Preschool can be a great time to begin teaching kids how to do basic counting. Fun preschool math games like counting activities can be one of the best ways to teach toddlers about numbers that they actually enjoy. The more fun they have, the more likely they are to learn--and the better the odds are that they’ll enjoy math as they grow older.
Here are 5 preschool math games you can do with your toddlers.
Sorting and Color Activities: Sorting by color
Any kind of sorting activity will help to build a foundation for a child's math skills. For example, if you have a box full of Legos, begin keeping them in separate boxes that are labeled by color. Whenever your kids are done playing, they will have to sort the legos to put them away by color (essentially teaching them subtraction). You can play sorting games as well. For example, creating color charts and then having each child sort a handful of items onto their chart, whether they're Legos or marbles or even jelly beans by color.
Math Games: Color Patterns
Preschoolers should already be familiar with colors, so using colors to teach math can be both fun and effective. Use pattern cards to create patterns of color. For example, lay out six rows of pattern colors. The first row is blue, yellow, red. The second two rows are different. Then you repeat the pattern of the first row for the fourth row, and then the second row for the fifth row. Your students will then have to figure out which colors should make up the pattern of the sixth row. In this math game they'll think they're guessing colors but they'll actually be using math to figure out the pattern.
Number Counting Activities: Block Sorting
Number activities for preschoolers can help them with counting but can also start to introduce which numbers are larger than others. Blocks make it easier to learn how to count because the numbers are right there on display. This means that you can ask children to group the blocks in order. They'll be able to look for the right blocks based on their memory, and the numbers on the blocks will help guide them in case they forget.
Math & Counting Activities: Counting Treats
If you have treats to give out, make sure they’re small, like animal crackers or jelly beans. Tell your kids they can only have a certain number and then allow them to take that amount from the treat jar. This counting activity will make your preschoolers want to learn how to count (they won't want to miss out on getting as many treats as they're allowed, after all!). It can also help with fundamental math concepts. If they take few they can add more. If they take too many they can subtract and place the treat back in the jar.
Search and Count Activities: Scavenger Hunt
Kids absolutely love looking for things (it's why hide and seek will always remain a classic kids’ game). A scavenger hunt can be a fantastic way to teach your kids how to count. For example, your list can contain five different objects that need to be found. However, they need one of the first object, two of the second object, three of the third, and so on. These search and counting activities can help toddlers count but also when you divide your preschool kids into groups they can practice using teamwork to succeed. As the team compete, they will also be forced to count up the items that they've found to figure out how close they are to finishing.
At the preschool age level, kids are just beginning to learn how to count. Adding and subtracting numbers might be a little too abstract of a concept for them, but these are a few fun, practical activities that will help improve their ability to count, even if they don't realize it.