We’re getting creative and discovering new Christmas math activities for preschoolers over here! Who knew counting with Christmas cookie cutters would be such a simple AND fun way to work on those math skills as the holidays near?
This activity is no-prep and easy to set up when you are short on time. It’s a great math activity for preschoolers to add to your list of Christmas activities for preschool.
Fill and Count with Christmas Cookie Cutters
With the holidays being a hectic and chaotic time of year, this is one math activity kids will love that will make life a little bit easier! In fact, I have a goal to make all of my activities simple and fun – that way your lesson plans never feel like work!
I love using things that I already have on hand to make a fun new game for my kiddos.
The best part? You can use literally any seasonal materials that you have to replicate this activity.
Pom-poms? Counting manipulatives? Mini candy canes? Yup! Grab the cookie cutters and let’s get to counting!
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Teach Math to Preschoolers
This concept is tricky and takes time and repetition before young children master comparing and understanding differences in sizes.
You can start by comparing everyday items like toys, shoes, stuffed animals, or even types of foods! Use vocabulary like big and small, larger and smaller, etc. as you talk about them.
Estimating is a fancy term for a thoughtful guess. Since preschoolers love to figure things out, estimating is a skill that comes naturally. It’s important to praise them for a ‘good guess!’ They’ll naturally begin to learn that the goal is to be accurate and not just declare any number at all.
Begin by encouraging the child to start small. Invite them to make good guesses based on what they already know and remind them not to count first, but after.
You can ask them things like, “How many people are sitting at the table?” and invite them to state their estimate and then count to see if they were correct.
We’ve got you covered with lots of counting activities for the holiday season! From Christmas tree counting cards to estimating with jingle bells, we know that high-quality activities are essential for developing number sense in preschool.
Christmas Themed Math Activity
With simple materials, this Christmas math activity is ideal for teaching estimation, comparing, and problem-solving skills in the math world!
Try out these other Christmas Number Identification and Counting Activities, too!
- Christmas cookie cutters (preferably the same shape in different sizes)
- Foam ball vase fillers or pom-pom balls (or other available seasonal materials)
- Dice (we love our jumbo foam dice!)
There really is not much to set up! Grab the cookie cutters (we used nesting star cookie cutters) and set out a bowl of foam ball vase fillers, pom-poms, or whatever manipulative you have on hand. Lay it out so that your preschooler has access to all the materials. Grab a die and you are ready to get started!
Playing the Cookie Cutter Counting Game
Invite your preschooler to roll the die and fill a cookie cutter with the corresponding amount. If you have jumbo tweezers or sensory tools, feel free to incorporate those for extra fine motor development.
This preschool Christmas counting activity also doubles as a one-to-one correspondence activity! Learning about one to one correspondence is an important math concept and a critical skill on the math continuum.
You’ll notice as the cookie cutters begin to get full, preschoolers have to figure out if their rolled number will still fit inside the cookie cutter. This turns your Christmas math game into an estimation and comparison activity.
Encourage your preschoolers to make guesses about how many balls or pom-poms will fit in each sized cookie cutter.
There are so many ways to play this Christmas game for kids! Perhaps your preschooler wants to order the cookie cutters from smallest to largest and then count the fillers. Do the number of objects in each cookie cutter correspond?
You can also encourage them to think about the size of the vase filler balls. Does that make a difference in how many can fit in the cookie cutter?
This Christmas counting activity for preschoolers helps build number sense and problem-solving around numbers.
It’s also a great math activity for developing math vocabulary around comparisons.
Encouraging children to share what they see, such as, “This star cookie cutter is larger than this one so it will fit more pom-poms” helps to build their mathematical language and gets them ready for comparing larger numbers down the road.
We didn’t try it like this, but I think this could be a great Christmas party game in a “Minute to Win It” style!
How many objects can the kids accurately add in a minute? Or make it a race to see who can fill their cookie cutters the fastest. We’re always looking for new Christmas games for preschoolers, and voila – I already had one!
Christmas Picture Books
Even though we’re talking about a Christmas math activity, any time is a good time to pull out a themed picture book!! Here are some of our Christmas (and Christmas cookie!) favorites.
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.