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We have some fun preschool maths activities in our activity round-up this week.  

1.Ishful Maths


Before you start wondering about the ‘w’, no, a typo it’s not! It is indeed ‘ishful’ maths, and an interesting new take on estimation jars by mampappabubba.

Estimation is one of those activities that’s often met with a raised eyebrow by many. Now, why would you teach children to guess ballpark figures when you could be channelising those efforts into teaching them actual counting and computation? Is it a concept even worth spending your time on?

It turns out it indeed is. For one, it is a handy skill to have in your life-skill repertoire (to work out the running total of all the items in the trolley before you get to the till, to estimate the number of boxes you can fit in a shelf etc.)

Plus - as a host of studies reveal - it is an advanced mathematical skill that requires children to challenge their brain by exercising abstract thinking and manipulating numbers mentally. This can lay the foundation for valuable critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

While not replacing the importance of coming up with accurate answers, guesstimation is a skill you should encourage children to have in their kitty. Now, coming to the activity, here is what you’d need to do.


The Estimation Jar Activity


Things you will need:

Glass jars with lids- 8 Lego figures- 12 Lego bricks - 8 Pom poms -  17 Corks- 9 Lollipop sticks-13 Erasers - 4 Pebbles - 14 Glass beads- 106 Mail tags looped with string, stick-it-notes – 8  

How to go about it:

Put each set of objects in each of the glass jars. Mark each of the tag with an ‘ish’ number that is closest to the actual number. For instance, ‘5ish’, ‘10ish’, ‘15ish’, ‘20ish’, ‘100ish’etc. Get the children to have a look at each of the jars, guess the number of objects in it and stick the relevant tag to the jar (all of course without counting the actual number of objects inside).


2. Bugs in a Jar

This subitising activity from themeasuredmum is a fun way to encourage visual recognition of number patterns in children. Plus, this is the perfect activity if you are planning a creepy crawlies theme for the week.


How to go about it:

Print, cut out (and laminate, if possible) the pictures or drawings of a few big jars and different insects. Stick little pieces of sticky tac or adhesive pads behind each of the insect cut-outs. Give a jar, a set of bugs and a die to each child. Get them to roll the die, count the dots and stick as many bugs on the jar. Let them continue till their pots are filled to the brim.  

3. Apple Tree Counting

The apple tree counting activity by funlearningforkids combines counting and subitising with fine motor practice.


Things you will need:

Green poster board Red dot stickers Clothespins Permanent marker  

How to go about it:

Draw treetops on the green poster board and cut them out. Add red dot stickers to the treetops. Write numbers from 1-15 on the end of each clothespin. Get the children to count the number of apples in each treetop, find the clothespin with the corresponding number on it and attach it as the tree trunk.  

4. Pool Noodle Abacus

The pool-noodle activity from happyhooligans is a cool way of giving the table-bound abacus a creative twist.

Things you will need:

Multi-coloured pool noodles Some rope Serrated knife to cut the pool noodles  

How to go about it:

Cut the pool noodles into different sizes. Put lengthwise slits on each of the pieces and slide them on to a rope. Tie both ends of the rope tightly to trees or other stationary objects in your garden or backyard. Your pool-noodle abacus is now ready for the little gang to test their counting skills and have some outdoor fun.    

 5. Playdough Counting Garden

Combine some playdough craft with number recognition with the playdough counting garden by fantasticfunandlearning.  

Things you will need:

Playdough Number dough stampers  

How to go about it:

Roll out little balls of playdough for the centre of the flower. Let the children flatten the balls and stamp a number on to it. They can then cut out the corresponding number of petals for each number and stick it around the circle. Finish off by rolling out the stem and a few leaves and let them make their own little garden or bouquet.


6. Count and build with dice

This is a super simple activity from handsonaswegrow to practice some 1:1 correspondence. All you need are some dice and building blocks. Let the little ones roll their dice, count out the number of blocks corresponding to the number on their die. Let them stack up the blocks to build a tower as they roll the dice each time.


7. Hungry for Fish - Number Game

This is a fun number game from education.com.  

Things you will need:

Multi-coloured construction paper Scissors Hole punch Magnet Metal paper clips Dowel or Small pieces of sticks String Strong adhesive  

How to go about it:

Cut out fish shapes from the construction paper. Write a  number from 1 to 10 on each fish. Make a hole near the mouth of each fish. Insert a paper clip through each hole.  Make a fishing rod by tying the string to the end of the dowel or stick. Glue the magnet to the end of the string and let it dry.

Spread out all the fish on the table so that the numbers are clearly visible. Tell the children, “I’m hungry for a number 6 fish!” Get them to lower the rod on the fish and reel it in. Repeat with other numbers.


Related Links:

8 Circle Time Activities for Preschoolers

4 Easy Science Experiments for Preschoolers


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