In this post, I wanted to share with you a few preschool number activities that you can use to introduce basic math skills to your preschoolers.
My 2 year old woke up waaay early a few days ago, so I had about an hour of solid one-on-one time with him (and my cup of coffee!). I had no agenda besides trying to stay awake, but he begged me to play with the number scale with him, so I got it out.
Preschool Number Activities
This mathematical balance is from the RightStart curriculum. (You can read about our experience using this program here.) I’ve started the program a bit with my 4 year old, so of course Lil’ Dude wants to play with all the math manipulatives as well. 🙂
I hung a 10 gram weight on the number 3, which made the scale tip to my side. With a slightly older kid, I could have asked them to try to balance the scale, and once they understood how to do that, we could have continued on to practice addition facts and properties of equality and combinations of ten, … etc. More on that later. This morning, I was waiting to see what my 2 year old would do with it.
He carefully placed another weight on a peg (not a matching number). I put another weight on the number 9, pointed to my number 9, and asked him to put his weight on the other number 9. He stared at the scale, then put his piece on the 6.
I hadn’t thought about it until then, but that definitely could be confusing to a brand new person who’s just learning about numbers for the first time. I showed him how the 6 was like an upside down 9, and that made him laugh. He kept saying “upside down!”
Then he pointed to the 10 and said “o!” (the letter o – because it looked like the number 0). I figured it was as good a time as any to start teaching him his numbers. 🙂
Leapfrog Video (for the win, once again!)
When Superman woke up, I let both boys watch Leapfrog Numberland on Netflix. I love all the Leapfrog shows, and this one worked particularly well in the moment to reinforce learning how to count and identify numbers 1-10. (For more of our favorite Leapfrog products, see this post.)
While they watched that, my teacher brain started spinning, thinking of ways I could come up with a craft to help both boys practice number recognition and counting skills.
A few years back, I had made a number banner with Superman, gluing beans to paper triangles as we counted out the numbers from 1-10. I wanted to try something like that again, but I had a few more tricks up my sleeve this time around. 😉
I cut 10 triangles out of construction paper and drew the numbers 1-10 on the corners of each. Then I cut several pipe cleaners in half and stuck each one into a triangle (bending it behind so it would stay down).
Beads and Pipe Cleaners
We’d recently been playing with a bag of big plastic pony beads and I’d discovered that they were the perfect size for sliding onto pipe cleaners. Since this was a familiar activity for the boys, they jumped at the chance to count as they threaded on the beads. Superman did great with this. Lil’ Dude worked diligently on the number 4. First he put on 6 beads. Then he took off 5 of them and 2 dropped on the floor. By the time he’d found the beads on the floor and eaten the snacks that he found down there, he’d forgotten what we were doing with the beads. I helped him count out 4 beads and put them on the pipe cleaner. It was a great learning moment. 0_o
You can read about the rest of this activity in the next post, including our use of ten frames and instructions for making your own preschool number activities banner.
More Math Activities
You can see all of my posts about our math activities (with several free printables) on my Math page.
Learning Resources for Teachers, Tutors, and Parents
If you’d like to visit my store to see my library of learning resources (focused on Pre-K – 3rd grade Math, Reading, and Writing, and High School Algebra and Geometry), you can check it out here: