Preschool math is about counting and number sense (what the number represents) and a whole lot more. When you think of building a strong mathematics base for your child, think beyond the highest number your child can count to.
Preschool math is about Numbers, Counting, Operations (adding and subtracting), Shapes, Sorting, Measurement, Spacial Relations, Vocabulary, and Sequential Order!!
Here is an article, “The Essential Guide to Preschool Math” on the education.com website I found helpful when thinking about the skills I need to work on with my preschooler. I thought it gave a great quick over view of the concepts I’ve learned about in my education and experience as a kindergarten teacher.
I am a huge believer in PLAY; both planned and spontaneous, free play opportunities for young children, but I also believe that we can use our children’s enthusiasm and excitement for the things they enjoy to teach them as well. Don’t feel you need to do these activities all at once. Maybe try to do one a day. Repeat often and extend them to meet the needs of your child. These are just a few of the things my 4 year old and I did….
Activity: Color Sorting and Matching
Trains of different colors
1. Sort the trains by color.
2. Match them to the appropriate colored paper.
Teacher Note – We had a great discussion about where to put the trains with 2 colors and ones that did not match any on our paper colors. These “minor” problems allow our little ones to exercise some problem solving which is great for critical thinking.
Activity: Counting and Number Operations
1. Start by lining up your trains on the track and counting them. Have your child touch each train as they say the number.
2. Now comes the possibilities of ways you can extend this preschool math activity
- Give your child a number card and have them build a train with that many cars on it.
- Say a number and have your child build a train with that many cars on it.
- Build a train for your child while they have their eyes closed. Have them open their eyes and tell you (without counting) if it is less than or more than 5 cars.
- Build 2 different trains and ask how many cars there would be if you added them together – then do it to see if they were right (addition).
- Start with a large train. Count the cars and then have your child take 2 away and tell you how many cars are left. (subtraction)
Activity: Sequencing Flip Book, Math Vocabulary Activity
Marker or crayons
1. Start by explaining the words First, Next and Last.
2. Write these words on the top of the flip book for your child or let your child write if they are already writing (mine isn’t yet). They could trace your writing with a yellow highlighter if you wanted some handwriting practice.
3. Ask them what typically comes first on a train – the engine. Draw it and color.
4. Then talk about what comes next and do the same for the box car, coal car, or whichever car they choose.
5. Last, add the caboose.
6. When you are done, practice reading the words and talking about the order or sequence of the train cars.
Activity: Preschool Number Train; Movement and Math Activity
Sidewalk or driveway
1. Draw a really LLLLOOOOONNNGGGG track across your driveway and add a bunch of rectangles with circle wheels. Nothing fancy, but make the squares a little bigger than your kids shoe size.
2. Write numbers on the train, saying them out loud as you write them.
3. Have your child walk the train, or number line and say the numbers as he steps on the number car.
4. Challenge your preschooler to hop to the number 7, skip to the 11, or walk backwards to the 8, and then run back to the beginning.
5. See if they can stand at the FIRST part of the train or the LAST.
6. Play around with the numbers AND get your kids moving with all sorts of little made up games!
Playful Preschool Train Unit