Early mornings with my preschooler are my favorite time of day. He’s in a good mood. We can be outside before the sun gets to hot. And I have my morning coffee.
Car wash subtraction is the perfect summer play and learning inspiration. It’s a casual way to start bringing the idea of subtraction, or take-away, into your child’s vocabulary.
Are you a teacher? This outside math activity makes a perfect station for water day! You could set it up indoors too – just make sure there are lots of towels around to mop up the water fun.
Car Wash Subtraction Activity
Ages: Best for ages 3-6
Learning Objective: Children will orally act out a sim
Vocabulary: scrub, subtraction
Materials Needed for Car Wash Subtraction
Directions for Car Wash Subtraction Math
- Set up the car washing station. Put a very small amount of dish soap in the container. Then fill with water. This will create the bubbles.
- Set the dirty cars next to the container in a row. (Ours played in the sandbox before this activity)
- Count the number of cars that need to be washed. Place a few in the car wash. Start scrubbing. Show your child how to scrub with the washcloth if needed.
“We washed 3 cars.
10 take away 3 is 7.
We still have 7 cars left to wash.
That’s car wash subtraction.”
- Repeat counting, subtracting, and washing until all the cars are clean.
- How many cars do we have all together?
- How many cars are clean?
- How many cars need to be washed?
Activity Extension for Car Wash Subtraction:
For advanced learners, let them write several subtraction problems out using chalk on the sidewalk. 10-3=7 Then, have them act out the subtraction problem with the cars and car wash.
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