It’s back to preschool time, which means time to welcome a new class of faces, as well as a new set of preschool skills. This post is all about back-to-school math activities to use during the first days of school.
These math activities for back to school are a wonderful way to gauge which math skills your preschoolers have at the start of a new year.
As the summer comes to a close and preschoolers prepare to head back to school, many educators are looking for ways to review math concepts. After all, preschool is an important time for developing foundational skills in all areas, including math.
When adding math activities to our preschool lesson plans during the first week of school, we have to consider some of the following.
- Does my preschooler have number recognition skills?
- Can they practice counting on their own?
- Do they count with one-to-one correspondence?
- Can they order numbers?
- Do they work with fine motor skills?
These are just some of the questions I ask myself when getting a fresh group of young children in my preschool classroom.
Typically, a new group of preschoolers will have an incredibly wide variety of math skills, so simple math activities for preschoolers can provide a lot of insight the first few weeks of school.
FAQ About Teaching Math to Preschoolers
Teaching math to preschoolers isn’t about doing endless preschool math worksheets. Learning activities should be hands-on and engaging, while targeting important number skills.
Preschoolers will learn best from hands on math activities, including counting games, sensory math activities, and gross motor activities.
Preschool math lesson plans should include more than counting activities. Children can enjoy a variety of targeted daily math activities, including new skill work, review activities, literacy integration, and independent practice. Here are nine preschool math units that can be taught for the year.
~ Comparing & Sorting
~ Counting 0-5
~ Counting 0-10
~ Position & Patterns
~ Counting 0-20
~ Addition & Subtraction
The easiest way to know what skills you should be teaching in preschool mathematics is by downloading a free math skills checklist!
That checklist will explain everything you need to know about teaching preschool math including what to include in your preschool math lesson plans to make sure they are playful and complete.
Math Activities For Preschool Lesson Plans
Having a variety of math activities at the ready will make your life so much easier as you start out a new school year. Especially as you assess where your kiddos are at with foundational math skills.
Simple Math Activities For Preschoolers
It is important for preschoolers to get lots and lots of hands-on practice with number recognition, counting and 1-1 correspondence.
Activities like these crayon counting cards are a perfect way to practice all of these skills. Bonus that it is simple and easy to set up and can be used again and again. Another bonus is that kids typically love crayons.
And, what symbolizes back to school more than that brand new, squeaky clean, beautiful box of assorted crayons?
Your preschoolers can practice with these counting cards throughout the year. As you read on, you will see that there are different ways to use these cards as their skills grow.
Math Addition Activities For Preschoolers
One of the things I always find so fascinating about teaching preschool is the diversity of skills and knowledge that my kiddos come in with. It is a beautiful thing, and also serves to keep me challenged to meet all of their individual needs.
Some kids are ready to learn addition in preschool, while some are not. Is this completely okay? Absolutely!
Do I want to make sure my kiddos that are ready to add (and possibly subtract) get lots of hands-on opportunities to do so? Absolutely!
There are some readiness skills you will want to make sure that your preschoolers have mastered before they start working on addition. Some of these will be obvious as you observe them working with the crayon counting cards!
Before introducing addition, students should typically be able to:
- Count out loud from 1-10 (at least)
- Identify and name numerals 0-10 (at least)
- Demonstrate an understanding of one-to-one correspondence
- Count objects one at a time, using the correct number name for each object (at least up to 10)
- Show what a number means using counters and match it to its numeral (ie: count five blocks and identify that the numeral 5 represents that group of objects)
Math Activities For Back To School
Hands-on learning activities are just the right thing to add to your back-to-school activities for preschoolers. Be sure to grab your FREE printable at the end of this post!
- free crayon counting cards
- box of crayons to use as counting manipulatives
The Set Up
The set up is simple. Just print the crayon counting cards in color on heavy card stock. Laminate for added durability. Cut apart the cards and place them on a tray with a set of crayons and invite your preschooler to join you in learning numbers and counting.
How To Use These Counting Cards
The more straightforward way to use these counting cards is simply:
- Draw a card.
- Identify the number on the cards.
- Count the number of crayons.
- Count the corresponding number of real crayons from the tray.
Preschoolers do twice the counting with these cards. But, they are practicing two different counting skills.
When counting the crayons printed on the cards, preschoolers are counting a set. However, pulling a specific quantity of crayons from a larger set is a different counting skill. Both are important for developing number sense.
Math Counting Picture Books for Preschoolers
Every preschool classroom needs an abundance of adorable math counting picture books for circle time and math and literacy connections. We have hand-selected some counting books that would be great for using with your back to school math activities!
Addition Activities For Preschoolers
Also included with these cards are the signs, +, -, and =. These can be used for teaching addition to preschoolers, and for those who are ready, subtraction, too.
Activities and Games For Teaching Addition
For this, you will want to separate the cards into higher and lower numbers, and possibly remove some of the larger numbers.
Most preschoolers can learn to add and subtraction up to five before entering kindergarten, but it is not a required skill.
- Draw a card and lay it on the table.
- Place a + or – sign next.
- Draw a second card. (If practicing subtraction, make sure the first number is larger).
- Place the = card next.
- Invite your preschooler to identify the numbers in the layout and count out a set of crayons to solve.
Preschool Hands-On Math Activities
There are so many fun hands-on math activities for preschoolers on my site. I have selected some of my favorites to help ensure that math learning is fun and engaging for all of your students this school year.
Preschoolers learn counting best when their little hands get the opportunity to manipulate and move lots and lots of objects. I have consolidated many of my thematic counting activities all in one place for your convenience.
With 39 hands-on counting activities your little mathematicians will delight in thematic fun all year long!
Back to school means FALL and during fall we love all things warm and cozy as the temperatures turn chilly. I have created six free fall-themed printables that cover a variety of preschool math skills. These are guaranteed to give you that warm and cozy fall feeling.
Gourds, mini pumpkins, and pine cones, oh my! This center combines math and science with some hands on fun that is truly Falltastic. Bonus if your kiddos can collect the items on a field trip or bring some from home.
Math Counting Manipulatives for Preschool Math
These counting manipulatives for preschool math are a great way to practice one to one correspondence and number recognition as you build the foundation of numbers during these formative years.
We have hand-picked our favorite preschool math manipulatives that you can use with your students on a daily basis through hands-on learning!
Pre-K Math Activities
Your Pre-K kiddos very likely may be ready for some solid addition practice. Addition worksheets for continuous practice can be the perfect addition (see what I did there?) to your curriculum.
I wanted to provide access to some FREE printable addition worksheets, so you have some ready to go, once your kiddos are ready to add:
- FREE Printable Pumpkin Addition Worksheets for Preschoolers
- Free Kindergarten Addition Worksheets
- Add the Dots Addition Free Printable Worksheets
- Apple Addition Matching Puzzles
- Apple Math Worksheets
Get Your Free Crayon Counting Cards Here
These counting cards can be used during small group work, but you can also add them to your preschool math centers. And of course, keep them with your back-to-school theme activities!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.