Over the years I collected these preschool math games for kids while helping my students develop the analytical side of their brain and exposing them to the world of math.
By the end of preschool, a child should be familiar with concepts such as patterns, shapes, numbers, and measurements. The vocabulary they acquire during the early years are the building blocks for good mathematical understanding later on.
Even if math was never your strongest subject at school, you will still find it fun to play these preschool math games with your kids.
Introduce math patterns slowly with a sequence of two and then build up to sequences of three and more.
Preschoolers who master the understanding of math patterns are able to:
1. Recognize patterns
2. Create patterns
3. Transfer the concept from one medium to the next. (Body patterns, drawing patterns, building patterns)
Look for patterns around the house. Does your carpet have a pattern? Perhaps the bedspread or the curtains. When you find a pattern say it out load. "Blue stripe, white stripe, blue stripe, ..."
You can create a word pattern. Begin with two words such as: "Mommy, daddy. Mommy, daddy." Later, add a third word: "Mommy, daddy, me. Mommy, daddy, me."
You need a number of people to make this pattern. We play it in class everyday. When the children sit down in a circle, they make a pattern of: "Boy, girl. Boy, girl..." You can do the same at home with stuffed animals or with objects that are big and small.
Use your body to create patterns. For example: "Clap, stomp. Clap, stomp." Or "Clap, clap, snap. Clap, clap, snap." The options are endless and the more creative you are the more fun it will be for your child.
Create a Bead Pattern
Using beads you can create a pattern in a necklace or bracelet.
Use Lego or other building blocks to create patterns.
If your child loves drawing, then let them draw a pattern. It can be triangles and circles, or red flowers, purple flowers.....
The Chicken Song
This is a great silly pattern to dance along to with your child:
An easy way to expose your child to numbers is by playing card games such as 'War' or 'Uno'. At first, my son had to count the number of hearts and diamonds on each card to find out which one is larger.
I Spy Numbers
Go on a number hunt. Look for street signs and help your child recognize the numbers. Take the time to explain to your child the meaning and importance that numbers play in our live, especially while we are on the road.
Make a simple Bingo card with numbers from 1 to 10. Begin by calling out the numbers and showing them to your child. At a more advanced stage call out the numbers without showing them.
I placed a large calendar on the fridge at my son's eye level. We begin our day by reading the calendar. "What day is it today? Today is Monday, January 7, 2009. Yesterday was Sunday, January 6, 2009." This activity helps children recognize the value of numbers in our lives. It also gives them an understanding of the order of the numbers (7 comes after 6)
Number Match Up
Write the numbers from 1 to 10 on cards. Using manipulative blocks or sticks, put the right number of items next to the correct number card.
Numbers in the Kitchen
When you are cooking or baking with your child, bring to their attention the numbers in the cooking book, measuring cups and on food item boxes.
Write a number on a place mat using tape. Give your child some play dough and let them trace the number.
Songs such as: "The Ants Go Marching" and "Hickory Dickory Dock" help reinforce the concept of numbers.
Put an alarm clock by your child's bed. Give them responsibilities such as "leave your bed in the morning when the clock shows 7am." If your child is just beginning to recognize their numbers, I would recommend putting a card with the time 7:00 written on it.
This book will provide you with lots of ideas of things you can count, preschool math games you can play and other ways to incorporate math to your daily life.
I love teaching kids about math shapes. I think it's because when I was a preschooler I used to try and see the 'shape' of things around me. Trees, stop signs, flowers, cars, whatever I saw I classified in my mind according to its geometrical shape.
When playing these math shape games, keep in mind the following shape vocabulary:
Preschoolers who master the understanding of math shapes are able to:
"I spy" with a math shapes twist
Do you know the game, for example, "I spy with my little eye something that is red?" Now that your child already knows their colors, you can change it to a shape: "I spy... something that is a triangle!"
Math Shape Guessing Bag
Hide an item in a dark bag. Let your child feel the item through the bag and describe it to you. It is a round smooth object that is larger than a golf ball. If your child is just enquiring all these new descriptive words it is a good idea for you to let the child feel the item while you describe it for them. Can they guess what it is?
Body Shapes I
Kids love to use their body and to move around. Use different body parts to create a shape. Use your whole arm to draw a circle in the air. Now use your elbow to draw a circle in the air. What about your head?? Can you draw a square with your foot on the floor?
Body Shapes II
Instead of using one body part to 'draw' a shape with, transform your whole body into a square, e.g. a triangle, a circle, etc.
Body Shapes III
Get your preschooler to follow your instructions and tell them to lie down straight, stand up straight, curve their back, have their back flat like a table and so on..
Sort objects from around the house with your child according to their shape. Describe the similarities between the items. For example, CD cases have straight sides that are all the same. What do you call that shape? DVD cases have straight lines but they are not all the same length. How do you call this shape? CDs and DVDs are made out of a curved line...
I remember that as a child I enjoyed looking at items from different directions. A water bottle from the front looks like a rectangle but if you look at it from the bottom it is a circle! Now we are beginning to get into volumes, i.e. 3D shapes.
Shape I Am
This game can be played at home or in class. Cut out shapes and tape them on your shirt. Perhaps your preschooler would like to help you cut them out. You are the shape you are 'wearing'. My son, who loves imaginary games, loves calling us circle mommy and triangle daddy instead of just plain old mommy and daddy. You can also add big, small, and colours into the mix. In Class, you can direct the children and say "circle tap a square" so that all the children wearing circles need to find a square.
Shape Match Up
Every pot has it's cover and so does every box and plastic container. Put out various sizes and shapes of pots and containers and see if your child can match them up.
Measurements are all around us. In our daily lives we measure weight, length, speed, temperature and time, just to name a few. Part of the preschool math program is dedicated to learning how to measure. There are simple ways to integrate measurement activities throughout the day.
Keep in mind the following measurement related vocabulary:
Long and Short
Compare different objects around the house. Which is taller, which is shorter? How about at the grocery store? Which bottle of ketchup is taller?
Weight of Things
Let your child be a human scale. Ask them to hold one item in each hand. Which is heavier? Is the larger item always the heavier one?? For example, compare a roll of paper towels to a full water bottle, or a bag full of pennies to a large bag of socks.
Volume Preschool Math Games
Compare drinking glasses to one another. Which one holds more liquid? The tall one or the short one? Get your child to predict. Do the same for bowls, pots, etc. more?
Penny for Good Luck
Get your child to sort pennies, nickels and dimes. Try limiting yourself to ten of each coin. Have the child count how many of each they have. Which coin has the most? the least? the same?
Larger or Smaller?
Use simple items such as crayons or lego blocks to measure different items around the house or classroom. Is the book larger, smaller, or the same size as the lego block? How about your child's body parts? Is your hand larger or smaller than the crayon?
How long is it?
Using wooden blocks or small lego pieces, get your child to measure different objects and say: "This box is 7 blocks long."
This is a fun preschool math game and your child won't even notice he's learning. Hide a ball somewhere in the house, then describe to your child where you hid the ball using words such as close to and far from. For example: "The ball is close to a place where we sit, but far from the door."
How many days until my birthday? Make a chart as an easy way to measure time and introduce your child to concepts such as weeks and months.
Preschool Activities Home > Preschool Math
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