Rainforest Math Activities for Preschoolers

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Preschoolers have a natural wonder about the world around them. When asked about the rainforest, preschoolers might already know that monkeys and birds live in the tall trees of the rainforest. To expand on your preschoolers’ knowledge of the rainforest, bring some math into the equation with these fun activities.

1 Number Sequencing Cards

Cut five sheets of white construction paper in half to make 10 blank cards. Write the numbers “1” through “10” on the blank cards in the top left corner. Glue pictures of rainforest animals on each card. For example, glue one jaguar on the “1” card, two scarlet macaws on the “2” card and three monkeys on the “3” card. Continue with the rest of the cards, including rainforest animals such as sloths, anteaters, red-eyed tree frogs, piranhas, boa constrictors, bats and butterflies. Laminate the cards before use. Invite preschoolers to put the cards in order from one to 10.

2 Animal Sizes

Print out pictures of rainforest animals and glue them on sheets of construction paper. Include pictures of spiders, frogs, butterflies, iguanas, turtles, bats, monkeys, jaguars, alligators and gorillas. Laminate the cards. Have preschoolers sort the cards into groups of small, medium and large animals. Ask preschoolers why they choose to place certain animals in certain groups.

3 Rainforest Guessing Jar

Place gummy worms inside a clear plastic jar or container with a closing lid. Have preschoolers guess how many rainforest worms are in the jar and write their guesses on the board. Count the number of rainforest worms together. Were any students close in their guesses? Fill the jar with different rainforest-themed items each day such as leaves, tissue paper flowers, gummy fish, candy butterflies, plastic frogs or anything else that will fit into the jar.

4 Ladybug Addition

Help preschoolers paint large ladybugs on sheets of 12-inch by 18-inch construction paper. Have students add black dots on their ladybugs. Once the pictures dry, invite two preschoolers to hang their pictures on the board. Ask the class, “How many dots are on these two ladybugs?” Allow student to count or add the number of dots. Have students share how they got their answers. Switch out the drawings and repeat with two different ladybug pictures.

5 Pattern Block Snakes

Have students use pattern blocks to make long snakes around the floor or table. Encourage students to create a repeating pattern such as blue diamond, green triangle, blue diamond, green triangle and so on. How long can students make their snakes?

6 Rainforest Graph

On a large sheet of chart paper, write “Our Favorite Rainforest Animals” at the top. Then create a graph six columns wide by 10 rows tall. At the bottom of each column, glue a picture of a rainforest animal such as jaguar, monkey, alligator, butterfly, macaw and red-eyed tree frog. Have each preschooler color a square above her favorite rainforest animal choice. See which animal gets the most votes and the least votes. How many votes did the macaw receive?

7 Lily Pad Math

Cut 10 lily pad shapes out of green construction paper. Write the numbers “1” through “10” on each lily pad. Laminate the lily pads for durability. Place lily pads in a math center along with plastic rainforest frogs. If you don’t have access to plastic frogs, use laminated pictures of frogs. Have preschoolers choose a lily pad, then place the correct amount of frogs on each lily pad.

Shannon Cathie has been writing for children, teens and adults since 2004. Her work has appeared in "Highlights for Children," "Ask!" magazine, "The Christian Science Monitor" newspaper, "Writing for Dollars" and "Northwest Baby and Child." She is also the author of several children's books about the human body. Cathie holds elementary licensure and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the University of Colorado.