Finding great preschool and kindergarten math activities can be challenging, but it can also be a lot of fun! In my experience, young kids approach math with interest and confidence – especially when it is presented in a hands-on way.
We have been working on shapes, so I created these hands on math activities for preschool and kindergarten. I used these math activities with over 100 3-6 year old’s so they have been tested and are kid approved!
I later used the math activities in my grade 1 classroom, and they were a success there as well.
There was a lot of learning that happened during our work period, but also a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.
Shape printables used in this activity are available – Link at bottom of page.
I used each of the following centres at the same time in the classroom. I had groups of 4-6 children at each centre and we rotated through the preschool and kindergarten math activities.
Preschool and Kindergarten Math Activity #1
For our first centre, I printed and laminated a variety of large shapes. This centre included the shapes sheets, as well as, a container filled with different sets of mini erasers.
I bought a collection of mini erasers years ago. They are definitely one of my students favourite hands-on math manipulatives. They are colourful, creative and small so they work well for activities like this.
However, small beads, gems or any collection of small item will work well for this activity. Just make sure that whatever you use is safe for your group of children.
With these erasers, children traced around the shape using the mini erasers.
It was great practice for creating shapes, but also a great alternative to simply drawing the shape with paper and pencil.
Children also challenged themselves to use erasers that were the right size so that they went right to the edge of each of the lines that made up the shape.
Preschool and Kindergarten Math Activity #2
Our next math centre included felt boards and a variety of felt shapes. I reused our felt shapes from a tangram activity that we previously did. (Activity link at bottom)
Any variety of shapes cut out of felt will work. The children loved this centre! They liked that they were able to use my large DIY felt board and some smaller boards that I also made.
These boards are fairly inexpensive to make, and they get a lot of use in my classroom, so for me, they were a great investment.
Children were able to play and create with their shapes. It was interesting to watch as children discover the fact that two triangles can be used together to create a square and two squares create a rectangle.
Children worked hard to create images and pictures only using the shapes provided. 3 triangles and a rectangle became a tree. Parallelograms became arms and legs on a person.
This math activity is also a great mix of math and visual art. I love hands-on learning!
Kindergarten and Preschool Math Activity #3
This math activity is a great opportunity for children to practice creating shapes and is a hands-on alternative to a pencil and paper task.
At this centre, I simply provided children a bin of materials. There were large popsicle sticks and “Can You Build a…” cards. (Printable sheets available. Link at bottom).
Some of the shapes are standard geometric shapes, others challenged students to create shapes that they were not familiar with.
Children needed to carefully look at the picture to successfully recreate the shape. They enjoyed using the popsicle sticks because they were easy to move around and they “felt like they were creating pictures”.
Math Activity #4
One thing that my students needed a bit of practice on was sorting shapes by attributes/similar qualities. This math activity was really easy to prepare, yet it ended up being the children’s favourite centre.
To create this centre, I simply drew several squiggly shapes on a large sheet of paper. I then gave children a treasure chest filled with jewels of various shapes.
I think the fancy looking gems and the treasure chest may have been part of what drew the children to this centre, but either way they were engaged and excited to sort the gems/shapes.
I encouraged them to sort the shapes in any way they wanted.
Some groups decided to sort the jewels by shape, whereas, others sorted by color or size. Both are correct and encourages children to carefully look at the shapes.
Math Activities #5
My final shape centre included a wooden and foam shape puzzle kit. I have used these kits many times over the years.
It is a great way to get children to identify shapes and search for the same shape in the puzzle pieces to create the picture.
If you don’t have a kit like this, I have used wooden blocks that were different shapes and traced them onto paper to create a picture. Kids then matched the shapes in the picture to the wooden block.
I love creating math activities for preschool and kindergarten. Often they are stll valuable through the primary grades. Typically, giving children to chance to learn in a hands-on way increases the learning and interest.
I am lucky to work with amazing educators at my school and together we fill our students days with, engaging, learning experiences all day long!
Although I did these activities in a classroom setting, I have used them at home with my own children. They love playing the different activities, and I love the fact that they are learning as they do.
Math Centres Printables
I created the printables used for all of the above math activities in this blog. They are available for purchase below. Click link below.
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