The domino, a classic toy that has endless uses. Of course, I first purchased a set of dominoes hoping to create epic chain reactions with my kids, only for them to knock them down after I'd get the third domino in line. In playing with these simple toys, lots of mathematical creativity was sparked. Thinking about getting a set? Try these:
Each of these hands on learning games build foundational skills with counting, number recognition, the beginnings of adding, and subitizing. Subitizing is a math skill where kids learn to recognize a quantity quickly by sight. For example, if I quickly showed you 4 fingers than put my hands behind my back, asking you how many fingers that was, that would require you to subitize.
As you try each of these games, remember that learning through play is powerful! It gives small children an active role in their learning and is proven to be more memorable and therefore lasting than doing learning at a desk with an old fashioned pencil and paper.
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Preschool Math Activity #1: Domino "More" Game
This math activity for preschoolers will have them adding, they just don't know it! A play on the classic card game, "War," more is based on the same principles and develops addition skills as well as knowledge of more and less.
Place all the dominoes face down.
Each player picks up 1 domino and determines the sum of both sides.
Which player had more? They get to keep both dominoes.
Was there a tie? Pick again and the person with the higher number keeps all 4 dominoes!
Play until all the dominoes are gone and count each player's total number.
You guessed it, the person with more is the winner!
Preschool Math Activity #2: Domino Parking Lot
Anyone else have a kid obsessed with cars? Beep Beep! We pretended each domino was a car that needed to be parked in it's parking spot. Want this hands on learning game to try with your preschooler? Grab it here totally free!
Play based learning is all about diving into your child's interests in play to help them learn, so cars were a no brainer for us. This game helps preschoolers build foundational math skills like counting, adding, and one to one correspondence (counting one object for every number said).
Print out your domino parking lot.
Place your dominoes face up on the floor.
Count and add the dots on each one.
Park it under the correct sign.
Yell "Beep Beep!" when all the cars have found their correct spots.
Preschool Math Activity #3: Domino Exercise Class
Welcome to Domino Exercise Class!
Place all the dominoes face down in front of you.
Have your child choose an exercise: pushups, squats, jumping jacks, leg kicks.
Have them turn over a domino and do that exercise that many times.
Take turns picking the exercise and being the PE teacher.
Preschool Math Activity #4: Domino Snacktivity
Hands on learning...best done with snacks! Snacks always make learning high interest. Try this math activity with your preschooler and see them resist the temptation to dive right into snack! Just kidding, I usually allow snacking during learning activities. Otherwise, the kids will be asking to have "just one" the WHOLE time.
Pick a domino and determine the sum of the two sides.
Using snacks recreate the two addends that equal the sum. For example, in a domino with 3 and 4, put 3 snacks under the 3 and 4 under the 4.
Name the equation represented by the snacks and the domino. 3+4 = 7
This play based learning activity allows kids to play with food to create alternative representations of equations. In this math activity your preschooler will be increasing number sense, building knowledge of addition equations, and experiment with decomposing numbers. Who knew such a simple activity could pack in so much learning.
Preschool Math Activity #5: Domino Number of the Day
Pick a domino, any domino! Congrats, you've just picked the domino number of the day. Now get moving in this out of the box, hands on learning experience.
Pick the domino number of the day. The total on your domino is the number for the scavenger hunt.
Move around the house and find all the ways you can make that number!
Create a collection with all the different ways you've made your number of the day: drawings, fingers, writing the number, a collection of legos, toys, shoes.
By creating this counting collection you're developing your preschooler's understanding that a number can be made in so many different ways. As they learn through playing the Number of the Day Domino, they're building number sense, decomposing numbers, and counting in lots of out of the box ways. This open ended game can be played over and over, just pick a new domino tomorrow.