Playful Preschool Math Ideas for Learning Shapes, Counting, Patterning and More

I have this vivid math memory of getting quizzed on multiplication on the playground in elementary school. In third grade I was sick a lot (well every year I was, but that’s another story) and was behind on our weekly quizzes.

We were doing our 8s. 8X1 is 8! 8X2 is 16! 8X3 is…

Everyone else was running around outside laughing and I was desperately trying to remember some memory trick about 8s that I thought I had mastered.

Sick or not, math was never my thing.

When I started homeschooling our twins I was nervous about the Math part.

I shouldn’t have been.

Learning Numbers with Loose Parts

Eventually when they get to advanced calc and I break out in cold sweats from the stressful memories, but at least for now Preschool and Early Elementary school Math is fun.

Math does NOT have to be worksheets or printables or stressful playground quizzes. Math can be fun.

Below are some of our favorite ways to learn basic math concepts in hands on, active, and fun ways.

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Easy Preschool Math Ideas for Learning Shapes, Counting and Patterning

Magnatiles for learning shapes

Learning Shapes

Build with Magnatiles

Building with blocks that are different shapes offers amazing hands on ways to practice how shapes work, fit together, are deconstructed, etc. And what better to build with than beautiful Magnatiles? Read more to find out our favorite ways to use them.
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Finding Circles

This gross motor activity works on shape identification. We practiced circles, but you can quickly adapt it to work on a different shape or all the shapes.
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Mouse Shapes Inspired Art

Art contains so much potential for math learning. This is just one example that focuses on learning and exploring shapes.
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Counting Walk for Preschoolers

Learning to Count

Counting to 20 with Loose Parts

This is a hands on way to practice counting to 20 (or whatever number you choose).
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Take a Counting Walk

This is a fun way to get some fresh air and practice counting real objects. This activity also works on recognizing numbers.
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Ones and Twos Sorting Tray

This actually includes two math skills – counting and sorting. This each invitation can easily be adapted for higher numbers when your child is comfortable with this one.
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Our 20 Things

Head outside (or to the playroom) and gather 20 different thing. This is a fun cooperative game to play while you practice counting. This activity also works on writing and recognizing numerals.
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DIY Foam Counting Train

One of our all time favorites! Bring counting with you to the tub!
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Read Picture Books about Counting

There are a ton of fun ones, but our top 10 counting children’s books are listed in this post.
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How to Make a Loose Part Number Line

We used these two simple, inexpensive materials for years – and actually we’re still using them, just for additional and subtraction now.
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Number Recognition with Dominoes

This activity uses two of our favorite math materials – Dominoes and Counting Rocks!
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Chalk Patterns Math Outside

Learn about Patterns

5 Ways to Make Patterns Outside

Head into the backyard to try one or all of these movement and play based ideas for learning about patterns.
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Press Here Game

This game is so unique and wonderful for identifying, creating, and extending patterns.
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5 Math + Movement Games to Play While You Wait

Here are some zero to low prep games you can do anywhere. They cover counting, number recognition, patterns and more.
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10+ Playful Preschool Math Ideas for learning shapes counting and patterns

A-Z Play at Home

This post is part of the blog hop and series on playing and learning at home. Below are more ideas for the letter M.

Exploring Magnets with Cranes + Trains – Bambini Travel

Minion Playdough – Teach Me Mommy

Mud Kitchen Play – The Gingerbread House

Messy Minion Sensory Play – Adventures and Play

Moon Footprints Sensory Play – Line Upon Line Learning

Mud Sensory Play: The Ultimate Play Date – The Jenny Evolution

Moana Inspired Curriculum Ideas – Bambini Travel

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