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Everyday Math

Math is everywhere - it's just a matter of opening our eyes and identifying what we see. As teachers of young children, we have the challenge and the wonderful opportunity to expose children to mathematical concepts. Creating situations that lend themselves to hands-on math manipulation can excite and stimulate our youngsters' minds.

We know that young children respond best to math activities that are concrete and that they learn through play and exploration.

Below you will find pictures and examples of math manipulatives that help build a good math foundation. Many of these materials promote both individual and cooperative play. Many other common math materials should be part of an early childhood classroom and are easy to collect - see side bar.

There are five math strands supported by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). These strands are infused in the math curriculum throughout grades Pre-K to 12!

Number Sense & Operations
Algebraic Thinking
Geometry & Spatial Sense
Data Analysis & Probability

Number Sense & Operations

jar of magnetic numbers and shapes
set of unifix cubes
container of plastic teddy bear counter toys
box of plastic toy keys

Magnetic numbers and counters

Unifix cubes

Teddy bear size & color counters

Counting keys

Algebraic Thinking

make a pattern puzzle in a box box of unifix cubes pat and penny children's big book box of attribute blocks

Make a Pattern Puzzle Set

Unifix cubes

"Pat & Penny", a story about patterns

Attribute blocks

Geometry & Spatial Sense

box of attribute blocks two geoboard toys tangram board toys tangram pieces

Attribute blocks


Tangram boards



two hourglass style timers an assortment of gallon, quart, pint sized containers an assortment of liquid measuging cups box of unifix cubes


Gallon, 1/2 gallon, quart, pint, 1/2 pint containers

Liquid measuring cups set

Unifix cubes

Data Analysis & Probability

children adding word cards to the question of the day poster pair of small dice large chart with children's names and tally marks Ablenet's All Turn It Spinner

"Question of the Day" and other graphs

Dice and other number generators


All-Turn-It Spinner and other spinners (random choice generators)


Math for Pre-K power point document
Math for Pre-K Text only version word

Pre-K math skills checklist pdf document

Suggested Math Materials pdf document


Materials to collect for an enriched math classroom:

Mixable, measurable, pourable and explorable materials to use with measuring cups, funnels and droppers like:







Materials to support mathematic instruction in other strands include:



Kitchen timers


Number generators (dice)

Clocks (digital and numeric)

Coins & bills

Memory Game



Rulers, yard sticks, meter sticks

Decks of large playing cards