One activity that is a wonderful math lesson for preschoolers is called "A New Kind of Basket Ball". For this activity, line up five baskets or bins in front of the children and label them with the numbers one through five. These number labels should not only have the written number digit, it should also have dots that represent the corresponding number. Place fifteen balls in front of the children as well. Ask them to put the right amount of balls into each basket; one ball should be in the basket with the number one on it and so on. This activity teaches math appropriately to preschoolers. Children not only need to experience math with concrete objects but also visually and symbolically through abstract activities. The concrete objects in this activity are the balls. The balls represent materials that the children can see and touch and use to visualize and verbalize their thoughts. The number labels on the baskets represent visualization. The children should be given illustrations or pictures that represent the concept you are teaching them. The dot on the number one card, two dots on the number two card, and so on, illustrates each number for the children. The dots also represent the symbol of the numbers they are working with.
It is amazing the difference in effort you will get from worksheet to worksheet. Granted the amount of effort may vary immensely from year to year depending on the group of students you have. However for the most part, when a worksheet is needed to help drill down a procedure, standard, or lesson, its effectiveness can and will vary. Therefore it is our job as the teacher to make sure that when we need to utilize a worksheet, we provide the students with one that is as inspiring as can be. Times are different these days. Kids are growing up in a world of microwaves, fast food chains, Nintendo, Wifi, iPads, along with a ton of other technical marvels. When I was growing up we didnt have home computers let alone PlayStation to entertain ourselves. Handheld camcorders were barely coming to the retail market by the time I was in 8th grade, but still a long ways away from the YouTube and Facebook arena we now see today. Times were extremely different back then and so was school.
Math concepts can also be reinforced for the children throughout the day on a regular basis. Try placing an enlarged number 12 above the 12 on the clock and label it "lunch time". Label your clock with as many of these types of labels that you can. This will help the children to recognize the way the clock looks when it is on the hour. Make sure to point out the clock when it is time for lunch by saying, "Look at the clock, it is time for lunch. See the little hand is on the 12". You can also incorporate math through songs. If you are learning about monkeys, make it a point to sing, "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". The same concept can also be used when you are reading books to preschoolers. There are plenty of books that incorporate counting into their story and will follow the theme you are teaching. Math is a concept that children will have to use for the rest of their lives and that will be continuously taught in school. By starting off their education with fun math activities, you can get them started with math the right way.