Preschool math activities are a cornerstone of preschool education. At this age, students are at a perfect developmental point to learn to identify numbers and associate those numbers with things in the real world. While you may not want to get into addition and subtraction in preschool…or at least wait until near the end of the school year to begin introducing these things…you can easily give your students a math lesson a day and still make it fun for them.
The first thing you should do when teaching math to preschoolers is to teach them to count to ten. This is easy enough, and can be practiced daily for a few weeks until everyone has it memorized. Reciting the numbers one through ten can be a part of your daily routine. After those numbers are memorized, it is time to start identifying them. Using flash cards, worksheets, and coloring pages, you can teach students what each number looks like (make sure you include zero in this, as it’s an important number, too!). Students can have fun drawing the numbers, coloring them in, and even decorating their pictures of the numbers.
Next, you want to help children identify the real world representation of each number. You want them to know how many “one” looks like, how many “two” looks like, etc. You can do this by playing games where you ask students to bring you a certain number of a certain object, or by using flash cards and asking them to identify how many of a certain thing is on the card. You can have them put coins or buttons or blocks into groups of anywhere between one and ten, and be sure to praise them highly when they get it right. If they get it wrong, show them what is correct and don’t get angry. You want them to love math, not fear it. So if they’re having trouble getting a concept, make it fun for them to learn it, and make it worth their while (perhaps by playing games that offer small prizes).
You can include math lessons in other lessons, as well. Reading, spelling, writing, science, social studies, and art can all have mathematical elements to them. If you need ideas for incorporating math into other lessons, there are plenty of good online resources for preschool teachers wanting to do this. Look them up and learn from them, because it will be well worth it. Preschool math activities don’t have to be boring and full of tears…they can be fun and happy times where all students are fully engaged and interested in learning what you’re teaching them.