Preschool Math Games – Two Fun Ways to Learn Your Numbers

Emphasizing the Fundamentals

Preschool is the time in a child’s life where some of the most basic concepts of education such as reading, writing and arithmetic are introduced, and the fundamentals for future learning are set out. At this tender young age, it’s better to introduce these concepts with play, stories and games as opposed to straight up teaching, since children learn best through activity. Try some of these preschool math games to get children well on their way to adding and subtracting.

Incorporating Math into Everyday Activities

Instead of merely setting aside a special time for preschool math games, try incorporating math into everyday activities. While children are picking up toys, have them separate the toys into sets based on whatever they prefer: color, size, or function. After the toys have been separated, help them count the number of toys in each pile.

Many preschool math games often incorporate the idea of matching the numerical digit with the concept of that number. For example, in this game called “Number Jump”, each child is given an index card with a number on it. The teacher places a larger number card on the floor and everyone with that number must place their small card onto of the large card and hop that many times. Continue until everyone’s number has been called.

Counting skills can be practiced with nearly any classroom object, including people, toys, and pencils. These basic skills can be expanded by giving each child an index card with a number illustrated on it, and having them clip the corresponding number of clothespins or paper clips on the card. Rather than having individual cards, some teachers choose to use one giant card with the numbers 1-10 illustrated on it, and having children clip the objects onto the large card.

Here’s a fun preschool math game called “Gingerbread People Count” that can be played around Christmas. To begin, cover a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil to make it resemble a cookie sheet. Cut out a number of gingerbread people from brown construction paper, and write a different number on each person. Children are to decorate the gingerbread people with the matching number of candies or chocolates. This craft can also be performed with real gingerbread people and icing to make the candies stick.

The Introduction of Addition and Subtraction

Once children have a firm grasp on counting and number matching, the basic concept of addition and subtraction can be introduced using one of these fun preschool math games. First, try this game called “Clothespin Math”, which requires a line of string, a number of small cutouts of pieces of clothing, and many clothespins.

Tie the line of string, but not too high so that the children can still reach it. Give one of the children ten clothespins, and ask them to hang four pieces of clothing on the line. Then, have them hang five more pieces of clothing on the line. Ask how many clothespins they used altogether for adding practice, and how many clothespins are remaining for subtraction practice.