Count and sort toy cars to strengthen his math skills.

To keep your pre-k child engaged and focused on the educational task at hand, incorporate a transportation theme into an interactive math lesson. Vehicle toys are a valuable educational medium for this age group, as these items are durable, entertaining and easy to sort and count. Once you connect the math lesson with real-life scenarios for your kiddo, he’ll be more likely to apply these skills during regular play.


Place a collection of toy cars, trucks, fire engines, police cars, construction vehicles, tow trucks, plastic boats and little airplanes in a plastic bin for this multifaceted math lesson. Have one to five of each type of vehicle. Different sizes and colors work well for this. The plastic bin acts as a handy storage device when he’s done playing with them.


Use the bin of vehicles for a lesson on categorizing. Explain to your preschooler that he should sort the items according to the type of vehicle, creating one pile for each kind. To make more distinct sections for categorizing, use masking tape to create various shapes on the carpet to act as parking areas for the vehicles.

Counting and Comparing

Have your child line each group of vehicles up smallest to biggest. He should count how many vehicles are in each group and then count how many vehicles there are total. If he can’t count that high, you can offer assistance, as needed. After all are counted, you should pick two groups at a time and ask him, “Between these two groups, which has more vehicles?”

Adding and Subtracting

Your child should point to one group of vehicles. Offer a scenario where some of the vehicles have to leave the group. If he chose the police cars, you can say “There was an accident in the square car parking lot, so two police cars had to go investigate.” He should then take two of those police cars and drive them over to the car area. Now he should count how many are in each of those two groups. Put the vehicles in their designated groups after he has counted them. Have him choose another group. If it’s the boats, tell him “Three boats wanted to see an airplane show at the rectangle lot.” He must sail the three boats to the airplane area, count each group and then he can have fun flying the planes before landing them for another adding and subtracting scenario.