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Ice Cream Scoop Counting

This brightly colored math activity involves manipulating playdough and counting, working the fine motor muscles and practicing counting skills in the process!

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Practice counting with this hands-on playdough activity!

This activity can be done anywhere and the motions of rolling balls of playdough while counting will keep kids busy for a while! Kids can use their imaginations to make up flavors, serve their friends a scoop in a group classroom setting and involve some addition and subtraction skills too!

🥣DIY at home: Although store bought playdough is quick and easy, if you don’t have access to it make your own! Flour, water, salt and food coloring go a long way. Plus you can make your own colors and scents!

Got a math whiz? If your child is really grasping the concept of counting, challenge them by giving them two numbers and having them roll ice cream scoops for each and add them up.

🔖 No dough? No problem!  This activity can be done with bingo dabbers on a laminated sheet.


For this activity you will need:






Learning Outcomes




Completing number operations


Adding and subtracting double-digit numbers


Step 1:

Cut small triangles out of cardboard (about 5-8 triangles in total).

Step 2:

Write numbers on one side of the cardboard and place the cardboard to your paper in a straight line at the bottom.

Step 3:

Place the paper with the cones in front of your child and encourage them to make small balls out of the playdough representing 1 scoop of ice cream per ball. The number of scoops should match the number on the cone.

⬆️ For older preschoolers:  Encourage addition and subtraction between the cones - the kiddos can use the ice cream scoops as counters to help!

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Younger kiddos may have a hard time counting and may be more interested in rolling the balls of dough - lean into it and have them practice these skills before adding another task of counting on top of it.

Playful Questions

How many ice cream scoops are on the first cone?

Can you create a pattern using your colors of ice cream?

What flavor is the red/blue/yellow dough?

If you have 5 ice cream scoops and I have 3, who has more?

How can we split all of our ice cream evenly between me and you?

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