If you told me in high school that I would come to love teaching math, I would have laughed in your face. I have a long and turbulent relationship with math, but because of that, I am determined as a teacher to make math free of anxiety in my classroom. I hope that these math center activities help to build a strong foundation for my students thick with confidence and knowledge that they can do math. Here’s the thing, building math skills takes practice and repetition, and here is where it’s easy to fall into boring didactic teaching strategies – but we don’t have to. We can make math fun and engaging with just a few adjustments. Check out these great and FUN math center activities for preschoolers.
When you think about math for preschool, you probably immediately think of number recognition and counting, but there is so much more to preschool math than that. Check out these great math activities for preschool that you can use in your math center or for free choice. I like to use many of these for small groups as well. Check out these math games that have transformed my class.
Fun Math Center Ideas for Preschool & Prek
Ten Frame Activities – the trick is to use all different novel items for the counters, like glass beads, mini erasers, and more. Check out all the different themed ten-frame printables, like Halloween and Christmas themed ones here.
This simple Lock & Key activity is as simple as it gets. Your students will love it.
Work on fine motor skills, number recognition, and one-to-one correspondence with this flower-themed math center activity.
Sorting is a math skill, and bring sorting up a notch with FUN things to sort!
Work on those fine motor skills, counting, and writing numerals with this simple bug jar activity that uses bug stickers for a little novelty.
Novelty is what fuels this spooky finger-counting activity. Literally, it’s just counting and sorting Halloween ( or any theme) mini erasers with a spooky finger puppet. You can try a plastic candy cane for Christmas, and more.
Novelty is the secret ingredient to this plastic egg number recognition and writing activity. You can use Easter eggs or animal shaped ones they sell every spring. Pop a number or paper with dots inside and give your students something to write with.
Measurement Math Center Ideas For Preschoolers
Comparing attributes of things is a foundational math skill, and using a simple balance scale to compare different toys in your classroom is fun. When children get a little more sophisticated in their thinking, you can move to use something like unifix cubes to see how many cubes different toys weigh.
Measure each other with nonstandard items like these pegs. I love this activity because it was completely child lead!
Use standard measurement tools like a growth chart to invite students to measure themselves and class toys.
Use measurement mats like these simple photos of children to use unifix cubes for measurement.
Invite children to measure toys with unifix cubes too!
Work on estimation skills with the balance scale. Work on math vocabulary like more, less, and equal naturally as you explore.
Unifix cubes are great for measuring with measurement cards too.
Who says you can bring in seasonal nature items to measure as well? This is a great way to explore science and math simultaneously! Which makes this a great math center idea for preschoolers.
Shape Math Center Activities
I love having some art out at free choice, and why not mix your art and math centers together with shape printing? Easter eggs make great circles but did you know that unifix cubes make awesome art tools too?
I love this stained glass sticky window and so do my students.
One of my favorite group lessons is this shape one, but I’ve adapted it to free choice by covering a table and drawing a bunch of the same shape, in this case, an oval. Then inviting my students to change those shapes into whatever they want!
Dice Games for Math Centers
Dice games are so much fun because they are easy to differentiate for every learner. This jar of stars activity doesn’t even use numerals, and I used it with my tiniest kiddos, who loved it.
This simple roll-and-cover game uses a big foam die and googly eyes to entice students to play. Roll the die and then add the eyes to the little monsters. You can use stickers or even just draw on the items, too – check out all kinds of ideas here.
I love games like this, where you roll the die and then add beads to make something pretty. My class loves making necklaces and magic wands.
Pounding bench games are always popular, and this one is no exception.
This is another way to use dice for a game. Roll, count, and fill. This helps with one-to-one correspondence and getting kids to slow down and only count what they touch.
This shark game is too funny and I like using it to also work on how to use a glue stick properly.
Patterning Activities for Math Centers
Patterning is not just repetitive patterns. It’s also about matching and developing visual discrimination to reproduce a pattern.
Simple Lego games are a great way to work on this.
I love using do a dot markers to start patterns and have students finish them.
Shaving cream and foam blocks are fun and can easily be used for patterning.
And of course, copying block patterns is fun, but creating your own is even better – this is one of my favorite math activities!
Need more simple early learning activities?
For more simple fine motor skills activity ideas, check out my newest book Everyday Preschool – it’s packed with simple learning activities that work on important skills children need.