The preschool children have recently been exploring the colorful wooden spools in our math/fine motor center. Based on that interest, I set up a simple “challenge” using those spools. This number activity for preschoolers is very simple to set up, but works on a variety of early learning skills.
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number activity for preschoolers
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I had a few objectives for this fine motor math activity:
- Number identification (specifically 6 to 10)
- One-to-one correspondence
- Fine motor skills
What we did
I set this number activity up like an invitation to play and explore. I placed the numbers and the spools on a simple woven tray, with the tongs next to it. As the children came into the classroom, a few of them were intrigued by the set up and jumped in. They used the tongs to pick up the spools, transferring the spools from the tray to the tabletop. They continued transferring the spools back and forth for quite some time. Some created their own challenge – to see how many spools they could pick up at once (the record was three, in case you’re wondering).
I came over after a bit and pointed out the magnetic numbers. Some of the children could identify the numbers, while others are working on that. We counted them, traced them, mixed them up, and reordered them. From there, I decided to challenge the kiddos to build structures using the correct number of spools. A few of us used the mini tongs to manipulate the spools into towers, while most of the kids used their fingers. Their fine motor skills were worked on either way! We took turns building mini towers based on the different numbers we had. One of the children took to making his towers, then counting the spools and asking me to help him make the right number.
Wooden spools aren’t the only items that would work for this number challenge! Foam blocks, small wooden blocks, cork blocks, etc. would all be great alternatives – anything the children can stack. Additionally, magnetic numbers aren’t necessary either. Calendar number cards, simple number flashcards, or even a white board to write the numbers on would be fine!
Do you have a favorite number activity for preschoolers? I’m always looking for more ideas!
More #TeachECE number activities
Be sure to check out the rest of the Early Childhood Education team:
Fine Motor Number Building Challenge by Fun-A-Day
Acorn and Squirrel Clip Cards by Rainy Day Mum
Candy Cane Counting Sticks in Preschool by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
Numbers Prewriting Activity by Tiny Tots Adventures
Free Printable Counting Game by Life Over C’s