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Preschool and kindergarten children have fun with early math games and activities as they recognize numbers and count.
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Graphing Ice Cream
Youngsters use early math counting and graphing skills during this delicious early childhood activity by Ima D.

Materials: Neapolitan ice cream, small bowls or nut cups, 3 poster cutouts of cone 
shapes, and as many white construction paper ice cream scoops as children and adults in your class.

Description: Provide each child with a spoonful of each flavor. Children choose their favorite flavor, then color their ice cream scoop to match their favorite flavor and tape it onto the correct cone (one cone for strawberry, another for chocolate and one for vanilla).  When the cones are finished, count the number of scoops on each cone.

Comments: We also did this with popsicles by gluing the wrapping paper to a graph to determine how many choose grape, orange, cherry or lime.

Money: Coins
Encourage preschool and kindergarten children to learn about the various coin denominations with these early childhood ideas from Michelle L.

Materials: Overhead projector, overhead sheets with coins copied onto them-one coin per sheet.

Description: With children sitting in a group on a mat, place the overhead sheets up one at a time. Discuss with the children the coin and the symbols on it ie: animal, number (denomination) and color. Repeat this will all of the coins available.

Next, ask the children to make coin rubbings. This is easily done by placing a piece of paper on top of the coins and then using a pencil or crayon to rub over it gently, thus  revealing the patterns.

Comments: I am from Australia and our coins are represented by animals and 
have the denomination on them. So I discuss the name and type of animal and how much the coin is worth. We then identify the number on the overhead. Our coins are also silver or gold, so I have silver and gold paper on the wall for the correct coins to be projected onto. You also may like to have the real coins there to show the children!

Classroom Telephone Book
Preschoolers use early math number recognition skills, recognize classmates names and develop telephone skills during this early childhood activity by Lora C.

Materials: A photo of each child, a notebook or album, old telephones and permission to use each child's phone number in a class book.

Description: Take a picture of each child in the class.  Place in a notebook or 
album of your choosing.  This will be the class telephone book.  Under each picture 
write the child's name and phone number.  Place in ABC order, just like a real phone book. Put the telephone book in the home living center with old telephones.  Children love to pretend to call each other and to pretend to call their own homes.

number songNumber Songs
Sherry G. offers this song that encourages youngsters to sing about writing numbers.

 Materials: Teachers may want to make chart with the song written down.

 Number Song
 (Tune: Ten Little Indians)

 Start at the top and come straight down
 Start at the top and come straight down
 Start at the top and come straight down
 To write the number 1.

 Half way around and slide to the right
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 2.

 Half way around and around again
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 3.

 Down, slide and cut it in half.
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 4.

 Put on his hat come down and around
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 5.

 Come right down and give it a curl.
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 6.

 Slide to the right and slant it down
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 7.

 Write and S and go straight home
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 8.

 Make a balloon and pull on the string.
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 9.

 Write a one and then a zero.
 (repeat twice)
 To write the number 10.

Number Candyland
Preschool children use social, math and large motor skills during this early childhood activity for 5 year olds by Suzanne G.

 Materials: A disposable drop cloth (paper), clear contact paper, construction 
 paper, and index cards.

 Description: Using construction paper in several colors, I made a path on the 
 drop cloth.  I also added some squares in white with pictures on them.  I was 
 going for a life size "Candyland" game.  I used index cards with one or two 
 squares of construction paper or a picture.  I covered the drop cloth with 
 contact paper to add durability.  We played the game together, practicing skills like taking turns, using words like forward, backward, next, and "excuse me please".  Everyone takes turns drawing a card and moving one or two squares on the path to the end. 

Stack and Count Milk Rings
Betty D. contributes this counting manipulative saying, " Children will stack and count the rings on the matching colored dowel rods."

Materials: 4 or 5 one inch dowel rods cut into four inch lengths, hot glue gun, sanded board 1x6" square, rings off of plastic milk jugs, colored permanent and marker. 

Description: Everybody buys milk. Save the rings off of the caps.  Cut four or five 1 inch diameter dowel rods into four inch lengths.  Hot glue them on a sanded board or heavy plastic lid.  Color with a permanent marker the ends of the dowel rods the same color as the rings.  I made mine blue and red.  The children will stack and count the rings on the matching colored dowel rods..

Comments: I usually make all of my manipulatives from recycled materials.  The kids notice the different items that I use and think that it's so neat to make a learning tool from them.

Math Worksheets
Jennifer K. helps older preschool children write and recognize numbers using worksheets.

Materials: Store bought math worksheets, or homemade math worksheets.

 Description: In my pre-k class, I have found that the children absolutely LOVE doing math worksheets.  The ones they particularly like, are the ones that have them trace a number, and then write it on their own.  They are proud when they can do this on their own.  I have found that just being able to recognize a  number or a letter of the alphabet isn't enough.  Children really need to practice their motor skills by being able to write numbers and letters.  The  recognition will come automatically, and in the meantime, being able to write their letters and numbers is a big challenge. 

Number Train
Lisa C. combines early math counting skills with literacy in this preschool activity.

Materials: Scissors, glue, multi-colored construction paper cut into 1/4 sheets, cutouts of train engines, black circles for wheels. Book:  1,2,3, to the Zoo  by Eric Carle. Teacher prepared dittos with appropriate number of animals to correspond with the book.

 Description: Read 1,2,3 To the Zoo, by Eric Carle.  Then  young children make their own trains.  Give the children teacher created ditto and have them color, then cut out the animal. 

Next, the children glue each group of animals on a separate 1/4 piece of construction paper.  Have the children connect the train cars in numerical order.  Add a precut engine to the front, and black round circles to the bottom of each car.

Comments: Teachers can have the children write the words, or cut out words that you have written and glue them on top of the corresponding car.

Milk Dud Math
Dawn W. encourages preschool children to predict amounts in this delicious 3 part lesson plan.

Materials: Milk dud mini cartons and placemats.

Part One
 Description: I use this activity while gathered in a circle.  The children love it because they get to gobble the Milk Duds at the end of the lesson.  I've spent several days discussing predictions, and guessing, and "what ifs" so now they have the background knowledge. 

Each child has one box of mini milk duds and choose any number they like to predict how many milk duds will be in their boxes.  Open, count, eat and enjoy their predictions!!!!

Part Two
Children are again gathered in circle and each with own carton of milk duds. Teacher asks the questions "How many do you think are in  your box".  Most children will remember the count from the day before, but others will make new guesses.  Take turns going around and asking what numbers they think their box contains.  Open, count and see how close everyone comes to their predictions.  The kids love it even if they said forty and only had three.

Comments: Teachers take your time and listen to each child.  You'll learn so much more about guesswork and predicting outcomes.

Part Three
Materials: Milk Dud mini cartons, placemats, flashcards or
numbers 1 - 10 on blocks, cubes or other manipulatives.

Description: This lesson takes the activity to next level and gives the child the ability to visually recognize the number of milk duds in the box to the physical attribute of the manipulative used.  In other words, kids can see the number on their mat and count how many milk duds are actually in the box. 

Sit in a circle, every child has a box.  Each child picks a flashcard with their number prediction and sets it on their placement.  Each child takes a turn until the mats are full.  Open box as group, count  and go around the circle and ask who was close, how did predictions turn out.  Eat and enjoy!

Comments: Kids don't care if their predictions are off.  Just that they were able to make a guess, count and eat!

Floater Fun
Kim Mc. shares this preschool and kindergarten activity with the following objectives:

 1. The children will improve their expressive language skills by making  predictions.

 2. The children will improve their fine motor skills by picking up the paperclips and placing them in the basket.

 3. The children will improve their social skills by sharing materials.

 Materials: Berry basket, paper clips, pyrex dish (clear is preferred)
 water, a tray.

Fill the dish half way up and place the berry basket on top.  Then  ask the children how many paper clips will be able to go into the basket without it sinking.  Ask the children to count as they put the paper clips into the basket.  Put clips in until it sinks

Cookie Jar
Shirley A. offers this early childhood activity plan that uses young children's number recognition and counting skills.

Materials: 5 different cookie jars, cookie patterns.

Teacher places a number on each cookie jar and let the student tell you what  number is on the front of the cookie jar.  Then let the student count out the number using the cookies and place them in that jar.

Jelly Bean Countdown
Trish H. shares this colorful counting activity plan which uses the flannel board. Preschool children help count down the disappearing colors of jelly beans and use visual and counting skills.

Materials and  Preparation: 
To prepare, draw a pattern of 10 colorful jelly-bean shapes on to  fabric interfacing  using watercolor ink.  Then cut the patterns out and store them in zip lock bag.

Jelly Bean Rhyme
      Five little jelly beans;
      I wish I had more!
      I'll eat the (color word) one;
      Now there are four.

      Four little jelly beans;
      Tasty as can be.
      I'll eat the (color word) one;
      Now there are three.

      Three little jelly beans;
      Only a few.
      I'll eat the (color word) one;
      Now there are two.

      Two little jelly beans;
      Eating them is fun.
      I'll eat the (color word) one;
      Now there is one.

      One little jellybean;
      The last one for me.
      I'll eat the (color word) one;
      I'm as happy as can be!

After the flannel board story you can share a small treat, like a colorful jelly bean and watch how fast they disappear.

Comments: Real jelly beans are so colorful it doesn't take long for little ones to eat them all up. This activity will have the same effect on the children  now you see them now you don't.

Classroom  Measurements
Preschool children measure objects in their classroom with standard and non-standard tools.

You will need:
Rulers, tape measure, yarn, string, yardstick, a variety of blocks, a large container and markers.

Show children the measuring materials, which you have previously placed in a large container.  Ask, "How can we measure with rulers, yardsticks, yarn, blocks etc.?"  "What can you measure with blocks, tape measures etc.?"  Then suggest that children measure one specific object in the classroom using different measuring tools.  Now ask them to measure each other, their hands, one another's feet and so on. 

Hold the ruler against a child's foot and ask, "Why do you need to have your feet measured?"  Finally, with the children choose one object and measure it with all the different tools. Create an experience chart graph of the object's different measurements.  For example: how many blocks did it measure.

Measure Up Math
A preschool education early math graphing activity that begins indoors and uses measurement to discover and compare how wide or long an object is.

You will need:
Lots of string or yarn, scissors, a felt tip marker and labels (an office supply).

Before going outside teachers introduce the idea of measuring with string by asking children to measure several classroom items.  As the children measure and cut their string, teachers place labels on each length and write the name of the item. Talk about which string is the longest?  The shortest?  Which are the same?

Next, talk about what kinds of things can be measured outside.  Examples: playground equipment, the height and circumference of tree trunks etc. While outside measure and compare the height of different trees etc.  Which one is the tallest? The shortest? The widest? Don't forget to label each length of string.

Back inside create a wall graph using the lengths of string and talk about the math comparisons.

Math More or Less
An early childhood education math activity during circle time. Incorporate math language and the concepts of "more than" and "less than" by taking time during circle to talk about the number of cloudy, rainy or sunny days you've had that week.  Have there been "more" sunny days than cloudy?  What kind of weather have you had "the most"?

It may help to develop a weather chart!
On a large sheet of craft paper or experience chart paper write the days of the week.  Ask the group to describe the weather on Monday and then ask one child to draw the Monday weather picture on the chart. Teachers can write "sunny" etc.  Continue each day of the week, so that by Friday children can count and compare the number of cloudy days etc.

During storytime share books that introduce different math concepts:

       Bigger and Smaller      by Robert Froman
       Jim and the Beanstalk    by Raymond Briggs
       Kathy's First Haircut    by Gibbs Davis
       When Is Tomorrow    by Nancy Dingman
       The Wing on a Flea    by Ed Emberly

MusicNumber March
This early childhood education activity uses music and movement to engage preschool children in number recognition.

You will need:
Sidewalk chalk, a tape recorder, marching music.

In the playground, on a cement or blacktop area teachers write numbers with sidewalk chalk (or tape numbers) in a circle.  Write enough numbers for each child in your group.  Play marching music on a tape recorder and ask young children to march around the numbers to the music.  When you stop the music they must stop at a number.  Have children tell you the number on which they stopped.

Game: Body Relay Math
Have preschool children stand behind one another. Restrict the size of the line to five children.  Have youngsters take turns running around a target a certain number of times.  The number of times depends on their line position at the beginning of the game.  The first person goes once, the second twice, and so on.  The rest of the children count out loud and clap as the other is circling the target. 

Possible target ideas include a swing, slide, tire, pole, ball, bean bag etc.

Classroom Counting
During this preschool education activity preschool children become familiar with the materials found in the classroom environment, while counting and being introduced to numerals.

You will need:
Experience chart paper or a large piece of craft paper, felt tip marker.

Teachers help pre-k youngsters count the number of chairs in the classroom and write the word 'chairs' along with the numeral on experience chart paper. Draw a rebus of each chair counted.  Next, ask the children to count the number of tables in the classroom and write the word 'tables' and the numeral. Then draw a rebus for each table.  Help young children refer to the chart and ask "How many" and "More or less" questions. 
Example, "How many tables are in our classroom?" etc.

Repeat this activity during the week with other items in the room.  Adding the items to the chart each day.

Number Hunting
During this early childhood education activity young children use the skills of number recognition and matching.

You will need:
Index cards, felt tip marker,  a small box, and  a catalog of teaching and play supplies (optional).

Teachers prepare in advance by printing a number on each index card (example: 3) and drawing pictures of items corresponding to the number on the cards. For example number 3 and 3 cars, mittens, blocks etc.  Write the word cars, mittens, blocks etc. on the card.  Instead of drawing pictures you can use pictures from a teaching and play catalog. 

During small group time put all of the cards in a small box and ask each child to draw out one card from the box. If necessary, whisper in the child's ear what is written on his/her card.  When all the youngsters have cards ask them to look for their things and bring them back to the group.  For example, the child with a card indicating 3 straws, would look for three straws and bring them back to the other children and show them.

Extension: On a different day repeat the activity for another number (4). Then during still another activity combine the cards for both numbers (3 & 4) in the box. As preschoolers explore more numbers, continue alternating in this manner.

Game: Body Jump Math
Lay a jump rope on the ground in a straight line.  Have preschoolers line up behind one another at one end of the jump rope.  Let youngsters take turns jumping back and forth over the rope a certain number of times. Start out by having everyone jump the same number. Then as children become more confident, give each child a  different number.  The rest of the children count out loud and clap when they are not jumping.

Counting Walk
Teachers plan a early math counting walk outside.  Determine ahead of time what preschoolers will look for and count.  Create a tally sheet to give youngsters along with a pencil, and a clipboard to record their finds.

Some ideas to count are houses, windows, doors, posts, utility poles, fence posts, flowers, trees, birds, and insects.  Count how many giant steps it takes to cross the playground.  Inside, make a giant tally chart recording everyone's information.

Game: Jumping Numbers
An early childhood education game that develops counting and number recognition skills.

You will need:
Large index cards, clear contact paper, large felt tip marker, experience chart paper or a large piece of white craft paper.

In advance, prepare index cards with large numbers by writing, with a large felt tip marker, one number on each card and covering the cards with clear contact paper (reuse the index cards for other number games).

Have all the children in a circle, with a pile of numbered index cards in the middle.  Call out a number or write it on experience chart paper / craft paper and show the number to preschoolers.  For example the number 3.  Children then have to get to the pile by jumping 3 times or hopping 3 times and then pick out the number 3.  As each child has a turn he/she should also be encouraged to say what the number is.

Counting Game: "Guess What I Said"
An early childhood education game for small or large groups that uses observation and counting skills.

Teachers whisper a command in one child's ear. "Jump three times" or "Hop five times on the same foot" or "Touch the floor four times" etc. The preschooler does what you whispered and the other children try to guess what it was you said by watching and counting.

As children become familiar with the game the youngster who guesses the correct command becomes the next person to whisper a command. Continue until all the children have a chance to whisper.

Pick and Count
This small group activity encourages number recognition and counting.

You will need:
The numbered index cards from the above "Jumping Numbers" game, a box filled in advance with objects that the children are familiar with such as toys, crayons, small blocks etc.

Give a youngster a numbered card (or let him/her choose one) then ask him/her to pick out the same number of objects from the box. Encourage each child to count the objects as they are taken from the box.  After all the children have had a chance vary the activity by asking each child to take a number of objects out of the box then look for the card with the right number on it.

Counting Rhyme
ONE, TWO, BUCKLE MY SHOE - Practice the rhyme in the classroom.  Take  preschool children outside.  Have them line up facing the teacher.  Clap and jump on numbers, then act out the words.  Do it in unison.

             One, two...Buckle my shoe.
             Three, four...Shut the door
             Five, six...Pick up sticks
             Seven, eight...Lay them straight
             Nine, ten...A big fat hen.

On the word "ten" let children run in a circle counting from one to ten.  On ten, they must be back in place to start the rhyme again.

Art Activity: Number Pictures
An early childhood education activity that combines counting with art.

You will need:
Drawing paper and crayons.

Teachers ask each child to draw a different picture: 3 apples, 5 balloons, 9 candles etc.  When the pictures are finished ask one child to tell the others about his/her picture. After he/she is done, all together count out loud the number of things in the picture.  Then  (for older preschoolers) ask the child who made the picture to print 
the right number on his/her picture.  Continue until each child has told about their picture and printed a number on it.

Follow-up the activity with the game "Simon Says".
                  Example, "Simon says jump up 6 times."

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