Last Updated on October 16, 2023 by Editorial Team
Mathematics is a language that helps us process our surroundings and make sense of the world. For preschoolers, learning and understanding math is no small feat. Engaging them in learning math is not just about numbers and shapes; it’s about developing critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and building a solid foundation for future learning.
Math concepts provide the building blocks for logical reasoning, pattern recognition, and spatial awareness. They nurture a deep understanding of quantity, measurement, and relationships between objects.
By incorporating fun and playful activities, we can help little learners develop a love for numbers and approach the subject with curiosity to learn and practice. So, in the following section of the post, you’ll discover innovative and creative math activities for preschoolers to make math both fun and educational for the little bundles of joy.
Mathematical wonders: Activities to spark numerical curiosity
Given below activities will take you and your kids through the world of numbers, shapes, and patterns. These engaging activities for preschoolers will ignite their curiosity and lay the foundation for a lifelong love of math.
1. Rainbow Walk Simon Says
This activity combines the joy of colors and shapes with the challenge of following instructions. Practicing following directions with the help of activities for preschoolers can help them with the development of active listening skills and improves auditory memory.
- Prepare a series of colored spots or pieces of colored paper folded in various shapes, forming a path on the floor in a line or a zigzag pattern.
- Explain to the preschoolers that you will be playing a game of “Simon Says Rainbow Walk.” When you say “Simon says,” they must follow the instruction, but if you don’t say, “Simon says” before the instruction, they should not perform the action.
- Start the game by being the “Simon” and giving the instructions. For example:
- “Simon says, step on the blue square.”
- “Simon says, jump to the yellow circle.”
- “Simon says, tiptoe to the green triangle.”
- “Jump to the orange kite.”
- “Simon says, wiggle to the red square.”
- The preschoolers should carefully listen to each instruction and only perform the action if “Simon says” precedes it.
- Continue giving instructions, combining colors, shapes, and movements. Feel free to get creative with actions, such as hopping, spinning, or stomping.
- If a preschooler performs an action without “Simon says,” they are out for the round. Encourage them to continue watching and listening for the next round.
- Keep playing, giving new instructions, and eliminating players until there is a winner or until everyone has had a chance to be “Simon.”
This adaptation adds an interactive and engaging twist to the color sorting and identification activity by incorporating the popular game of Simon Says. It encourages active participation, listening skills, and color recognition in a fun and playful manner.
2. Colour Wheel Art
Imagine a mesmerizing circle filled with every color you can think of. That’s what we call a color wheel! Addressing the benefits of coloring for students, this activity will provide the opportunity for kids to become brilliant artist and design their very own color wheel.
- Gather all the materials you’ll need. Find a large piece of paper or cardboard that will serve as the canvas for your color wheel. Draw a big circle on it using a pencil or marker. This circle will be the foundation of your colorful creation.
- Now, divide your circle into sections, like slices of a pie. Each section will represent a different color. To make it even more exciting, label each section with the name of the color it will hold. Think about all the colors you know and love!
- Prepare small pieces of colored paper in different shapes. These colorful treasures will be your palette. Cut or tear the pieces of paper into small, manageable shapes. They will be the building blocks of your masterpiece.
- Let your creativity soar! Choose a color from your palette and find the corresponding section on your color wheel. Apply glue to the back of the colored paper piece and carefully stick it onto the correct section. Repeat this process, choosing different colors for each section, until your color wheel becomes a vibrant symphony of hues.
- Take a step back and admire your work. Your color wheel is now complete, showcasing a dazzling array of colors.
Remember, the color wheel is not just a work of art; it’s a tool that helps us understand how colors work together. Each section represents a different shape in unique colors, and as you explore your color wheel, you’ll discover how colors can harmonize, blend, and create new possibilities.
3. Colour Sorting Cups
Practice sorting skills and observation skills with this creative sorting and classifying activity. This activity will introduce students to a variety of shapes and colors and works on their identifying and analyzing skills.
- Gather enough plastic cups or containers in different colors along with a collection of small objects, such as buttons, pom-poms, or beads, all shimmering in the same hues as our cups. Put them together in a box or a bowl.
- Lay out the cups in front of you, arranging them in a rainbow of colors.
- Now instruct students to put their hands into the box of small objects and carefully pick one up. Observe its color closely and sort the object into the cup that matches its hue.
- Repeat this process with each small object, sorting them into their corresponding cups based on their colors.
- Step back and marvel at your incredible sorting skills! You have successfully organized the cups, each one proudly displaying its collection of colorful treasures. Celebrate your achievement and the harmony you’ve brought to the kingdom of Color Sorting Cups.
This activity isn’t just about sorting colors; it’s about developing your powers of observation, enhancing your fine motor skills, and embracing the joy of order and arrangement.
II. Shape Detection and Creation
4. Body Shape Poses
This activity can provide a break from normal lessons and engage your little learners in some physical activity impacting positively their health, energy, and focus levels. Before starting, instruct kids that our bodies are incredibly flexible and capable of making all kinds of shapes. Encourage them to let their creativity flow and not be afraid to be silly and imaginative.
- Explain that you will call out different shapes, such as “triangle,” “circle,” “square,” or even “heart.” When you call out a shape, the children must use their bodies to strike a pose that represents that shape. Encourage them to think about the lines, curves, and angles of each shape.
- Start with simple shapes like a circle or a square to get the preschoolers warmed up. Demonstrate the pose yourself to give them an idea. For example, for a circle, you can curl up into a ball, and for a square, you can stretch your arms and legs wide and join hands with peers to form the four sides of the square.
- Begin calling out shapes one by one. Give the children a moment to interpret the shape and create their pose. Let them hold their poses for a few seconds, allowing everyone to observe and appreciate each other’s creative interpretations.
- After each shape poses, encourage the children to relax and get ready for the next one. Remind them that this activity is all about having fun, being creative, and embracing their unique expressions of shape.
As you progress, feel free to introduce more challenging shapes or even combinations of shapes. Watch as their imaginations soar and their bodies contort into exciting and unexpected shapes. Remember, this activity is not about getting the poses perfect. It’s about exploring shapes with our bodies, laughing, and enjoying the process of creative expression. To extend your lesson on movements, you can also check out movement books for preschoolers introducing them to new actions and poses.
5. Shape Stamping Art
You must have noticed how colors fascinate kids, especially watercolors. Similar to the idea of hand printing, this activity will let kids enjoy coloring along with learning shapes and patterns.
- Set up the stamping station with a variety of objects that have different shapes. These can include sponges cut into shapes like circles, squares, or triangles, cookie cutters, or foam stickers in various shapes. Arrange them neatly on a tray or in separate containers.
- Distribute sheets of paper to each little artist. Make sure the paper is large enough to accommodate their beautiful creations.
- Provide non-toxic washable paint in vibrant colors. Encourage the children to choose their favorite colors and pour small amounts of paint into shallow containers or plates.
- Show the children how to dip a shape stamp into the paint, making sure to cover the entire shape with a thin, even layer of paint.
- Carefully guide the children to press the paint-drenched shape stamp onto their paper. Encourage them to apply gentle, even pressure to ensure a clear and defined shape imprint.
- They can stamp one shape repeatedly or create elaborate compositions by combining different shapes and colors.
Once the masterpieces are complete, allow the artwork to dry. You can display their artwork proudly, creating a gallery of shape-stamped wonders! With Shape Stamping Art, we’re blending shapes, colors, and creative expression into a delightful artistic experience. It’s a chance to explore shapes, experiment with colors, and let the imagination run wild!
III. Estimation and Measurement
6. The Mystical Liquid Fill-Up Adventure
Water always fascinates little kids and they love to play with water, especially during summer. This activity will not only help them learn an important concept but also let them play and enjoy the water.
- Arrange for a big vessel of water along with different small cups, bowls, jars, etc of different shapes and volumes.
- Give every student a small bucket to fill and a small pouring object of their choice.
- Ask each kid to take turns pouring water from the grand vessel into their several small buckets, observing and adjusting their estimations as the water fills up.
- Students need to count how many times they have poured from big vessel into their buckets or how many small jars are required to fill a bucket.
- Guide and observe the students throughout the activity and keep a check if they’re doing it right and made the right observation.
With the help of this activity, introduce students to various shapes and sizes of containers that influence their water-holding capacities equipping them with the concept of measurement of liquids. You can also check out volume activities for more creative ways to equip students with the measurement of the holding capacity of different containers.
7. Mystery Box Weigh-In
You must have seen kids holding different objects and tends to act as if they’re holding a very heavy object signifying how strong they are. This activity will use their estimation power and introduces the concept of measuring weight in terms of heavy and light.
- Arrange for different boxes of sizes appropriate for kids. Fill these boxes with fascinating objects like blocks, toy cars, or cuddly stuffed animals.
- Ask students to pick any object from boxes in both of their hands and anticipate which is heavier and which is light in weight.
- Encourage each participant to carefully examine the objects and make estimations of their weight. Will it be heavy like a giant rock or light as a feather? Let their imaginations guide your estimations!
Guide students throughout the activity. Also, show them how to know the weight of an object by holding it in hand. Discuss the reasons behind the discrepancies and the factors that influence an object’s weight.
8. Footstep Measurement
Have you ever noticed kids comparing the length of their pencils? This activity will introduce them to length measurement and estimating it as big or small.
- Present the area you wish to measure—a distant spot within the classroom or a delightful corner of the outdoor area.
- Encourage each student to confidently estimate the number of footsteps required to reach the destination. Will it be a short stroll or a grand expedition?
- Ask every kid to come one by one, take turns, and count their footsteps as they stride towards the destination.
- Now ask them to compare their estimations with the actual count and engage in lively discussions about your findings. What factors influenced the number of footsteps?
Introduce students to how the different sizes of every student’s feet led to different numbers of footsteps taken to reach the destination. Engage the explorers in a discussion about estimation and measurement. Students can practice their measurement skills with more such measurement activities designed carefully for little learners.
IV. Number Representation
9. Number Tower Challenge
The Number Tower Challenge aims to combine your stacking skills with the exciting world of numbers. Let’s dive right in and explore the magical land of counting and building!”
- Gather all the preschoolers in a designated play area with building blocks or cups.
- Begin by explaining the activity: “In this challenge, we will be building towers using our blocks or cups, but with a twist! Each tower we build will have a specific number of blocks. Your mission is to construct a tower that matches the given number.”
- Demonstrate the process: Start by choosing a number, let’s say six, and show them six blocks. Say, “Look at these six blocks! Our goal is to build a tower using all six blocks. Can you do it?”
- Model counting the blocks as you stack them, emphasizing the connection between the number and the quantity. Say, “One block, two blocks, three blocks, and so on, until we reach six blocks!”
- Encourage the preschoolers to choose their own blocks or cups and begin building their towers. Remind them to count the blocks as they stack, making sure they match the given number.
- Provide guidance and support as needed, encouraging the children to independently count and compare their towers to the target number.
- Once everyone has completed their towers, go around and ask each child to describe their tower by saying, “I built a tower with [number] blocks!” This reinforces their understanding of number representation and encourages verbal communication.
- Afterward, mix it up by choosing different numbers for subsequent towers. You can gradually increase the difficulty or customize it to suit each child’s skill level.
- Repeat the process several times, allowing the children to practice their counting, stacking, and number representation skills.
The Number Tower Challenge will not only enhance their understanding of number representation but also develop their fine motor skills and critical thinking abilities.
10. Counting with Edible Objects
To familiarize kids with the idea of different sizes along with the ability to count, this activity can be employed. Before starting the activity, introduce students to different sizes of edible objects you’re collected from big to small helping them with their visual discrimination and differentiating skills.
- Gather the preschoolers around a table with a bowl of small edible objects like colorful cereal or sweet raisins. Explain the activity: “In front of you is a bowl filled with edible treasures. Our mission is to count out specific quantities of these delicious objects and place them on our plates.
- Start by demonstrating the activity with an example: “Look at this bowl of cereal. Can you give me four pieces of cereal and place them on your plate?” Model the process by counting out loud as you pick up each piece and place it on a plate.
- Encourage the children to take turns, asking them to count out different quantities of edible objects. For example, “Can you give me two raisins?” or “Can you count out seven pieces of cereal?” Support and guide them as they count, reinforcing the connection between the number word and the corresponding quantity.
- Encourage them to count aloud and display their tasty collections for everyone to see.
- After each round of counting, invite the children to enjoy their edible treasures, reinforcing the connection between numbers and the edible objects they represent.
- Repeat the activity several times, allowing each child to count out different quantities and taste their delicious creations.
- You can make it more challenging by introducing higher numbers or asking them to count out specific combinations, such as “Give me three raisins and five pieces of cereal.”
This activity will not only practice their counting skills but also object identification, sorting, and active listening skills.
Preschool is a crucial age when the brain is in the developing stage as children start to learn about the world around them. Their natural curiosity to learn can be shaped in such a way that their love for learning never ends. Activities here play a very important role as these bring the concepts to life preventing them from being boring and dull for kids. Mathematics is a subject, kids tend to run away from, however, activities can introduce the concepts in a fun and lively manner, actively engaging them in the learning process which in turn helps with building and nurturing the solid foundation for lifelong learning.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,