This ice cream math is a sweet addition to your summer activities for preschoolers and kindergarten kids. Of course, you can really incorporate the ice cream counting activity into your plans any time of the year!
I love that you’re able to make this math invitation with simple materials you already have on-hand. Or you can use the ice cream math printable I made. Either way, your students can practice a variety of early math skills with this low-prep, engaging idea!
Related: Free Preschool Printables
Make sure you request the free printable via the form near the bottom of this post! Even if you can easily put this ice cream activity together with a few craft materials, it’s still nice to have the printable option, right?
Ice Cream Math
Below, I’ll share how we’ve used the ice cream activity. But please know that you and your students can change things up as you see fit! Just make sure you tell me all about it in the comments below.
How to Prep the Summer Math Fun
This is a super simple activity to put together! First, gather all the supplies you’ll need. Here’s what we used (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post) :
- Brown construction paper
- Black permanent marker
- Pompoms of various colors and sizes
- Free ice cream math printable (optional)
Related: Math Activities for Preschoolers
Once you have the materials, it’s time to put the sweet math invitation together for your students. Here’s what to do:
- If you’re using the printable, print the numbered cones. Otherwise, make them by cutting small triangles out of brown construction paper and writing numbers on them.
- Next, laminate the numbered cones.
- Finally, place pompoms and cone numbers on a tray. Spice things up by adding some kid-friendly tongs!
And now you’re ready for the kids to dive into the math activity!
How to Use the Ice Cream Cone Math
Call your students over and explain the ice cream math setup to them. Tell the kids they’re ice cream mathematicians, making ice cream orders based on the numbered cones. Show them how to use the tongs to move them pompoms if needed.
The first time we did this, my students jumped right into it! One of the kid decided she wanted to start with ice cream cones 1 through 10 from the get-go. She grabbed all the numbers and lined them up in order, then set to work making her ice cream orders. She tried to see if she could pick up all the pompoms she needed at one time. That worked well until she got to number eight. Then she had to settle for adding the pompoms a few at a time. Once she was done, she asked me to “make sure to take a picture for my dad” before she cleaned up. Can you tell she was proud of her work?!
Related: Ice Play Activities
Another one of my ladies wanted to tackle numbers 11 to 20. I helped her put those numbers in order, talking about how the numbers are formed and such. Then she set about adding the pompom “ice cream scoops” to each of those cones! I just loved watching her look of concentration.
More Ways to Play and Explore
While some students will be meticulous about the ice cream math fun, moving in an orderly fashion But others might not, and that’s okay!
I had some children sort all of the pompoms by color first. Then they chose random numbers, one at a time. They used the tongs and their fingers to make “super tall” ice cream cones with the pompoms. From there, it was making patterned ice cream cones. They seemed to find that last part hysterical. I was definitely entertained, too!
Here are a few more ideas for you:
- Sort all the pompoms by color or size.
- Delve into early addition and subtraction using the numbered cones and pompoms.
- Put the numbers in numerical order before adding the pompoms to the cones.
- Place the pompom “scoops” out in bunches. Challenge the children to match the numbered cones to the correct number of scoops.
What are Kids Learning with Ice Cream Math?
As I mentioned earlier, this was a very simple activity to put together. As I’m fond of mentioning, sometimes the simple activities can yield the most learning. Here are some of the early math concepts (and more!) our pompom ice cream math touched on:
- One-to-one correspondence
- Numeral recognition
- Ordering numerals
- Fine motor skills
- Color identifications
Not too bad for a low-prep, easy-to-setup math activity, right?
More Ice Cream Activities for Preschoolers
If the ice cream math activity is a hit with your students, they might like these ideas, too:
- Ice Cream Play Date
- Gross Motor Ice Cream Cone Race
- Ice Cream Sensory Bin
- Printable Ice Cream Cone Patterns
- Ice Cream Cone Measurement Cards
- How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag
Do you have any fun ice cream plans? If so, let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to grab the free printable a little further down.
Ice Cream Lesson Plans
Save time with done-for-you early childhood resources from Preschool Teacher 101. Our ice cream lesson plan pack is a great place to start. It comes with a weekly overview, suggested books, detailed daily plans, whole group activities, small group lessons, center ideas, and related printables. Click on the image below to get it:
You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Free Printable Ice Cream Math
This free printable is available to members of Fun-A-Day’s (free!) email community. If that’s you, add your email to the form below to have the download link sent to your inbox. If you’re not a member yet, you can join us by adding your information to the same form. Then you’ll receive the ice cream math printable as a welcome gift.
Originally posted May 2016.