Play dough number mats are a great tool for parents and teachers to use with young children. They may be some of the first math games you do with your children. They will get them excited for learning numbers and many early math concepts.
What is a Number Mat?
A number mat helps introduce math concepts to your young child in a variety of ways. These mats, for example, help with number identification, counting practice, visual representation of numbers, and number word recognition. All of these skills fostered with our number mats are necessary for number sense.
Number sense isn’t a term that many parents are familiar with. However, it is an extremely important concept for all children to master. Number sense is the ability to think flexibly and fluently about numbers – both in the classroom and in the real world.
More plainly, number sense means to be able to understand and relate numbers. As children learn new math concepts, their number sense is fostered. Strong number sense skills allow kids to:
- Complete math equations mentally
- Understand how to break apart numbers (ex. knowing that 4+1, 3+2, and 5+0 all equal 5)
- Relate numbers in real life situations (ex. I have $5 and my mom gives me $3. How much money do I have in all?)
- Grasping a range of mathematical concepts, including more/less, greater than/less than, and equal.
Number sense is taught to children through exploration. It’s a life skill fostered through years of development in math. Any fun math activity you can find for your kids will help build their thinking about numbers!
Are These Playdough Number Mats for Pre-K or Kindergarten?
These number mats can be used for children in both Pre-K and Kindergarten. They make great classroom activities but can also be used at home. Maybe a fun summer activity between the grades to keep your child engaged with learning math concepts?
Activities done with these playdough mats should be tailored to your child’s development level and not necessarily their school grade. Younger children can trace the numbers and words with their fingers, while more advanced children may be able to trace them with a pencil or crayon (or a dry erase marker if you laminate them).
What Number Skills Should a Child Have by Pre-K?
The more your children know going into to Pre-Kindergarten, the better. They will be more prepared for the activities and lessons they will be exposed to at school. Some of the skills you can begin to introduce for Pre-K include:
- Number recognition from 0-10
- Counting by ones to 10
- Using their fingers for counting
- Tracing numbers
- 2-D shape recognition (we love these 2D Shape Mats)
- Introduction to patterns
What Math Skills Should a Child Have by Kindergarten?
By the end of the school year, kindergartners should be able to:
- Count to 100
- Write numbers 0-10
- Recognize number words
- Spell number words
- Adding and subtracting up to 10
- 3-D shape recognition (cube, sphere, cone, etc.)
- Recognize and create different patterns
What Skills Do Kids Practice With These Printable Number Mats?
Our free printable playdough mats support a number of essential skills your children need at an early age. They teach number recognition, both in the digit and word form. They also teach children how to count with their fingers to produce numbers 0-10.
Early math concepts are also introduced with these mats. The included number line can help your children start to see each number’s relation to another. They can practice counting up and down the number line.
Fine motor skills are also encouraged when playing with our mats. Filling the tens frame with playdough shapes requires dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
How Does Play Dough Help Learning?
There are a number of developmental benefits attributed to playdough. It can be used as a great addition for learning both at home and in the classroom.
Playdough helps build fine motor skills in children learning to work with their hands and fingers. Color recognition is also fostered with the use of different cups of the dough.
Shape recognition can also be a fun activity that also improves listening skills. Give your child a shape to make with the playdough and discuss other items that are the same shape.
Combining playdough with the printable number mats furthers your child’s ability to play and learn in the same activity. Learning with playdough itself can be fun and productive. Including the play mats is just an extra layer for introducing and fostering early math concepts.
How Do You Play Playdough Without Making a Mess?
Kids love playdough as much as parents worry about the mess it will make in the home. Don’t worry, mom and dad, there are many ways you can safeguard your home to reduce mess with sensory play!
It’s best to place your kids at a sturdy table when playing with playdough. A small kid-sized table is perfect for this, but the dining room table works too. Keep them in a room with hard surface flooring to avoid playdough getting stuck in carpet.
We like using playdough trays to keep the mess at bay. They are perfectly sized for the printable number mats we play with. You may also want to lay down newspaper to keep your surface completely safe.
How Do You Extend Activities with These Number Play Dough Mats?
If your child is ready, they may enjoy using these number mats for further math concepts. They can represent numbers with playdough shapes and then add and subtract. If they can, you can go above the number 10 for more challenging fun.
While using these mats, further learning opportunities can come from the conversations you have with the children. Ask them questions about colors or to make a particular shape (or even something fun like apples or Xs!) as they are filling in the boxes.
You can also use these playmats with materials other than playdough. Kinetic sand, lego blocks, craft pom poms, and small erasers all work well.
Easy Prep Materials Needed For Using These Play Dough Number Mats
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- Number Mats PDF File (available in full color & black and white versions)
- Sensory Trays — I love how these have high sides to contain mess!
- Play Dough and/or Math Manipulatives
- Dry Erase Marker
Curious on how to make dough to play with? Try out one of our play dough recipes!
Printable Activity: Playdough Numbers Counting Mats for Preschoolers
These 0-10 number playdough mats are an easy to prep number activity that is perfect for kids. They come with tens frame, number line, number words, and more.
These play dough mats are a fun way for kids to explore math and perfect for working on number sense, numeral recognition, and counting. Simply print, laminate, and play.
Looking for more playdough mats? Find all the play dough mats we have shared on site here.
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