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Math Skills for Preschoolers

Posted by Cara Allen - Parenting

Now I know that this title and the picture have already made some of you move on to something else.  But for those of you who are still with me.....

Don't want to pass along your arithmophobia (fear of math - it's a real thing!) to your children?  First of all, understand that math includes more than numbers.  It also includes patterns, space and shapes, and measuring, among other things.  Here are suggestions for activities for preschoolers for each of these areas:

  • Have them use their fingers to represent numbers when they count
  • Count blocks in a building they have made
  • Group items into equal, smaller groups (divide 4 cookies into 2 groups of 2)
  • Teach counting songs and rhymes
  • Share books about numbers and counting
  • Sort toys by color, shape, size, or function
  • Have child tell you whether something is smaller or larger
  • When singing a familiar song together, pause and have the child tell you what comes next
  • Clap out rhythmic patterns
  • Let children make patterns for others to follow
Space & Shapes:
  • Give children directions that use positional words such as in, on, over, under
  • Build with geometric blocks
  • Make shapes with play dough, popsicle sticks
  • Point out common shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle) in everyday life
  • Give children empty boxes, tubes, and containers to use in constructing
  • Use measuring cups and spoons during simple food prep
  • Measure items in the environment using a variety of tools - rulers, height charts
  • Weigh and balance with scales
  • Play with money and cash registers
  • Use a calendar to discuss special days, and talk about yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
See!  None of these suggestions involved addition, subtraction, memorizing multiplication tables, or (gulp) division.

And the answer to the equation in the picture?   14  (At least that is what I came up with - if I am wrong I'm sure someone will delight in letting me know!)

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