Preschool Math Center Activities

Explore math at center time—no special materials needed.

Using These Activities in Your Classroom

  • Developed with teachers and for teachers of early childhood classrooms, these math center activities are easy to set up, fun to do, and require low to moderate teacher involvement.
  • After teachers demonstrate the activity, students can do the activity independently or in groups (we offer tips to promote peer collaboration).
  • Teachers can search for activities that align with their objectives for math content, and many activities provide prompts for teachers to make connections between different areas of math content.

 

All activities use common classroom materials or printables, including:

  • Counters: counting bears, counting chips, other counters, or Unifix® cubes
  • Counting Tools: number lines or five and ten frames
  • Turn-Taking Tools: number die, spinners, or cards
  • Pattern Blocks: pattern blocks, attribute blocks, or square color tiles
  • Building Blocks: wooden blocks, foam blocks, sticky blocks, or Legos
  • Balance: measurement scale

 

  • Every activity includes ideas to make it easier and harder, and to differentiate based on students’ needs. Some have themes and all have conversation starters to deepen math learning.
  • The activities are designed to be used multiple times during the year. We include ideas on how to modify the activities to keep them interesting and challenging for students. You can also use these as ideas or examples for creating your own activities..

Using These Activities in Your Classroom

  • Developed with teachers and for teachers of early childhood classrooms, these math center activities are easy to set up, fun to do, and require low to moderate teacher involvement.
  • After teachers demonstrate the activity, students can do the activity independently or in groups (we offer tips to promote peer collaboration).
  • Teachers can search for activities that align with their objectives for math content, and many activities provide prompts for teachers to make connections between different areas of math content.

 

All activities use common classroom materials or printables, including:

  • Counters: counting bears, counting chips, other counters, or Unifix® cubes
  • Counting Tools: number lines or five and ten frames
  • Turn-Taking Tools: number die, spinners, or cards
  • Pattern Blocks: pattern blocks, attribute blocks, or square color tiles
  • Building Blocks: wooden blocks, foam blocks, sticky blocks, or Legos
  • Balance: measurement scale

 

  • Every activity includes ideas to make it easier and harder, and to differentiate based on students’ needs. Some have themes and all have conversation starters to deepen math learning.
  • The activities are designed to be used multiple times during the year. We include ideas on how to modify the activities to keep them interesting and challenging for students. You can also use these as ideas or examples for creating your own activities..

Activity Directory

Geometry & Spatial Thinking

Number, Counting, & Cardinality

The Math Center Activities were developed by the DREME Vanderbilt University team led by Dale Farran and Kelley Durkin and composed of Danielle Davis, Rachel Kasul, Luke Rainey, and Katie Roland. Eric Dearing, Lindsay Clements, Ariadne Nelson, Julie Kim, Alden Burnham, and Alexia Kovatsis at Boston College also contributed to the creation of these resources. The authors are grateful to their collaborating teachers in Nashville and Boston.