5 Engaging Early Childhood Math Games to Play at Home


We all know how important (and sometimes tough) math can be for our little ones. Learning basic math skills early-on is crucial for their cognitive development, while getting them ready for Kindergarten. Practicing at home is a great way to reinforce what they learned in preschool – and shapes the role we can play in their development. 

Here are 5 of our favorite quick, easy math games to play at home with your child.

1. Patterns with Gummy Bears

Counting gummy bears are a great math manipulative to use with preschoolers. You can sort, count, or use them with patterns. 

Using scrap paper, color a pattern using the colors of the gummy bears, then have your child place them on the pattern you made.

Example 1 is an AB pattern, meaning two colors alternate in the pattern. Example 2 is an ABC pattern, meaning there are three colors in the pattern. Let your child use the gummy bears to create their own patterns for you to figure out! 

Tip! Any materials that can be used to create patterns can be used in place of the counting bears. 

Example 1 (AB Pattern)

Example 2 (ABC Pattern)

2. Graphing Around the House

Graphing sounds complex for preschoolers, but it doesn’t have to be. You can do a simple activity like graphing the types of transportation you see in public, food groups in the fridge, or different stuffed animals.

Using manipulatives such as small toys, stickers, building blocks, or dry beans makes graphing fun and easy to duplicate. Create a graph out of scrap paper or use the example below!

3. Shape Wheel

This is a simple activity for learning shapes! 

Make a shape wheel like you see in the example below, or print out our wheel. Next, draw the same colored shapes onto a thick clothespin. Have your child match the clothespin to the shape on the wheel by clipping the clothespin onto the shape wheel. 

This exercise combines fine motor skills and shape recognition into one! To change it up, mix up the colors for the next time you play.

4. Dice and Move Game

Get your child moving and counting with this game! 

Create a gameboard like in the example below or print this example. Gather any small item to use to cover the numbers (toy cars, scrap paper, coins, dry beans). Before you play, come up with a movement to do throughout the game, such as a hop, skip, touch your nose, or clap your hands. We’ll use hops for our example.

Have your child roll the dice, and whatever number it lands on, cover with the game piece. Now, they must stand up and hop that same number of times. If the number they rolled was already covered, they cover the star, and hop for double the number. 

Not only is this fun, but it helps children learn to “subitize”, which simply means to recognize numbers instantly without counting dots. Once all tiles are covered, the game is over! To make this more advanced, add in a second dice and add up to number 12 on your gameboard.

5. Pouring and Comparing

One size sometimes can fit all!

Practice size comparison skills using rice and several clear containers that are the same size. Pour different amounts of rice in each container then have your child line them up from biggest to smallest. 

Using comparative words like big/small or empty/full help teach preschoolers about simple concepts of measurement. To make this activity even better, use M&Ms and give your little one a snack after – they’ll be eager to play!

Games like these are a fantastic way to get the new school year going. Is your child prepared for school? Click here to find The Sunshine House closest to you, and learn more about our preschool and Pre-K programs designed to get your child ready for success in school! Have a great school year!

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