Maths may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of preschool activities, but it can be surprisingly easy and fun for young children. Maths helps build important skills that will help your child in school and beyond, from counting to problem-solving.
As parents, we want our kids to succeed—and the earlier you start helping develop your child’s maths skills, the better. Here are five simple maths activities for preschoolers.
1. Counting Games
Counting is a basic skill that we use every day, and preschool is an ideal time to start developing it. There are lots of fun ways to practice counting with your child, including:
Start by having your child count items around the house or choose items by colour as they walk around the room together.
Count out loud while playing games like Candyland or Snakes and Ladders.
Set up an activity where they can practise counting with one-to-one correspondence (such as laying out a block for each item).
Count the number of windows in the house across from yours. Count the number of steps in your house. Count the number of socks you can find. Count all the cars.
2. Shape Sorting
Another way to practise early maths skills is to help your little one learn about different shapes, such as circles, squares, triangles and rectangles. They can begin identifying shapes in everyday objects or toys
3. Cut and paste
This activity requires you to cut out or hole-punch circles from different colored paper. Then, give your child the circles and ask them to make different patterns with them. For example, you could say “make a pattern using one green circle followed by two blue circles” or “make a pattern using three red circles followed by two yellow circles”.
4. Number flashcards
Buy some number flashcards from your local bookstore. They usually come in packs containing all the numbers from 1 through 10 or 11 through 20 (depending on how advanced you want to go). Once you have these, play with your child by showing them one number at a time, asking them what it is and then asking them how many items on the card it represents (e.g., if the number is 4 and there are four cars on
Measuring introduces children to units of measurement and shows them how these units relate to each other. Give your child an uncooked pasta or rice noodle and ask them to “measure” different objects by laying the noodle next to the object. You can also give your child a measuring cup and ask them to measure out different amounts of water or sand while they are playing.
Put the apples and oranges on the plate or in the bowl and ask your child to count them. How many do they see? Did they see them all? What color are they? Which ones are smaller? Which ones are bigger? Which ones are harder to peel? Is there any difference in taste between the apples and oranges? How many slices will each fruit make? Cut each fruit into slices, have them count each one, then eat
A plate or bowl
Paper and pencil (optional)
A knife (optional)
Math may not seem like the most exciting subject for preschoolers, but math activities for preschoolers at home can be a great way to get your child interested in the subject. Maths is not just about numbers. It’s also about patterns, shapes, and logic. The sooner you start introducing your child to maths, the better.
Maths Activities for Preschoolers at Home
Maths activities for preschoolers at home range from simple to more advanced. Your child’s age and skill level will influence how much difficulty you want to include in the activity.
For example, if you have a two-year-old who’s just starting to write letters, you might want to use basic counting activities that focus on word recognition. You could also have your child practice their number skills by having them recognize different shapes and colours. These activities can help kids learn shapes without the hassle of drawing or writing numbers. If your child is older than this, you might consider using games like Simon Says or BINGO.
Count everything! Count the bananas in the bunch, count the blocks as you stack them, count the toys before putting them in the toy box, etc. If you have a number line on your wall, use it or make one with tape on a hard floor.
2. Number Cards
Make sets of cards with numbers 1-10 and/or 11-20. You can also make flash cards with shapes that match the number (i.e., a triangle for 3). Go over them regularly.
3. Write Numbers
Once your child has mastered counting and knows how to say numbers 1 -10, begin practicing writing their numbers in sand, shaving cream, or other finger-friendly surface. Show your child how to form each number correctly (allowing them to trace it) and then encourage them to try writing it on their own. If they need help with formation, model how to write it again. As they master each number continue adding numbers until they know 1-20. Once they have mastered numbers 1-20 you can continue with 21-30, 31-40, 41-50 and so on until they have learned all of their numbers.
Create a DIY number matching game with dot stickers on index cards. Have your preschooler sort through the cards and match each one to its corresponding number!
Make a DIY abacus with beads and toothpicks. Show them how you can use it as an adding machine by moving the beads up or down depending on how many you want to add together.
Practice counting out loud together while playing hide-and-seek: “One potato… two potato… three potato… four!”
You’ve heard of the 100th day of school, but how about the 100th day at home?
Your child is probably used to a classroom full of their peers, but you can recreate that in your own house. It’s never too early to have some fun with math (or just have fun in general). How many stuffed animals does your child have? How many beds does your child sleep in? Count them all together to find out!
And that’s not all. For preschoolers, math can be as simple as counting how many steps it takes to get from one side of the house to another. You can also ask each other questions like “How many fingers am I holding up?”
If you want to get a little bit more creative, draw simple shapes and ask your preschooler which ones they see. You could even make shapes out of food—like arranging carrots into a smiley face.
Incorporating math into your daily life will help your child get comfortable with numbers and concepts before they even start kindergarten. And who knows—you might even learn something new along the way!
Preschoolers love to explore their world, and learning math is a big part of that. Maths are all around us as we go about our daily lives, so it’s easy to incorporate them into playtime and teach your child some basic concepts.