Fun Math Ideas for Preschoolers

Who knew math could be fun! Try some of these ideas to help your preschoolers progress from number recognition to applying the principles of counting.

Teaching basic math is an incredibly important and fundamental skill that will build a foundation for further learning. Giving preschoolers a strong basis in math literacy early on is essential to their future success in school, as well as in their day-to-day functioning.

Whether you are a parent or an early childhood educator, you can begin to teach the children in your care the basics of math with some simple lesson planning in your preschool program. These fun math ideas for preschoolers are simple, require very little materials, and best of all, children enjoy participating in them!

Number Recognition Activities

Number recognition (the ability to visually recognize and name numbers) is the first step to developing a young child’s math skills. Start building their numeracy skills with a very basic game. Create simple paper number cutouts and place them on the floor. Have each child roll a die, count the number of dots on the side facing up, and then stand on the corresponding number on the floor.

Counting With Ice Cream

Most children will be able to say numbers in a sequence by rote, but they must also develop a real understanding of numbers and how counting applies to real life. A hands-on counting activity is a great math idea for preschoolers to help them make connections between numbers and concrete objects. Cut out ice cream cone shapes and write a number from 1 to 6 on each. Next, create circular ice cream scoops using different colored paper. Have each child count and place the correct number of scoops on each cone to create their completed ice cream cones.

Sort and Categorize

Sorting and categorizing items helps children recognize patterns, and understand how objects are similar or different. Start your sorting activity by going for a walk outdoors, and have your preschoolers collect natural objects of varying sizes, colors and shapes. When you return home or to the classroom, have children sort their collected objects in a number of ways, from smallest to largest, by like colors, or by type of object.

Shapes and Geometry

Shape-related math ideas for preschoolers will encourage children to identify shapes in real life scenarios. Have preschoolers create a book with 4 pages – one for each shape: circle, square, triangle and rectangle. Allow children to identify and cut out pictures from magazines and glue them on the corresponding shape page. For example, a child may choose to put a basketball on the circle page, a window on the rectangle page, or a tent on the triangle page.

Try Cooking Together

Cooking offers a number of excellent opportunities to get preschoolers thinking about mathematical concepts by weighing, counting, estimating and measuring ingredients for recipes. Cooking is a fun math idea for preschoolers that gives them a hands on way to build math skills and begin to learn math-related vocabulary. Demonstrate basic fraction concepts by showing how many of the 1/2 cups fit into a whole measuring cup, and how many of the 1/4 cups fit into 1/2 a cup.

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Ron Spreeuwenberg

Ron is the Co-Founder & CEO of HiMama, where he leads all aspects of a social purpose business that helps early childhood educators improve learning outcomes for children.