I love finding creative ways to introduce math concepts to my preschooler. This preschool math activity was a big hit. He is so drawn to numbers and loves to count and so I can use that to “lure” him into doing crafts, which is not always his first choice activity. Win-win!
The lesson behind this preschool math activity is to learn that shape does not determine quantity. In this case, kids discover 6 different ways of arranging 6 noodles. I added the sorting into muffin tins (I wanted Kiddo to sort with chopsticks, but I couldn’t find them.) and the printed instructions (I love that I can use written instructions! — ignore my grammatical error in the photo… I was too lazy to write it again).
- Place 6 noodles in each cup
- Arrange 6 noodles on paper in a design so that each noodle touches at least one other noodle.
- Glue design onto paper
- Draw outline (shape) around design
- Repeat with each group of 6 noodles, making different designs.
This turned out to be an excellent quiet-time activity and Kiddo would certainly have worked at it longer, had I given him… say 12 muffin cups and 12 noodles each! (next time….)
I think a great extension of this activity would be to choose a shape such as a triangle or rectangle and challenge your child to make as many different ones as they can, but with the same number of noodles. More than 6 noodles would be required though — maybe 10 or 12?
Of course you could do this with materials other than noodles: flat marbles would be great, toothpicks, straws… you name it.
I adapted this activity from the book Games for Math (affiliate link).
More easy math activities for preschoolers:
- (Almost) Effortless math activities for preschoolers
- Pattern play with felt shapes
- 5 shape activities for preschoolers
- DIY Montessori triangles
- Shape sorting activity: 2D to 3D