As a parent, you want your child to have the best possible start in life, and that includes a strong foundation in math. While it may seem like your child is too young to start learning math concepts, the truth is that preschool is the perfect time to introduce these ideas.
By introducing math concepts to your preschooler, you can help them develop important skills like counting, sorting, categorizing, measuring, and recognizing patterns. These skills will not only help them excel in math later on but also in other areas of life, like problem-solving and critical thinking.
But we know it can be tough to make math fun and engaging for your preschooler. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 12 Fun Math Activities for Preschoolers that you can do at home. These activities are designed to be interactive and entertaining while teaching your child important math concepts.
We hope these activities will help your child develop a love for math and lay a strong foundation for their future success. So let’s dive in and discover some fun and engaging ways to introduce math to your preschooler!
A. Number Concepts Activities
Before children can begin counting, they need to develop a fundamental understanding of numbers. This includes three important concepts: one-to-one correspondence (counting each object only once), cardinality (understanding that the last object counted represents the total quantity), and invariance (recognizing that the number of objects remains the same, even if they are arranged differently). In order to help your preschooler build these foundational skills, we’ve compiled a list of fun and engaging math activities. These will help your child develop a strong grasp of number concepts, setting them up for success in future math learning.”
1. Finding Matching Objects
One important skill preschoolers need to develop is one-to-one correspondence, which means they can match one object to another and understand that each pair consists of the same number. Finding objects that go together is a fun activity that can help with this. For example, you can gather spoons and forks or mortar and pestle and have your child match them up. Encourage them to count each set of objects to reinforce the idea that each pair consists of the same number.
Another fun activity for one-to-one correspondence is creating a counting board. You can draw or print numbers on paper and provide your child with objects, such as pom-poms or blocks. Ask them to place the correct number of objects next to each number. For example, if the number 3 is written, they would place 3 objects next to it. This helps reinforce the concept that each number corresponds to a specific quantity of objects. These activities are not only fun, but they also help to build a strong foundation in math for your preschooler.
2. Put objects in a row
The concept of invariance is an essential foundation in math that preschoolers need to learn. It teaches them that the quantity of objects remains the same, regardless of their arrangement or position. Invariance activities help preschoolers develop this skill by engaging them in tasks that demonstrate the constancy of quantity despite the variation in object arrangement.
One simple yet effective invariance activity is putting objects in a row. You can use various materials such as buttons, marbles, or toys and ask your child to count them. After they have counted the objects, rearrange them into a circle or row and ask your child to count them again. This activity helps children understand that the number of objects remains the same, even when they are repositioned. By practicing invariance activities, preschoolers can develop their understanding of basic mathematical concepts and set themselves up for future success in math.
3. Counting Fingers
Cardinality is the concept that the last number counted in a set represents the total quantity of objects in that set. It’s a fundamental skill preschoolers need to learn to understand math basics. One activity that can help develop cardinality in preschoolers is counting fingers. This activity is not only fun but also provides a hands-on approach to learning and understanding cardinality.
To start, ask your child to hold up one hand and count their fingers out loud. Then, ask them to tell you the number of fingers they have counted. Repeat this process with the other hand, counting each finger out loud. Next, ask them to count all the fingers on both hands and tell you the total number of fingers. This activity helps children understand that the final number counted represents the total quantity of objects in the set, which is a crucial aspect of cardinality.
B. Shapes and Patterns Activities
By Engaging in activities that involve shapes and patterns, preschoolers are developing early geometry skills, such as recognizing and identifying shapes, understanding spatial relationships, and identifying and creating patterns. These skills form the foundation for more advanced math concepts, such as fractions, and geometry in higher grades. Thus, shapes and patterns activities are a crucial component of comprehensive math education for preschoolers.
1. Identify Shapes at Home
Identifying shapes is an important early math skill for preschoolers, and it is an activity that can easily be done at home. You can start by pointing out basic shapes around your house, such as a square window or a circular table. Then, you can ask your child to find other objects with the same shape.
For example, you can ask them to find all the rectangles in the living room or all the triangles in the kitchen. This activity not only helps them recognize and name shapes but also develops their observation and categorization skills.
2. Making Shapes
Another activity to engage preschoolers in exploring shapes is making shapes with play dough. Play dough is a fun and versatile material that can be easily molded into different shapes and sizes, providing endless opportunities for hands-on learning. Encourage your preschooler to explore shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles, and challenge them to create more complex shapes like stars and hearts.
Playing with play dough also helps to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as children manipulate and shape the dough. To extend the activity, you can ask your child to identify the shapes they have made and count the number of sides and corners. You can also introduce the concept of symmetry by asking your child to create symmetrical shapes.
To get started with making shapes with play dough, try these tips from School Time Snippets.
3. Shape Tracing
While tracing seems a simple activity to engage in, it is an effective way to help preschoolers develop their shape recognition skills. Shape tracing involves providing your child with paper and a variety of shapes to trace, such as circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. This activity helps children to become familiar with different shapes and their characteristics, such as the number of sides and corners. It also helps to improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as they practice tracing the shapes.
To make the activity more engaging, you can use different colors of paper or encourage your child to color in the shapes after they have traced them. You can also ask your child to name the shapes they have traced and identify objects in their environment that have a similar shape.
To help get you started with shape tracing, RV App Studios has provided a printable shape tracing template that you can use. The template includes a variety of shapes, and your child can practice tracing them as many times as they like.
4. Shape Collages
Making a collage is a fun and creative way to help preschoolers explore and recognize different shapes. Shape collages involve cutting out shapes from magazines or other sources and gluing them onto paper to create a visually appealing composition. This activity helps children develop their shape-recognition skills as they identify and match different shapes with the corresponding shapes on their paper. It also helps to improve their fine motor skills as they cut and glue the shapes onto their paper.
To make the activity more engaging, you can provide your child with a variety of materials to use in their collage, such as different colors and textures of paper, stickers, and foam shapes. You can also encourage your child to use the shapes to create a picture or scene, such as a house or a flower.
For inspiration, Home Grown Friends provides an idea for a shape collage that incorporates different elements and materials.
5. Treasure Hunt
Treasure hunting is a classic activity that can help preschoolers develop their spatial reasoning skills while having fun. By hiding small objects around the room and providing your child with a map showing the objects’ locations, this activity requires children to use their spatial reasoning skills to navigate the room and locate the objects based on the map. This helps them understand the relationship between the map and the actual room in order to successfully find the hidden treasures.
Home Grown Friends provides an idea for a shape treasure hunt that incorporates different shapes and colors and encourages children to find and name the different shapes as they locate the hidden treasures. Remember to provide encouragement and praise for their spatial reasoning skills as they successfully complete the hunt.
C. Measurement and Comparing
Another essential skill for preschoolers to learn is measurement and comparison. This section will provide parents with various fun and interactive ways to teach these skills to their children.
1. Baking Together
Bonding while learning is the perfect way to spend quality time with your child, and baking together is a great activity to do while also introducing them to basic concepts of measurement. By involving your child in the baking process and talking to them about measurements, such as “We need 1/2 a cup of sugar”, you can help them understand the importance of precise measurements and introduce them to basic fractions.
Baking together also provides an opportunity to reinforce other math concepts such as counting, sequencing, and even temperature and time measurement. You can encourage your child to help you measure ingredients, count the number of eggs used, or set the timer for the baking time. Not only will this help them learn basic math skills, but it will also create special memories that they will cherish for years to come.
2. Size Sort
Sorting is an important early math skill that can help preschoolers develop their ability to categorize and compare objects based on different attributes. One fun way to work on size sorting is to use a variety of objects of different sizes, such as balls or stuffed animals, and have your child sort them from smallest to largest.
Encourage your child to use descriptive words, such as “smaller” or “larger,” as they sort the objects. You can also challenge them by adding more objects or by asking them to sort the objects based on other attributes, such as color or texture. This activity not only helps with measurement and comparing skills, but it also promotes problem-solving and critical thinking as they work to categorize and order objects.
3. Measuring with Blocks
Most children always love playing with blocks, and there are many ways to use them to teach important math skills. One great activity for preschoolers is measuring with blocks. By using blocks to measure different objects around the house, children can learn about measurement and comparison in a fun and engaging way.
To try this activity, provide your child with a set of blocks and challenge them to measure various objects around the house, such as the height of a chair or the length of a table. Encourage them to count how many blocks it takes to measure each object and compare the results. This activity helps children develop their understanding of measurement and encourages critical thinking skills. Montessori From The Heart provides excellent resources and ideas for teaching preschool math skills, including measuring with blocks.
4. Guess The Weight
Last but not least, “Guess the Weight” is a fun activity that can help preschoolers develop their ability to estimate and compare the weights of different objects. To get started, gather a variety of objects of different weights, such as toys or fruits, and have your child hold each object and guess its weight.
Encourage your child to use descriptive words, such as “heavy” or “light,” as they guess the weight of each object. You can also use a scale to weigh each object and compare the actual weight to their guess, which can help them develop their estimation skills. This activity not only promotes measurement and comparing skills but also encourages curiosity and exploration as they discover the weight of different objects.
There you have it, Mom! Twelve fun and engaging math activities that your preschooler is sure to love. Remember, the more you incorporate math into your child’s daily routine, the more natural and enjoyable it will become. Happy counting!