Teaching math at an early age introduces children to thinking processes that are fundamental to a healthy learning experience. Even young children can get a head start with math activities for preschoolers, since small children are keen to qualify and assign value to the things that make up their world.

We gathered some fun exercises to include in preschool math lesson plans that will help parents and teachers alike. Before going through them, let’s talk about some general rules for introducing new concepts to children and stirring their interest.

preschoolers in their school's yard

Practical Math Activities for Preschoolers

You can create some fun preschool math lesson plans by combining entertaining exercises. These shape elementary mental processes for a good long-term learning experience and understanding of the surrounding world.

Some Ground Rules

To stir curiosity, you can include objects and concepts children are familiar with and enjoy. However, using different ones can be more successful, since it will make the experience much more interesting. You can include “cool” activities like Movie Day or teach the class outside. You can teach the basics of counting, estimation, and written numbers on the same day if you limit yourself to numbers from 1 to 10.

Now, here are some preschool math activities which will help you create math lesson plans for preschool children:

Math Activities for Preschoolers 101: Numbers

Some fun preschool math activities that will help children learn how to write numbers and their sequencing:

math activities for preschoolers: counting

1. A Numbered Puzzle

You can create a numbered puzzle by drawing lines on thick paper to shape irregular, but similarly sized pieces. The preschooler(s) will have to solve the puzzle by learning the sequencing of the numbers. You can start with a 1 to 10 puzzle and continue with a 10-20 one in class. For a complete learning experience, you can combine these methods with others mentioned in this article.

Always ask children to give examples and use their questions to elaborate or make things easier to understand.

Math Activities for Preschoolers 102: Counting

To make the process as natural as possible, it is recommended to continue your lesson with general counting exercises.

2. Take Them to a Place They Enjoy and Count Trees/Buildings/Toys

Take the kid(s) to a safe environment – like a playroom that has padding or pillowing. There, you can count:

  • How many stairs high they can reach with only one step.
  • The number of puzzle pieces or toys are there.
  • How many balls there are in a ball pit – which can also be a good moment to introduce “estimation” as a notion.

math activities for preschoolers - playroom

Of course, you can also have an excursion day to a nearby park, zoo, or botanical garden. Keep in mind, though, if you are a preschool teacher and want to take the class outside, you will need the help of two or three colleagues to make sure everything goes as planned, safely. You can also use this time to ask children to estimate how many they are and then, to actually count, which will also help you keep track of them.

3. Enumerate the Characters in Their Favorite Stories

This can be a fun way of learning to count that combines children’s literature with math essentials. You can also take the class to a nearby landmark like a museum – if it is relevant to some of their stories – and count different objects. This can also be a good moment to introduce them to history and talk about time – another basic notion that is good to master at their age.

Math Activities for Preschoolers 103: Estimation

Estimation is an extremely useful skill to develop in children. This will help them develop an overview of their world, better understand sizes, and the amplitude of things that surround them.

4. Estimation Jars/Boxes/Etc.

The aforementioned playroom can be a good place for children to practice estimation, sorting, and counting – that is, if the playroom has a ball pit. You can also use jelly beans in two or three differently sized jars to cultivate a good outlook on groups of items and quantity.

math activities for preschoolers: jelly bean jar

Math Activities for Preschoolers 104: Addition & Subtraction

The next step in teaching math to preschoolers is discovering the basic math operations. You can include this in your math lesson plans for preschool right after asking children to estimate a number.

5. Sorting, Counting, & Mixing

You can do this after an estimation contest to discover how many jelly beans, balls, toys, etc. were actually there. Sorting them by color or some other criteria provides an organized way to complete certain projects. This is an easily cultivated skill at this age.

math activities for preschoolers: counting basics

Math and Science Activities for Preschoolers

If your children are interested in nature or science, you can go for a walk in the yard or organize indoor activities that will challenge their curiosity in chemistry, physics, or biology.

6. Cloud Counting and Understanding What They Are

You can explain what clouds are and count them by going outside for an hour. Ask them to estimate and then count how many flowers, rocks, or trees are there in the school’s yard. You could also talk about environmental awareness and how important nature is.

7. A Science Fair

You can also hold a science demonstration that will leave an impression on preschool children no matter their interests. Here are some activities you can include:

  • Creating volcanoes;
  • Creating rainbows by using a lens;
  • Layering liquids of different densities;
  • Getting a class pet – Long-term project.

Generally, you need to look for things that are new to them, but are easy enough to explain. Make sure you use plenty of analogies and correlations to make the learning process interesting and interactive.

Bottom Line

Being a parent or a preschool teacher is not only about taking care of children: It means waking their interest in the surrounding world and developing the children’s learning processes.

By making math activities for preschoolers fun and including their favorite activities, we spark curiosity about and interest in the world around them. Math activities for preschoolers can be successfully combined with other fields and concepts, as this provides a new notion which will make them eager to learn more about their surroundings.