Preschool Math

There are many natural ways to teach preschool math. Everyday activities, like cooking and grocery shopping involve mathematical concepts.

Teach your child the language of math by using words like:

  • big/little,
  • heavy/light,
  • long/short,
  • add/subtract,
  • more/less,
  • near/far,
  • empty/full,
  • same/different, and
  • first/next/last.

Also use the terms pair, dozen, half, quarter, divide, measure, seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years.

Help your child learn to identify shapes, colors and numbers by pointing them out in your daily activities. Have your child push the correct elevator button, bring you the red ball, match socks, or play preschool educational games.

Form shapes out of food, popsicle sticks, or toothpicks. Use paint or food coloring to experiment with color. Here are some other suggestions for a preschool math activity.

Counting is as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Before kindergarten, your child should know how to count to 10 and identify numbers 0-10. Here are some simple counting activities:

  • Have your child count fingers and toes, toys, cookies or the number of cans to put in the grocery cart.

  • Incorporate preschool physical education by playing hopscotch, or counting steps, jumping jacks or trampoline bounces.

  • Tell your child to bring you 1 diaper or pick up 6 toys. Go on a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood to find 1 bug, 2 flowers, 3 rocks, and so on.

  • Reinforce the concept of 1 to 1 correspondence by having your child set the table or give each member of the family 1 cookie.

  • Give your child spare change to save. Help him count the number of coins as you put them in a jar or piggy bank.

  • Sing preschool action songs that involve numbers and counting.

  • Hang a wall calendar in an easily accessible location. Help your child count down the days to important events.

  • Invest in puzzles and storybooks that emphasize shapes, colors and numbers.

Using Picture Books to Teach Math

Picture books are a great tool for teaching preschool math. As you read to your child, ask him to point out items that are specific shape or color. Count the number of certain objects on the page and use sequencing words to help your preschooler retell the story.

Look for picture books that demonstrate mathematical concepts. Here are some of my favorites:

First Numbers First Numbers is my favorite preschool math book. It uses beautiful claymation illustrations to demonstrate mathematical concepts like counting, completing patterns, sequencing, addition, subtraction and basic multiplication.
1001 Pirate Things to Spot 1001 Pirate Things to Spot is a fun seek and find book that even my 7 year old enjoys. Children practice counting and number recognition as they search each page for hidden objects. This book comes in other versions like animals and fairies, and is great for keeping children busy during car rides.
How Big is a Million In the book How Big is a Million your child accompanies Pipkin the penguin as he finds 10 objects, then 100, then 1,000, then 10,000 and so on. At the end of the book, your preschooler will find a poster that contains a million stars. This book's charming illustrations provide a gentle introduction to large numbers.

Follow this link to find out why I recommend Usborne books and learn about additional resources for your preschooler.

Additional Teaching Tips and Ideas

Here are some additional preschool guidelines and tips for choosing a preschool curriculum. Next, look at tips and ideas for teaching:

Preschool art,
Preschool writing,
Preschool reading,
Preschool science, and
Preschool physical education.

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