Fun Preschool Math Activities for Parents
It's easy to encourage an early love of math in your child while preparing them with the numeracy skills they need to succeed in school. Familiarising your child with math strategies before kindergarten will help give them a head start. Setting your preschooler up with an engaging online math programme, backed by experienced educators, full of math activities, is a great way to keep them motivated while learning.
Combine this with simple offline preschooler math games, to develop early numeracy skills for kids aged two to five. Read on for some easy, fun preschool math activities you can try at home:
1. Make shapes using play dough
Play dough creates many great opportunities for hands-on learning preschooler math activities, including how to manipulate different shapes. Show your child some 2D and 3D shapes and ask them to mould the shapes using play dough. You can also use shape cutters to help guide them.
2. Sort the toy basket
Sorting and classifying objects is an important way to help your preschooler understand the nature of math. You can easily introduce these skills by gathering a basket or box of toys and helping your child sort each item by size, colour or type (e.g., cars, soft toys, dolls).
3. Fill up cups, jars and containers during bath time
If your preschooler is struggling to understand math, introducing simple ideas at home in a fun way can help them make the connection. Collect jars, cups and containers of different sizes and bring them to bath time to explore the math concepts of 'full' and 'empty'. Talk about what's happening as you play. For example, "The cup is now full, no more water can fit in!" and "Let's pour water from the small cup to the big cup and see if it becomes full."
4. Online math games
Online preschooler math programmes are a great way to build essential numeracy skills in a fun and highly motivating way for your preschooler. Look for online math programmes that have been designed by expert educators and match your child's individual level. Mathseeds (ages 3-9) provides hundreds of one-on-one lessons and math games that you can try for free here.
5. Play shop
Playing shop is a fun way to practise preschooler math skills and show your child how numbers and counting are a part of everyday life. Gather toys or grocery items and label them with prices written on sticky notes. You can pretend to buy and sell items using play money or creating your own paper money. This will teach your child the concept of paying for items using notes and coins.
“Both my boys LOVE Mathseeds. They've been using it for over a month and I can't get them off the computer! Now they're counting everything when we go to the park or shopping and it's given them a fantastic head start at school. Love this system and so do my boys!” – Rachael
6. Count and cook
Cooking is a great activity to introduce your preschooler to fractions and measurement. Show them different measuring tools and talk about the concept of fractions, such as explaining how two half cups make one whole cup.
7. Don't drop the ball
Count the number of times you and your child can throw a ball to each other without dropping it. Another similar preschooler math activity kids will love is counting the number of times you can tap a balloon before it reaches the ground.
8. Play heads or tails
Introduce your child to the concept of chance and probability with a simple game of heads or tails. Probability tells us that for a single coin toss, there are two possible outcomes, heads or tails, so the chance of getting either is one in two, or 50 per cent.
9. Macaroni patterns
Patterns help children learn how to sequence and to make predictions, which are important skills for building a variety of math skills. Experiment with your preschooler by creating different patterns or necklace designs using macaroni, beads, or cereal (e.g., green, white, orange, green, white, orange). Building block towers is also a fun activity that helps your preschooler practise sequencing.
10. Guess the weight
Use kitchen scales to weigh certain objects around the house, such as a toilet paper roll or a pumpkin. You can also help your child estimate the weight of each object before weighing them.
11. Number safari
Call out a number and ask your preschooler to find it. You can do this activity while driving (e.g., spotting numbers on signs, houses and number plates) or while shopping. You can also ask them to identify shapes, colors and patterns out in the real world.
“My 4-year-old began Mathseeds a few months ago and couldn’t even use a mouse or the computer. Within weeks he was learning his first numbers and worked the mouse out really well by the second time he even tried this programme. It’s amazing to watch my pre-schooler counting things when we go shopping!” – Claire