When teaching math
to preschoolers you need to move beyond counting. Other preschool math concepts include
number recognition, sorting and sets, shapes, comparisons, time,
money, patterns, measurements, addition and subtraction, and
There are many
different ways to teach these concepts but, when you plan math activities, you
will want to offer the following in your lesson plans:
Give the children real materials that they can manipulate and work
with. Preschoolers need to see and touch objects in order to
verbalize and visualize their thoughts. These materials can be anything that can represent a
number; balls, toys, food items, or anything that can be
Preschoolers need to be exposed to illustrations or pictures that represent the
number. This can be a picture of anything that represents a
number and the amount in correspondence with the number.
This is the actual number that you are teaching.
Correspondence – Preschoolers
can begin to count with meaning by pairing objects or matching them
one-to-one. For instance, one book for each child, one cup for each child,
This includes the ability to recite numbers and involves the understanding of
the meaning of numbers.
Number Meaning and
Recognition – Each number
represents an amount or quantity.
This is the ability to reproduce an arrangement of objects.
Sets/Grouping – Classifying
objects into sets or groups according to an attribute or characteristic like
color, size, shape, etc.
Shapes – the
ability to recognize similarities and differences in shapes and to name the
Comparisons – determining if objects and sets are alike or different
Measurements – Preschoolers need to experience weight, volume and
Time – the
ability to recognize the meaning of the hands on the clock.
Money – the
ability to recognize the act of purchasing and simple identification of
Subtraction – simple
operations in addition like joining sets and subtraction like separating
It is vital for
children’s understanding to use vocabulary in connection with the children’s
experiences. The words below can be used frequently as you explain
the activities, identify objects, talk to preschoolers, sing songs, tell
stories, ask questions, etc.
Activities That Can Be Used to Teach Children
You should choose
activities that are appropriate to the ability and to the interest of your
preschooler. Start out simply and then move on to more complex tasks
and concepts so that children can experience success. For instance, teach children to count to 5, then to 10,
15, and so on. Focus on learning one shape at a time instead of
overwhelming children with many shapes at once. Plus, feel free to repeat activities to build confidence
and because, as always, repetition is key!
For a huge array of
different math activities go here.