Keeping with our Summer theme, we created a Summer mathematics tray with “ice cream” for our preschoolers! The direct aim of this activity is to practice counting; however, it also encourages the development of fine motor skills, cutting skills, and colour matching.

The ice cream mathematics tray is simple to put together using everyday craft materials, and is adaptable for both toddlers and preschoolers.

For younger children, you may only wish to use five or ten cones; whereas, for older preschoolers, you may want to use 50 ice cream cones or more! The only limitation is the number of pom poms available!

What You Need

• Work tray
• Tongs
• Scissors
• Pom poms
• Small bowl
• Marker
• Printed ice cream cones (you could also create your own from triangular pieces of paper)

What You Do

1. Lay out the all the materials on a work tray
2. Cut out as many ice cream cones as desired, number them, and place them on the tray
3. Present the activity to the child in silence, allowing them to observe without distraction
4. Use tongs to grasp the pom poms and place the correct number of pom poms above the labelled ice cream cones
5. Reset and invite the child to work with the activity
6. Follow the child’s lead and allow them to complete the activity independently
7. Guide the child through the activity if they ask for help
8. Encourage the child to complete appropriate learning extensions
9. Pack away

Learning Extensions

• Invite the child to cut out the ice cream cones on their own to encourage scissor cutting practice
• Add flavor labels to match the colour of pom poms to add a language element to the activity
• Encouraging colour matching to add an extra sensorial element to the activity
• Increase the number of cones and pom poms to challenge older children
• Place the ice cream cones in non-numerical order i.e. 5, 3, 11 to challenge older children