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Winter Fishy, Fishy Math

Almost all animals in polar regions eat fish, especially when other food sources are low. Have children wash their hands in preparation for this fishy activity!

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Introduce pre-math skills and words with this delicious fishy tasting activity for preschoolers!

Fish crackers are a yummy snack, but can they be used to learn pre-math skills such as counting, grouping, and patterning? You bet! 

Give each child a plate. Have children roll a die and place that many fish crackers on the plate. From there you can engage in conversations about pre-math skills. 

Get a (little) helping hand. Extend this activity by asking the child, if you eat one, how many will be left? Or after you eat five, let’s count how many you still have on the plate!

Travel the world. Discuss what types of animals eat fish. If you are learning about polar regions, what animals would eat fish there? Penguins? Polar Bears? What other animals? 

Explain. Do some people eat fish? How can animals and humans eat the same food? Do they eat it differently? Does a Penguin eat a fish that has been cooked and on a plate?


For this developmental activity you will need:

Fish-shaped crackers



Learning Outcomes


Social, Language, and Cognitive


Descriptive Language, Pre-Math Skills, Fine-Motor Skills


Receptive Language

Expressive Language 

Number Sense


1:1 correspondence


Step 1:

Give each child one plate. Have children roll a die and place that many fish crackers on the plate. Compare who has more, less, and the same number of fish. Help children figure out how many fish they need to have six. (Add two dice for older children, if you wish.)

Step 2:

Use the fish crackers to practice simple addition. Place one fish on a plate and say "one." Then place one more fish on the plate and ask, "How many fish are on the plate now?" Continue adding fish until there are 11 fish on the plate. You can also practice subtraction with older children.

Step 3:

Give each child 15 fish crackers. Help children create columns of fish. Place one fish on the table. Next to the first fish, place a second fish. Set the third fish above that fish so you have one column of 1 fish and one column of 2 fish. Continue in this fashion until you have five columns of fish. (The last column will have 5 fish.)

Step 4:

Give each child one portion of crackers. Invite children to form a shape, letter, or object with the fish. Then, invite everyone to eat the fish, just like their animal friends would!

Keep the fun going.

If you have rainbow fish crackers, introduce patterns, starting with an AB pattern and extending it to AABB and beyond.

Playful Questions

How many fish do you have?

Do fish crackers come from the water? 

Which plate has more fish on it?

Which plate has less on it? 

Have you eaten fish before?

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