The key to success in an early childhood setting is combining play with learning. Nothing captures children’s attention as well as play dough! These play dough number mats allow students to practice various math skills while having fun.
Math in the Preschool Classroom
Children begin the process of learning math far before they set foot in a preschool classroom. They ask questions like “Why does she have more than me?” or “How many cookies can I have?” as naturally as they ask about anything else. Playfully matching their curiosity will help them build math skills for the future.
Some ideas of how to “play” with math may include:
- Promote easy math thinking while playing with things such as these adorable road blocks. Children view this type of activity as simply playing, while in reality, they are beginning to see how shapes fit together. They are sorting blocks by size and shape and counting how many more blocks they need to finish their design.
- Set up dramatic play centers, such as a grocery store, to bring real-life math into the classroom. Most students will be familiar with a grocery store concept, therefore connecting how numbers and counting have a place in everyday life.
- Make it into a game or themed activity. For example, these Halloween activities make kids think they are simply playing with the toys of the season, while in fact, they are practicing sorting, patterning, one-to-one correspondence, and more.
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Play Dough Number Mats$3.00
Combine counting practice, number identification, and fine motor skills with these Play Dough Number Mats. Each one can be laminated and placed in a math center for a quick and easy learning activity.
Roll Out the Fun with Play Dough Number Mats!
Following the students’ excitement for engaging, playful activities, these play dough number mats are a hit in any preschool classroom. Add to that the fact that they are easy to prep and clean up, and they are something no classroom should be without.
Setting up the Space
Thinking ahead is always necessary when working with children, and play dough is no exception! Make sure to address these questions before jumping in:
- Is there a dedicated place for children to use the play dough?
- What are the expectations?
- How will the class store tools and materials?
- Who is responsible for putting materials away?
- What kind of play dough is suitable for the classroom?
Prepare the Materials
With little prep work, these play dough number mats are loved by the students and by teachers. Print, laminate, and add play dough, and this activity is ready to go!
Engaging with the Play Dough Number Mats
Play dough holds a special place in many kids’ hearts. There must be something about the squish and feel that encourages children to create things beyond many adults’ imaginations. Pairing this playful nature with a learning opportunity, such as number recognition and counting, is a match made in heaven.
When demonstrating the mats to a child or a class of children, it is crucial to tailor the activity to the students’ ability level. Younger children may only need a few mats and numbers through 5, while those who have progressed further may enjoy numbers up to 20.
With these mats, students can mold and transform the dough to form the shape of the number shown. This helps them practice recognizing the number and allows them to work those tiny muscles in their hands. They can also create small balls of dough and place them within the tens-frame on each mat. This helps them practice one-to-one correspondence and begin to recognize the structure of a base-10 number system.
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Play Dough is the perfect tool for developing the hand strength and fine motor mussels necessary before young children are able to write!
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No matter the occasion, these play dough number mats are sure to be a hit with students and teachers alike! Have fun playing and learning with your kids.