investigate in a natural way. What does this look like?

Think of the students in your classroom. If they're like most preschoolers, they love to manipulate objects and try new things out. This is because young children learn by doing. The math activities below allow children to play while they learn. Take a look.

Math Activities for Preschoolers

Building Number Sense

  • Fishing - Tie a string to the end of a stick to create a pole and attach a magnet to the end of the string. Cut out paper fish and place a paper clip on each. Number the fish and place in a small tub. Allow students to go fish, identifying the number as they pull out the fish.
    • Variation - Instead of numbering the fish, have students count the fish as they catch them.
  • Matching Games - Write numbers (1-10) on craft sticks. Place dots on another set. Place in a cup and have students pull two at a time to determine a match. Replace if not matched.
    • Variation - Draw shapes, such as stars or hearts, in place of dots. Write the number (one, two) in English and Spanish.
  • Stop and Go - Using sidewalk chalk, write the numbers 1-10 on the playground. Blow a whistle and have each student race to stand on number. Call out an activity, such as jumping jacks or hopping. Students perform the activity the same as their number.
    • Variation - Write numbers on paper and place around the room for a rainy-day movement activity.
  • Nature Walk - Write the numbers 1-10 on plastic baggies. Take the students on a nature walk and collect items, matching the number to the bags. For example, ten acorns, nine red leaves, etc.
    • Variation - Allow each student to choose a bag and write their favorite number.
  • Ice Tray Counting - Use ice trays and small items to have students count. For example, a student places a pom-pom into one section, saying 'one', etc.
    • Variation - Have students record the number they put in on a white board. Count items as they remove them and check to see if the number is the same.

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