5 Cool Math Games for Preschoolers that Don't Feel Like School
It’s true – there will be a time for times tables. But when it comes to teaching little ones early math skills, incorporating open-ended play into lessons creates both a positive association between play and numbers and helps to develop other skills alongside addition and subtraction – like creative thinking, logic & reasoning and social-emotional development.
We’ll share five of our all-time favourite math games below, and how to play them with both physical and digital tools (because let’s be real – we don’t always have time to get into a Pinterest-perfect craft-o-thon.) So stash the abacus, hide the workbooks and get ready to make math games part of your daily play ritual!
5. Leaning Tower of Whatever-You-Can-Find!
Math skill developed : Counting up with numbers
Other skills developed: Hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, listening comprehension
Physical play: This fun little game can be set up with whatever you have on hand – be it pebbles at the beach, popsicle sticks in your craft drawer or blocks in the toy bin. Set a timer on your phone (keep it a surprise!) and ask your young mathematician to stack as many objects as they can. When the timer goes off, help them count the number of objects in their tower. This junior version of Jenga is heaps of fun, and builds both basic counting skills and fine motor skills – win win!
Digital play: Set your timer as above, but this time open up one of our Playset apps in– try stacking animals in or , or cars in ! When the timer goes off, have them count the stack they created – how high can they go?
4. Sandwich Stack
Math skills developed: Geometry – Positions (Top, bottom, under, over, left, right, etc.)
Other skills developed: Communication – Following directions, Fine motor skills
Digital play: Head up to the 4th floor in, where your little one can play sandwich artist and you can play customer – and a customer with very particular tastes, at that! Direct your petite sandwich artist to move the lettuce to the top, or the ice cream to the bottom. They’ll get lots of practice with geometric positions, and work on their listening skills as well! (What parent isn’t into that?!)
Physical play: Try the same role-play game as above, but with plastic food toys, cut-out images from your grocery flyer or real ingredients. (We’re not responsible for any food fights that occur!)
3. Next Stop! Number Game
Math skills developed: Number recognition, creating a, learning numbers out of order
Other skills developed: Gross motor skills, spatial awareness
Physical play: Place numbered tape going from “1” to “10” on the floor – you can spread it out for bigger kids or kids who love to run and jump. Grab a few car toys (or just use the power of your imagination) - you’ll be playing as the operator, and they’ll be the bus driver. When you call out a “stop number”, they’ll need to run over to that number on the floor to pick up their passengers. Once they’re there, have them repeat the number back to you!
Digital play: Cuddle up with your child and ask them to openin Sago Mini World. They can be the bus driver, and you’ll play as the operator. Ask them to pick up a certain number of characters along the route, and drop them off at a location – they can count up from 1 as they load them onto the bus, and give you a final tally once they reach your destination.
2. Fill ‘er Up
Math skills developed: Measurement – holds more or less, Counting up
Other skills developed: Fine motor skills, patience and focus, spatial awareness
Physical play: Bring a plastic measuring cup and a few different sized pail and buckets along for bathtime. Have them fill up the pails with the measuring cups, counting as they go. Ask them questions as they play – Which pail holds more water? Which one holds less? Are any about the same? To make this even more fun, bring youralong for a wild, watery ride!
Digital play: You can create the same play pattern and learning outcomes using our Playset apps, like! Drag over the tractor, and ask your child to fill it up with various objects. They can try stuffing it with as many animals as they can, and then switch over to fruits and veggies. Ask them if they could fit more animals or veggies in, and ask them why they think that is.
Math skills developed: Geometry – Compare same shapes
Other skills developed: Fine motor skills, spatial awareness
Digital play: Open upin – you’ll play as a very picky gnome who’s building their dream home, and your little one can play as the contractor! Request certain shapes for your house – you can ask for a triangular or square room, a circular or square window, a rectangular fence and so on. This builds geometric prowess alongside a real sense of accomplishment – who doesn’t love building something with their own hands (or, in this case, fingers)?
Physical play: Try the same game as above, but with physical blocks!
Looking for math games that are a bit more ready made? Check outand in