Math -- Preschool & Kindergarten


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Addition & Subtraction


Family Chart

Make a family chart by graphing the number of family members in each child's family. Ask each child to name each member of his or her family, and hand out a strip of paper for each family member named. Invite each child to place the strips on the chart and say, I'm adding____ people to the chart. When everyone has had a turn, count out loud the total number of strips.


Cat Cat Mouse Game

Gather children in a circle. Together, count the number of children in the circle. Then play "Cat, Cat, Mouse." The "cat" will walk around the circle until the teacher says "mouse." Whomever the "cat" is standing behind must leave the circle and join the "cat." Count the number of children left in the circle and explain that there is now one less. Repeat until you have an entire class of "cats."

Recommended Book

Crown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-1101933824

Ten Magic Butterflies
by Danica McKellar

One by one, ten flower friends ask a fairy to turn them into butterflies to achieve their dreams of flying. Math advocate McKellar uses the story to touch on math concepts in a wonderfully imaginative and fun blend. A beutiful book with the right mix of vibrant illustrations, story, math, and magic. An outstaning mix that creates an amazing book.


Morning, Noon, and Night-Bulletin Board
Need: magazines, scissors, glue, bulletin board.

Divide a bulletin board into three sections labeled "morning," "afternoon," and "evening." Draw a rectangle in each section. You could add a picture at the top of each rectangle. Morning could be a smiley face, afternoon could be a less smiley face, evening a sleeping face. Have the children cut clothes and objects from the magazines and place them into the proper region. For example, what would someone wear in the morning? When would a toaster most likely be used? When would a bed most likely be used?

Morning, Noon, and Night
Need: magazines, catalogs, paper

Make a three page book. Label the pages: Morning, Afternoon and Night. Have children find pictures of morning, afternoon, and evening routines to cut out. Show the pictures. Have children glue the pictures onto the correct page in their books.

3-Ring Circles

Place 3 pieces of yarn on the floor to make a "3-ring circles". Have children sort buttons, toys or other objects and place each item inside a ring.

Then take 2 related and 1 unrelated objects and place them in a ring. Do this for each ring. Have a child remove the thing that does not belong.

Sort the Cars
Need: toy cars

Place a large assortment of toy cars in the group time area. Challenge children to find different ways to sort them. Possibilities include color, number of wheels, cars with or without writing, cars with doors that open, and number of doors. Children might come up with other ideas, as well.

Color Lids
Need: paper scraps, yarn, fabric, small lids, felt pieces, glue, juice-can lids

Ask children to sort materials by color. Children may glue materials of the same color onto juice-can lids. Children can make several lids of different colors.



Tune: pussy cat pussy cat

Meas-ure your hand, and then meas-ure your nose,
Meas-ure your feet and then meas-ure your toes,
Meas-ure your head, then your ears, and your chin,
You're smil-ing, you're hap-py! Let's meas-ure your grin!

Measuring & Comparing

Strings of me!
Need: Yarn or string cut to the same height as the child.

Measure each child with a piece of string. Let the children compare their string with other objects and other children's strings. Contributed by: Leslie Lee

Group Measuring Feet

Children will get a "kick" out of measuring objects with their own feet. Pairs can help each other trace around a foot on a piece of paper. Children can use their footprints to measure the length of a table, the doorway; and other classroom items.

Mouse Tails

Show children the picture of the mouse. Help children find partners and cut a piece of black string the length of the mouse’s tail for each pair. Show children how to use the mouse-tail measurer to determine the length of an object. Encourage them to find more objects to measure, such as a book, a block, the tabletop, or a shirt sleeve.

Weighing & Comparing

Rock & Leaf (heavy & light)

Set up the balance scale. Explain the concepts of heavy and light by using a large stone on one side of the scale and a leaf on the other side. Invite children to look for other items around the area that can be weighed on the scale. Encourage children to weigh their items along with those of their classmates to compare weights.



Opposite Chant

I can say yes
And I can say no,
I can say fast
And I can say slow,

I can say bottom
And I can say top,
I can start
And I can STOP!


Opposite Painting

Have children use glue to create patterns on heavy cardboard. The children need to apply the glue thickly. Let dry (may need to do on a Friday).

When the glue is dry have children brush paint over the glue design, cover it with a sheet of paper, press firmly. Then carefully lift off the paper. Have children compare the design on the print with the original glue design.

Need: glue, various sizes of macaroni and spaghetti, 2 9x12 inch white drawing paper for each child.

Give each child two sheets of white construction paper. Have them draw a large circle on each piece. One sheet will be for long things only; the other for short things only. On the "long" sheet, have the children draw long eyes, nose, and mouth. Then tell them to create a hairdo for the long face using long spaghetti. Glue the spaghetti onto the sheet. On the "short" sheet, have the children draw short eyes, nose, and mouth and glue on short pieces of macaroni.

Little Hand, Big Hand

Fold a construction paper in two and label one part "Big" and the other part "Little". Trace a large hand on the construction papers. Hand the papers to the children and have each child trace their hand beside the large hand.

Table Drawing
Needed: table, 2 strips of paper the length of the table, crayons or markers 1 for each child

Tape the paper to the bottom of the table and give each child a crayon. Show them how to color by laying down on the floor and let them draw whatever they want. I told them that it was opposite week and the opposite of top was bottom.

You could place paper on both the top and the bottom of the table and have the children draw on the top and bottom papers. Ask them which was easier to draw on. Contributed by: Lisa Ladner


Number Order
Need: ten 4" x 3" cards

Draw one circle on the first card, two on the second, etc. Place cards on floor, mix them up and have children put them in the correct order.

Nature's Niches
Need: twigs, leaves, and weeds, large sheet of construction paper (22x28inches)

Randomly give each child a bunch of dried grasses, weeds, twigs, and leaves. Have them order them from shortest to longest on paper. Glue them down and make a forest scene from dried pieces.

Colored Gumdrops

With my preschool class...For a math activity I had the children count gumdrops, and make patterns with the gumdrops! They loved it and it was definitely tasty at the end! Contributed By: Ria Galvin

Spatial Relationships

Over Under Around And Pound

Over, under, around and pound.
(Hold arm in front of your body. "Over" take other arm over your other arm. "Under" take arm under your other arm. "Around and pound" move arm in a stirring motion and pound the floor.)
Around and pound.
Around and pound.

Repeat 3 times


The Grand Old Duke of York
Tune: "A-Hunting We Will Go"

The Grand old Duke of York,
(march on the spot)
He had ten thousand men.
(march on the spot)
He marched them up the hill,
(keep marching and stretch up really tall)
And marched them down again.
(everyone sits down)
And when you're up, you're up;
(everyone stands up)
And when you're down, you're down.
(everyone sits down)
And when you're only halfway up,
(everyone half-way up)
You're neither up nor down!
(when you say up, jump up and when you say down, squat down)

Left & Right Action Rhyme

We stamp with the left foot,
We stamp with the right.
Then we turn ourselves around,
And clap with all our might.
We look to the left side,
When look to the right.
We step forward, then backward,
And clap with all our might.

Group Time Games

Shaking Hands

Demonstrate to children how to shake hands, using the right hand, and explain that this is a way of greeting one another. Pair up children and allow them to practice shaking hands. Then play some moderately-paced music and invite children to dance or move freely around the classroom. When the music stops, children must find their partners and shake hands.

Left & Right Body Game
Need: a small ribbon for each child.

Start with simple commands, such as "Everyone touch your feet" and "Touch your head." Tie a ribbon around the right wrist of each child. Have everyone raise their hand with the ribbon and say "The ribbon is around my right wrists." Now have everyone raise just their left hand and say "This is my left hand. It has no ribbon." Practice raising left and right hands on command.

When they've mastered this, move to commands such as "Touch your left foot with your left hand." "Touch your right ear with your right hand." etc... If anyone still has trouble, remind the children that their right hands have the ribbons tied to them. Finally, ask the children to touch body parts with the opposite hand: right ear/left hand, left foot/right hand, etc...

Mitten Game
Need: 8 pairs of construction paper mittens in 8 different colors.

After cutting out the 8 pairs of construction paper mittens, tape the mittens to the wall in pairs. Ask each child in turn to place his hands on a matching pair of mittens. Explain that the right hand goes on the right mitten and the left hand goes on the left mitten. Afterwards, rearrange the mittens in a random order on the wall. Now the child must cross his/her arms to correctly place his hands on the matching pair.

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