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Learning math can be so much of fun for preschoolers. By making learning fun when a child is a toddler or preschooler, you are setting the stage for a love of learning. Check out these simple ways that your child can learn math through play and in a more hands on way.
Easy Ways To Make Learning Fun For Preschoolers
1. Make learning activities into a hunting game!
We used the Magnetic Counting Rods for this activity.
I wanted to turn this into a fun sensory game so I hid the little airplane’s in the rice. It literally took me less than a minute to put the rice into the tray and then throw in the airplanes. I have a pack of rice that is stored away specifically for kids activities. You’d be surprised by how little I needed to use to fill up the tray. I purchased the Easy Clean Craft Tray’s from Lakeshore Learning many years ago and it is used in my home at least 2-3 times a week for activities.
I placed the activity in front of my 3 year old and then asked her a few questions.
- “What do you think could be hiding in this rice?”
- “Can you find me an orange airplane?”
- “Can you find me two blue airplanes?”
- “How many airplanes do you need for this landing cloud?”
- “Are these airplanes different in size? Or are they the same size?”
We used this activity in its conventional way too. I placed the airplanes on her little table in the morning. When she wanted to do activities, because let’s face it… children get bored. They aren’t watching TV at home because that is what they want to do. They often watch TV because they haven’t figured out what else they can do.
If I place an activity on her table, without any prompting from me, she will excitedly go and work on it.
I encouraged her to first place the cloud counting rods into numerical order. She identified the numbers and then put them in order.
Then she began to place the correct amount of airplanes within each number’s landing cloud.
This activity goes perfectly with my printable airplane travel adventure activity book.
2. Incorporate movement into learning activities
I know how important it is for a child’s body to be active. I asked my daughter to take the #3 and fly around the room with all those airplanes. That turned into a super sonic running speed with lots of giggles!
3. Use play dough as a teaching tool!
There is a reason that play dough is a staple in every preschool classroom. Children love to play with it and there are SO many benefits to using it. ThisScented Dough is my children’s favorite type of play dough. The consistency is amazing and they love how it smells! My daughter always begins our play dough activities by smelling the different colors of dough. She then promptly tells me what it smells like.
In this activity, we used the Learn to Count! Dough Mats. I am always on the lookout for play dough activities and tools. Yes, it is fun to free play with play dough. But it is also fun to have some direction with play dough too!
Just because you are working on numbers, it doesn’t mean you can’t work on other skills too. Here, you would be working on strengthening those fine motor skills and hands. Encourage your child to roll the dough between their hands and fingers. Create balls. Squish it. Press it. Cut it using plastic toddler safe play dough scissors. All of this will help your child later on when it comes to writing. Your child will also be working on color recognition and counting skills too.
I love the variety of mats that are included in this pack. I tend to do a lot of themed units with my daughter.
I can use seperate these maths into our themed units:
- The #1 mat can be used during our solar system and space themed unit.
- The #2 would be great for an ocean themed unit
- The #3 Snakes would be amazing for a Reptiles Unit.
Always try your best to think out of the box. Although the mats come as a pack, you don’t need to keep them together. Spread them out, move them around and place them in a way that they would be used in your home or classroom.
In the picture below, we used the Scented Dough and my printable number play dough mats to work on number building. As a child forms the letter using play dough, they observe its curves and points. This helps with number recognition.
4. Instead of using worksheets, use fun tools.
The Self-Checking Magnetic Board and Math Cards are one of our favorite new activities at home. Basically, you place a card into the magnetic board and then your child uses magnetic stars to indicate the correct answers. When they are done they can self-check their answers by pressing the green button. If the answer is wrong the star will fall down.
I love how much variety there is in the interchangeable cards. I can work on many different skills with minimal clean up.
My daughter thinks it’s a game because every time she completes a card, she presses the button and waits for the stars to fall.
In the picture above, I used the ten frames card and had her work out how many red dots there are. Working with ten frames encourages subitizing skills.
Subitizing is the ability to see a small set of objects and know how many there are without having to count them.
We then worked on visual recognition of shapes in objects. The cards I showcased are appropriate for my daughters age. There are many more cards included in each set so that this tool can grow with your child.
5. Choose educational math themed toys
Choose toys that work on appropriate skills. I love Lakeshore’s toys because they hold my daughters interest, are a wonderful quality and each have an educational purpose. The Counting Cars pictured above are one of the coolest number toys ever. When she outgrows the phase of learning numbers, she can still use these cars for imaginary play.
She is visually reminded about what the number looks like in terms of counting figurines/passengers, the written word and the numerical number.
6. Print out fun number activities
These penguin mats encourage a child to count and place the correct number of counters in each penguin. “How many hearts does this penguin have?” You can find more printable math activities for preschoolers here.6 Easy Ways to Make Learning Math FUN!http://bit.ly/2ytHab1
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