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Are you looking for hands-on ways to teach preschool math? Discover seven hands-on ideas for teaching math with marshmallows!
Teach Preschool Math
1. Count to Ten and Twenty
Pull out a bag of marshmallows from the cabinet. Lay ten out in a line and ask your child to count the marshmallows!
Remember to regroup the marshmallows. This simply means to clump the marshmallows in groups rather than lines. I’ve had a few kids who could carefully count in a line, but struggled to count marshmallows in a group.
After a few minutes, lay out the marshmallows in a line again. Now let your child know you’re going to count backwards from ten. As you count, your kid is to eat the marshmallows!
You should have an excited preschooler at this point!
Once your child is skilled at counting to 10, practice counting to 20.
Remember that some kids take to counting like a duck takes to water while other kids need time and practice before they master the skill.
2. Use a Hundred Chart
First print this forest themed hundred chart. Now count up to 100 with your child and lay a marshmallow on each square as you count.
After counting to 100, gather the marshmallows into groups of ten. Ask your child how many groups of ten you have. Your preschooler should count 10 groups of 10 marshmallows.
It’s the perfect time to introduce your kid to counting by ten! 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc. Count by 10 a couple times, and then ask your child to fill the hundred chart with marshmallows again.
Count to 100 and let your child eat the marshmallows as they count!
3. Counting by 2’s
You’re going to need toothpicks in addition to marshmallows for this activity.
Pull out 10 marshmallows and 5 toothpicks. Pair the marshmallows by sticking one marshmallow on each end of the toothpick. Now ask your child to tell you how many marshmallows are on each toothpick.
They should answer two.
Count the marshmallows individually and then teach your child to count by twos.
It helps to teach your kids the chant:
Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? /your child’s name/!
Once your kid is counting by 2’s to ten, start counting to 20. You’ll need to make a few more marshmallow pairs though.
4. Adding and Subtracting
To introduce my children to addition and subtraction, I placed 5 marshmallows on a plate.
We then counted the marshmallows.
Eat Subtract two marshmallows. Count the marshmallows. Add 3 marshmallows. Count the marshmallows. Eat Subtract 4 marshmallows.
I keep this up as long as my child is enjoying the game as it’s a wonderful way to get kids to conceptualize what’s happening when we add or subtract.
5. Make Marshmallow Numbers
Another fun activity is to make marshmallow numbers! Grab a copy of this printable farm themed number sense activity page and print it up!
Except instead of tracing the big 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 at the top, you’re going to lay marshmallows on the numbers.
Once you’ve traced the numbers with marshmallows, count to see how many marshmallows it takes to create each number. You’ll find it takes a varying amount!
Marshmallows are a fun and delicious math manipulative to teach preschoolers early math. You can count by ones. You can count by twos. And you can introduce addition and subtraction in the most conceptual way possible!
Have you used marshmallows to teach preschool math?