It is never too soon to get your little one started on their learning journey, and preschool math activities are one great way to help your child thrive in kindergarten and beyond. Math for preschoolers strengthens their problem-solving abilities as they learn to recognize patterns when counting or sorting blocks. Preschool math goes beyond memorization, teaching critical thinking as children learn how to break down problems step by step.
Counting and Number Recognition
Preschool counting activities teach your child the meaning of each number, an important step toward solving more complex problems. Number recognition is another part of the journey, as children learn to recognize numbers by name, remember what they look like and match them to their quantities.
Number & Counting Activities
- Paper bag counting: In this example of preschool counting activities, set up several paper bags and have your child count out a certain number of small items (like buttons) to put in each bag.
- Tube counting: Write numbers on the outside of cardboard tubes and have your child drop small items in the tubes, counting to the number on the outside as they go.
- Monster eyes counting: Print out a blank monster face and let your child add sticker or googly eyes to it counting each one as they stick it on.
Shapes and Patterns
Learning preschool shapes is an important step toward number identification, letter recognition and more. Once your child recognizes shapes, they can identify patterns, which helps them make logical connections and expand their reasoning skills.
Shape Sorting and Matching Activities
- Sticker shape matching: Draw shapes on pieces of paper, then give your child shape stickers to press onto the corresponding papers.
- Shape scavenger hunt: A favorite among preschool matching activities! Draw shapes on paper, then let your child find household items that match those shapes.
- Card matching: Draw shapes like a triangle, square, circle and rectangle on index cards, making duplicates of each, then have your child match the cards.
Measurement and Comparison
From noticing a toy train is bigger than a toy car to stretching to see if they are taller than their friend, your child is already measuring and comparing. Teaching children about measurement encourages them to explore comparisons and, in doing so, grow their vocabulary and develop important new skills.
- Pipe cleaner gardens: Create pipe cleaner flowers of different heights, then let your child “plant” the flowers in order from shortest to tallest in molding dough or foam floral blocks.
- Yarn height comparison: Measure your child’s height with a piece of yarn, then let them bring it around and compare the yarn’s length to other items in the room.
- Leapfrog measurement: This is a great measurement activity for preschoolers with the wiggles! Draw a chalk line outside and let your child jump from there. Mark where they land, and have them measure how far they went.
Basic Addition and Subtraction
Number activities for preschoolers are all about providing your child with the mathematical foundation they need in school and life, and when it comes to arithmetic, a solid understanding of basic addition and subtraction are key to learning more complicated math.
Adding and Subtracting Activities
- Domino addition: Number sticky notes 1 to 10, then let your child add up each domino’s dots and place it by the sticky note of its sum.
- Roll and stack: Let your little one roll the dice! Have them count the dots on one die and stack that many blocks, then count the next die and add that number to the tower. Have them count up how many blocks total they’ve stacked.
- Smash and subtract: Roll molding dough into balls then write out a simple subtraction problem, like 4 - 2. Have your child count out 4 balls, then smash 2 from that line, before asking them how many are left.
Spatial Awareness and Geometry
Spatial awareness is a smorgasbord of shapes, space, positions, directions and movement concepts your child can explore in and out of the classroom. Preschool geometry is an inviting way for your little one to begin to grasp these theoretical concepts with the help of physical aids like blocks and puzzles.
- Feed the block monster: Draw monster faces on paper bags with different shaped holes for mouths. Let your child match and “feed” shaped blocks through corresponding mouth holes.
- Tape shape roll: Use tape to make large shapes on the ground. Let your child roll a ball over them and call out what journey the ball took, like, “the ball rolled over the triangle then over the square and past the circle.”
- Find shapes at the playground: If you’re looking for geometry activities for your child, you can ask them to point out then play on different shaped playground equipment, reminding them that geometry is fun!