My preschooler recently turned five, and his newfound maturity caused him to start asking to do math. He is not eager to learn to read, but math is something he really wants to learn! I decided to start at the beginning with a preschool math activity on one-to-on correspondence. This skill allows children to understand that numbers aren't just meaningless symbols, but that they represent a specific quantity.
When my daughter wanted to learn this, I used large numbers on chart paper and dot stickers. She stuck one dot sticker on the number one, two on number two, etc. But I knew that doing something a bit more elaborate would be perfect for my son, who also needs sensory activities to keep his mind and body functioning well. I ordered some paint pallets on Amazon and realized they were the perfect tool for teaching this skill. They had 10 little circles, were inexpensive, and have another function in our homeschool (we are all into painting lately, but that's another post!) So voila: the new fan favorite, pompoms and paint pallet math.
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Preschool Math Activity With Paint Pallets
The center well is perfect for number cards. I printed out circular number cards that would fit into the center of each pallet. (You can get my cards through the sign-up form below.)
Then, I cut the cards out. I placed a few of them in the center of three of the paint pallets.
Pretty pompoms that I got on Etsy from Cutest Little Garlands were perfect for this activity! I scattered them around the table and let my little guy pick them up using big toddler tweezers. This adds an extra little bonus skill for his pencil grip needs!
Playing With Pallets and Pompoms
After the setup process, which happened while all three children were upstairs and playing together nicely (miraculously!), I invited my son to match up the number on the pallet with the correct number of pompoms. But of course, he had to place the pompoms there with tweezers, which also helps him build the muscles that he needs for handwriting and for proper pencil grip.
Since I only had three pallets to devote to this (the other three are filled with paint from working projects!) I switched out the numbers once he was done with them. If I had a set of 10 pallets, I would be able to set up all the pallets with numbers at once. That really didn't make a huge difference in the activity, though! When he was done, either his big sister or I checked to see if he had the right number of pompoms on the pallet, and then we changed out the number.
Simple and fun! Click the image for the circle cards.