5 Ways to Teach Preschool with Kitchen Math

Preschoolers adore baking, cooking, and mixing up a batch of cookies to eat. I know my own kids never get enough of the kitchen, which makes kitchen math perfect for this age group!

Preschoolers adore baking, cooking, and mixing up a batch of cookies to eat. I know my own kids never get enough of the kitchen, which makes kitchen math perfect for this age group!

Kitchen Math

1. Counting

The first place to begin is counting. Kids can’t begin to learn adding and subtracting until they can count to 10.

Begin by counting the cups of flour you add to the bowl, teaspoons of baking soda, and cups of milk. Don’t forget to count the number of eggs you add and how many times you stir the batter.

When your child can easily count to 10, start counting chocolate chips, marshmallows, and beans. First aim for counting to 20 and making groups of tens. Then teach your child to count by tens to 100.

Just remember to count anything and everything in the kitchen!

2. Adding

Once counting comes easily, introduce adding. Just remember that many preschoolers are still concrete thinkers and need to see what’s being added.

Case in point: I’ve argued with a preschooler about whether or not 1 + 1 = 2 or 3. A year later, the child thought the discussion silly. Of course 1 + 1 is 2!

This simply means the child isn’t ready for math without visual aids. So encourage your preschooler to add two eggs.

There’s one broken egg in the bowl. If we add another, how many will we have?

Don’t limit your adding to eggs, add flour, sugar, and chocolate chips.  Add anything that’s going into your mixing bowl!

On the other side of the coin, I’ve had a preschooler who adored math.

He’d exchange math problems in the car with me and we never argued about whether or not 1 + 1 = 2. Instead I was tossing back questions such as 18+5 and getting the right answer.

Both kids were normal preschoolers. After all, math is like crawling, walking, and talking. Babies learn on their own schedule!

Preschoolers progress in math on their own schedule as well.


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3. Subtracting

Once your child understands the concept of adding, try subtracting. Let me tell you, my kids love subtraction.

How many cookies do you have? Three Eat one. Now how many cookies do you have? Two That’s right, You have 3 cookies, you eat one, and you’re left with 2!

Mommy, can we do it again!!!!

Just remember to be patient. I found most of my kids progressed from needing to act out the subtraction, then answering word problems, before being able to handle the abstract math of 3 – 1 = 2.

4. Fractions

Fractions are best taught in the kitchen! Sandwiches, pies, and pizzas are easily cut into halves, thirds, and quarters.

Begin by teaching your children what a half is. Divide everything you can in half! Chop cookies, celery, carrots, apples, and pears in half.

Once half is solidified, introduce quarters. This concept tends to be easy because kids are used to their sandwiches being cut into quarters. Again chop everything you can find in half.

Eventually move on to thirds, sixths, and eighths. Just remember to move at your child’s pace.

5. Sizes 

Math includes more than counting, adding, subtracting, and fractions. Also teach your preschoolers about sizes in the kitchen. Hand your child the measuring cups and measuring spoons.

Have your child figure out how many tablespoons go into a quarter cup using water.

How many cups go into a pint, a quart, or a gallon? What about quarts into gallons?

Write down your answers on sheet of paper!

Teach preschool math in the kitchen and have a blast. Make cookies, stews, and pies together. Count, add, and subtract while you do so. Introduce fractions and show the different measurements for cups, pints, and quarts. And encourage a love of math from the very beginning.

Do you teach math in the kitchen?


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