Posted in guest post, Homeschool, Math

Top 10 Play-Based Ways to Teach Math to Preschoolers

Many families find that teaching preschool math through play is an appealing option. A play-based curriculum gives children the freedom to choose manipulative materials based on their learning concepts. It provides parents with the opportunity to use games that children love!

To help your preschooler develop early math skills, here are ten play-based activities.

Learn and Play with Money

Playing with money is a fun and easy way to teach children about math. You can let your child practice counting coins by giving him or her play money in different denominations. Your child will learn to recognize the value of each coin by playing this game. You can take it a step further by having your child count out the exact amount of change needed to buy an object or snack in the house.

Counting Activities

Counting activities are fun ways to teach kids how to count. They can use objects found around the house or in the classroom to practice counting. Kids can count plastic farm animals, crayons, blocks, or even people!

It’s important to count aloud with your child to reinforce the language associated with numbers and to let them know what they’re doing right. In addition, make sure you use different amounts and types of objects every time you do this activity so that their minds aren’t bored by doing the same thing repeatedly (which would cause them to disengage from learning).

Number Puzzles

A number puzzle is a simple game where you create a grid of squares containing numbers. Your child has to find a path through the numbers from one side of the grid to another. For example, he might have to work out which way he needs to go for the numbers on the squares he lands on to add up to seven.

Number puzzles are compelling because they’re good at developing problem-solving and math skills and can be played by kids of all ages. They are also adaptable for older children.

Make the rules more difficult or increase the number of squares in the grid if your child is in primary school.

Counting Routines

Learning math with your child is a lot of fun. It might not be the best way to teach math, but there are still plenty of ways to make learning enjoyable. As a parent or teacher, it’s essential to keep things lighthearted. Learn some counting routines so you can count out loud while walking around the house or while driving on the highway (the latter is also a great way to practice verbalizing numbers and other information).

Start by helping your child count objects as they go past them (for example, if you’re going shopping, you could ask him if he sees any oranges)—finally, many kids like counting games. If your kid enjoys playing with blocks and Lego bricks, find out what number he comes up with for each block or Lego piece, and then try counting it out loud.

Hands-On Math Games

Math games are a fun and easy way to include math in your child’s day. From simple counting games to more complicated addition, multiplication, and division skills, there are tons of math games that kids will love.

It can be challenging to know where to begin with many options available.

It’s time for you to get your game on. I mean, math on!

Color Collages

As they work, your kid will be exposed to various shapes and sizes, introducing them to the concepts of volume and area. They’ll also begin to understand the properties of different materials, like what happens when you glue or staple pieces together, which is an introductory science lesson.


They can hang these colorful creations on their bedroom wall or turn them into greeting cards they could send to Grandma. Colored paper collages are fun to make, and kids have tons of creative freedom – who knows what kind of colorful works of art your child will create next?

Patterned Planting

When you teach patterns using seeds and pots, you can place the seeds in various designs.

Use a variety of materials to teach patterns to preschoolers. You can use plastic animals, pom-poms, or other small objects you may have on hand. Tell students they will play with different shapes and make different pattern designs each day.

Press the pieces into modeling clay and tell students that each color represents a number. Show them how to match up the numbers and ask them which is more or less than another number. Patterns aren’t limited to only math concepts; you can also use patterns as writing activities for your preschoolers by having them draw or color different patterns on paper for practice purposes.

When teaching preschoolers about patterns, you may use any object, such as buttons, blocks, or even random household items like spoons and forks, to teach kids about varied sizes and shapes while reinforcing mathematical concepts like more/less than comparisons.

Card Games

Playing card games to teach preschoolers math is an interesting one. It’s a concept I tried with my daughter when she was young, and I had some success in that regard. The basic idea is to use a set of cards, each with a number on it—like playing poker or solitaire—and have the children learn about addition and subtraction by seeing if they can match their cards to the teacher’s cards.

Tracing Shapes

shape tracing and crafts with kids

In addition to these things, tracing shapes helps build self-confidence in children as they feel a sense of accomplishment when they see their final work come together. It also helps spark creativity in children because there are no rules when it comes to tracing shapes.

Your kid can draw each shape in any color or pattern they desire. Have your child pick out a sheet and then trace over the lines on the sheet using crayons or markers in whatever colors they want. Using different colored lines makes it easier for them to follow along and get feedback as they go along.

Measuring Ingredients

You can also teach measuring units like teaspoons and tablespoons by asking them to use a tablespoon to scoop up some flour or put three teaspoons of baking soda in the bowl. They can also be introduced to order—as in, “First we put in 3 cups of flour.”


Teaching ratios is another skill that kids need for math literacy. When you’re making a recipe with your preschooler, talk about the ingredients you’re using: “We’ll need twice as much flour as sugar” or “We’ll need 2 cups of butter for every 3 cups of sugar.” These are all skills that will help when they get older and have to do calculations independently.

Painting With Shapes

Painting with shapes is an easy, fun, creative way for preschoolers to learn about conditions.

Using a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes of shapes in your painting can make the artwork enjoyable. You can use these techniques with paint on paper or other surfaces. The art is also great for other projects such as collages or scrapbooks.

You can cut out the different shapes you need from cardboard, wood, or even heavy paper. If you have a computer and printer available, it’s also easy to print out the required shape templates on card stock before cutting them out with scissors.

Encourage your preschooler to experiment! It doesn’t matter if they don’t color each shape carefully within its lines; they should enjoy creating with color and patterns as they paint their masterpieces.

You can easily teach your preschooler basic math concepts through play.

Play is an essential component of quality early childhood education. Through play, children learn and develop a wide range of skills.

It also aids children in developing their social and emotional skills, as well as their knowledge of math, science, and literacy. Play provides kids with natural opportunities to make sense of the world around them.

Researchers have found that play connects with the pleasure centers in our brains, which encourages learning and creativity. Play teaches self-regulation and promotes resilience because it allows you to try out new ideas that may not work right away.

You can easily teach your preschooler basic math concepts through play. The simple act of counting items together or stacking blocks reinforces essential number recognition while having fun playing together.

About Our Guest Post

Andrea Gibbs is the Content Manager at SpringHive Web Agency, where she helps create content for their clients’ blogs and websites. She is currently a blog contributor at Montessori Academy, a blog dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.

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