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Carrie Cutler

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20-minute Preschool Math Ideas

These simple, fun ideas can be done in about 20 minutes using household items parents probably already have on hand. Teachers, click the button below for a pdf of parent-friendly list of activities parents of preschoolers can use while learning from home.

How can you help your children do more math during COVID19? Here are 3 simple ideas!

Toy Sorting

These children are sorting toys by color, using the rug as a sorting mat.

Birthday Candle Counting

Use a digit candle (like the 3 shown here) or a 

toothpick with a digit taped to it (numbers 0-9). Children roll playdough into ball and place in cupcake cup. They poke a digit into the dough and then the correct number of candles.

Cereal Shape Sorting

Materials: different shaped cereal

Squares: Chex, Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Circles: Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks

Rectangles: Frosted Mini Wheat

Instructions: Children sort the cereal pieces by shape.

Straw Triangles

Materials: straws, clay or playdough

Instructions: Children cut straws to different lengths and then roll small balls of clay to join three straws, forming a triangle.

make as many different triangles as possible. Compare the triangles and discuss similarities and differences between them. Sort the triangles according to their attributes.

Block Towers

Materials: blocks, die

Instructions: Children roll a die and place that many blocks on their tower. They notice that some blocks are better suited to building than others (the pointy cone, for example). When the tower inevitably topples over, the children say, "Oh, well" in a sing-song voice and start over.

Shape Rubbings

Materials: flattish blocks (like tangrams)

Instructions: Children lay blocks on the table then lay a sheet of white paper over the top. They can use a crayon to create a rubbing of the shapes. Which ones can they name? What can they tell you about the number of sides a shape has? Which shapes fit together to make new shapes?