Counting skills are super important for a preschooler’s developing understanding of math. Thankfully, they love a variety of ways to practice! This pond theme counting activity provides young children with lots of practice for counting and one-to-one correspondence.
These pond theme math mats are a FREE printable, so be sure to grab your copy at the end of this post!
Pond Math Activities – Roll and Cover Games
Preschoolers love all kinds of animals, including pond animals. So this pond animal math activity is perfect for preschool theme learning! It engages young learners as they practice counting and one-to-one correspondence.
We’ve lived near a pond for several years now and my boys are always thrilled to see all the different pond animals that live around it. We’ve seen ducks, geese, beavers, herons, swans, and more.
We often hear toads and frogs, but have yet to actually spot one. Bummer, right?
One year my kids got a microscope for Christmas, and ever since then, every time we go to the pond my boys insist we take a sample of the water home so we can see it under the microscope. We use these kid-friendly test tube viles.
FAQ About Teaching Pond Life to Preschoolers
There are so many ways to be creative when teaching a pond theme in preschool. Try some gross motor games, like crawling like a turtle or hopping like a frog, or an egg walk. Try some pond art activities, pond sensory activities, and of course pond theme counting activities like the one in this post.
My free pond life preschool lesson plans include over 16 activities, ranging from math and literacy activities to safe online activities all about pond animals. And you don’t even need to live near a pond to have fun with these pond lesson plans, either.
>>> Free Pond Theme Preschool Lesson Plans <<<
At its most basic level, science is the making and recording of observations. That’s where we start in preschool, too!
You can collect a sample of pond water and observe it, and also compare it to tap water. You can also try studying the life cycle of a pond animal!
Get a Year of Roll and Cover Math Games!
Roll and cover games are a fun way for preschoolers to practice number sense skills. Get a full year of games here!
These pond animal mats are a free printable, so be sure to grab your copy at the end of this post.
Free Pond Roll and Cover Mats Printable Preschool Activity
The basic idea with this activity is for preschoolers to roll the die and cover the corresponding number of circles with manipulatives. It’s a great way for preschoolers to learn how to play dice games and practice counting and one-to-one correspondence. And, it works on important math skills outside of ten frame math.
Hands on activities like this one are always popular in preschool, and be sure to read at the end of the post all the different ways I make accommodations for my preschoolers using this freebie.
- colorful circle counters
- FREE Pond Roll and Cover mats
How to Set Up the Pond Game
After printing, cut apart the animal mats. Do not laminate.
I think this might be the first time I’ve ever said that. I don’t recommend laminating these counting mats because the plastic from the lamination can make the counters move around and slide, which is frustrating to preschoolers.
When you’re ready to engage your preschoolers, set the mats out on a table with a container of manipulatives and a die. Now you’re ready to invite your preschooler to choose a pond animal mat and begin to play.
How to Play Pond Theme Roll and Cover Games
Here’s how to use these pond theme counting mats.
- Pick an animal mat to use.
- Roll the die and count the number of dots you land on.
- Cover the corresponding number of circles on the mat with manipulatives while counting.
- Continue to play until all the circles on the mat are covered.
In this example, we used transparent math counters, but if you do laminate, play dough is a fun option, so are floral rocks and even game pieces.
Remember, these are a FREE spring printable, so be sure to download your copy at the end of this post!
If you have younger preschoolers, try starting with a 1-3 die. You might have to make your own. I just grab some foam blocks from the dollar store and use a permanent marker to create my own die.
It’s important to give young learners practice in counting objects of smaller quantities before moving to larger numbers where one to one correspondence mastery becomes more difficult. And you definitely don’t want to move onto counting addition if one to one correspondence hasn’t been mastered.
If you have older preschoolers, you can offer a regular die. Using a regular die is great subitizing practice. Subitizing is the automatic recognition of quantities without having to count the number of objects, and it prepares them for addition and subtraction later in kindergarten.
You can even turn these counting mats into color matching activities by inviting your preschooler to match the color counters to the circles as they cover the circles.
We like to keep these with our other game boards and our table top math games. They can even be added to your preschool literacy center as vocabulary cards during your pond preschool theme.
More Animal Math Activities for Preschoolers
Free printables are better when you can use them in more than one way. Here are a few more ideas to teach a range of learning levels:
- For older preschoolers, you can use two dice and have them add the numbers before counting and covering the circles on the mats with manipulatives.
- For average preschoolers, you can make this printable a game for two or more players. Each player can use their own mat and work to fill the circles. The first player to fill their mat is the winner.
- For younger preschoolers, they can take turns rolling the die and counting out the counters to cover the circles on the mat. Preschool teachers and parents can also offer as much support with counting as needed.
Get your FREE Pond Roll and Cover Mats
Think you could use these roll and cover mats in your math center this spring? Just click the image below and grab your copy! Then, take a look at even more pond themed activities below.
Get More Spring Printables Here
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.