Isn’t outer space fascinating? It’s amazing to think about where astroscience is and where it is going. Like you and me, preschoolers also find outer space fascinating. My kids are constantly asking me questions about space, so to keep their enthusiasm for learning, I’ve made up some fun space theme games for counting to teach one to one correspondence and counting.
Grid games, especially those with a captivating theme like space, can be an incredibly effective tool when teaching math to preschoolers!
They offer hands-on, interactive experiences that not only make mathematical concepts more accessible but also fun.
In a grid game, each square can represent a numerical value, helping children understand basic mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, or counting. And the space theme adds an extra layer of engagement, sparking their curiosity about the universe and encouraging them to learn more.
Read on to find out who we use the space theme grid games in our classroom.
Grid games help kids learn and practice counting, subitizing, one to one correspondence, and numeral recognition. Plus, many grid games can be played independently or with a partner.
They make for quick and easy math practice and they are often a kid favorite!
Why Grid Games
Grid games are a welcome introduction to learning with board games or gamifying learning. Plus, grid games are easy to make, are very little prep, and also customizable to learning themes or student interest. And they are inherently full of math opportunity.
Using small sets of counters to cover each space on the grid creates opportunities to notice and discuss the numbers on the dot cube and the sets of counters on the board.
Since grid games usually only require a die and counters, they are easy to set up and once the premise is taught, the theme and grid template can be changed without a need to reteach the child.
Children practice rolling the game die and either identify the number of dots or the numeral on it. They then count out that number of counters and place each one on the next picture on the grid.
Preschoolers continue to roll the game die and cover pictures until their whole grid is full.
This set of emoji grid games help to develop social emotional awareness around feelings and emotions while also infusing one to one correspondence and counting skills. Plus, there are lots of different emoji grid games to choose from!
What is One to One Correspondence
One of the most significant number sense skills children need to know in preparation for formal schooling is one to one correspondence in counting.
Preschool number sense skills include a range of skills, including rote counting, number matching, and teaching children to count the correct number when given a specific number of objects. These math skills are critical in preschool.
So is teaching one to one correspondence skills in early childhood. We have put together a whole math curriculum teaching daily lessons in preschool math. Our counting 0-20 unit focuses on one to one correspondence, subitizing, and early numeracy skills. Take a look below!
Outer Space Games for Preschoolers
Grid games are simple, but effective. Not only do they teach children to count, but also how counting builds, thus teaching beginning addition concepts. The space printable I’ve put together counts to 20, which is a realistic amount for my preschoolers.
Naturally, children love learning math through play, and learning to count with these counting games for a space preschool theme can be really playful. Let me show you how.
- free space counting grid game printables (found at the bottom of this post)
- space themed counters
Ok, the truth is that I juts used floral pebbles from the dollar which because that’s what I had on hand, but here are some space themed counting toys that will take these outer space games to the next level.
Begin by printing the free printable in color and on heavy cardstock. Laminate for added durability. I am always amazed at how rough my preschoolers can be on my printables, so my laminator saves me a ton of money in printing costs!
Set out a grid game and the counters and invite your preschooler to join you for space themed counting fun!
How to Play Space Math Game
Invite your preschooler to roll the dice and identify the number. You can use a numeral dice or regular dice, or even flashcards if you don’t have a dice on hand.
Count out the corresponding number of counters and place them on the grid game.
Begin by placing them at the bottom of the board and work up to the goal. Each grid game is slightly different, with a “task” to complete, such as helping the astronaut get to the moon or helping the martian get to his spaceship.
When I offered this to my daughter, she insisted on counting on every grid game because she couldn’t choose just one. This was fine by me as she got lots of extra counting practice in!
There are arrows on the counting mats, pointing to the direction the counters should be added to the grid. In grid counting games like this one, counters shouldn’t be added at random, but in a line that moves along all the rows of the grid.
This helps preschoolers make connections in number sequencing and progression. These math skills transfer over to prereading, too.
Preschool Books About Space
Learning with an outer space theme is loads of fun with these vibrant picture books! These are some of our class favorites and include the books that my preschoolers ask for over and over.
FAQ About Teaching a Preschool Space Theme
You might have a few questions about teaching a space theme in preschool. We’ve got you covered with these frequently asked questions below!
Outer space can be a pretty abstract topic for preschoolers. After all, they can’t really see space firsthand. But that doesn’t mean that the concept of space is too hard. Start by teaching your preschoolers about the sun, moon, and stars. Those are all things they can see in the sky. Then teach about the planets and how humans might explore space.
The solar system consists of the sun and everything that travels around the sun. This is called orbiting. Eight planets and their moons orbit the sun, as well as dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, and small icy objects. These are all part of the solar system.
Astronauts have plenty of things to keep them busy in space. They conduct scientific experiments, collect data and samples, and do repairs on the spaceship. Astronauts have meetings via their computers with scientists on Earth, too. They also clean the ship and work out at least two hours a day to stay healthy and strong.
Space Theme Games
Learning through games is such an amazing way to learn new concepts. We’ve rounded up some super fun space-themed games for your preschoolers to enjoy!
Learn the names of the planet in the solar system with this fun and engaging planet bingo game! It’s out of this world!
This editable space board game is ideal for learning just about anything! Since you can change the game to practice letters, numbers, and even words it has endless use value. Grab it for centers or partner play!
It’s time to travel the intergalactic highway with this space themed board game! Practice counting, following directions, and avoiding the alien spaceship to stay safe.
Tic-Tac-Toe is a classic game that teaches strategy and perseverance. The alien and astronaut cards make it a fun twist on the traditional play and perfect for your space theme!
Space Theme Board Games
Preschoolers absolutely love games and it’s the easiest way to practice new skills! These six space themed board games are great for learning about the planets and solar system, counting, matching, and sorting.
Get Your Space Theme Grid Game
Think these grid games are something your little one would enjoy? You can download your own copy right here.
Space Themed Activities for Preschoolers
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.