This second installation in my series of (Almost) Effortless Learning Ideas for parents to teach their kids at home. Last time I shared some of my favorite easy activities to build literacy; today I’m tackling my older son’s favorite subject: math. These easy preschool math activities were ones I did (and still do!) with both my kids.
I fully admit to being a lazy mom when it comes to setting up activities for my kids. I don’t like activity preparation to take more time that the actually activity. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to teach my kids! I actually love being actively engaged in my children’s learning, laying a good foundation for their future education and watching their progress.
I’m also big on not pushing things, going with the flow, letting the child lead, learning through play and all that jazz. As with the last post, I’ve included my sort-of-humorous “preparation scale” for all of the preschool math activities. But, clearly, they are all super easy.
Some of the math benefits of the following activities may not be immediately obvious but they all teach skills like number recognition, one to one correspondence, counting and understanding quantity. (This post contains affiliate links,)
Easy Preschool Math Activities
- Gather all the things in you home with numerals or quantities on them for a simple number matching game! Prep scale: 3
- Leave a toy abacus lying around. Prep scale: 1
- Count the stairs whenever you walk up or down. Prep scale: 0
- When you go for a walk say the house numbers aloud. My older son loved this. Seriously, he always did it. Prep scale: 0
- Play hopscotch. Prep scale 1
- Play Go Fish. (<<– that specialty card deck makes it way more fun!) Prep scale: 1
- Build with blocks. Prep scale: 0 (Clean up scale is up to you.)
- Let kids explore one to one correspondence with the game pieces in your closet. (<<– click there for lots more ideas of how to repurpose those old game pieces for your preschoolers!) Prep scale: 1
- In fact, playing all kinds of games, from board games to ball games builds math understanding. Prep scale: varies
- Put together puzzles. Prep scale: 1
- Match blocks with their 2D shapes. Prep scale: 2
- Every time you set the table say, “1 plate, 2 plates, 1 cup, 2 cups…” You get the idea. This concept works in a variety of situations. Prep scale: 0 (or a 10 if you are setting a table for a fancy meal, but you have to do it anyway, right?) Here is a great DIY tool for teaching kids to set the table.
- Read books to your kids. I couldn’t find the reference article I once read, but reading aloud to your kids actually correlates with higher math test results later in life. Then, of course there are lots of wonderful math picture books for preschoolers (<<– click there to see my full list of fab books!), too. Prep scale: 1
- Give kids measuring cups in the sandbox and bath tub. Prep scale: 1
- Give kids lacing cards and work their fine motor skills at the same time. Prep scale: 0
- Get out in nature. Mama Smiles explains how nature can inspire a love of math. Prep scale: 0
Or course, there are many, many more effortless ways to lay a good foundation for mathematics. Take a look at our 25 creative ways to support math learning after school. How do you support mathematics at home with your preschooler?
See more of our favorite math activities in action!