Fish in a Pond preschool math activity- we use this for counting, estimating, and shape recognition. Love that it uses simple dyed pasta fish as the manipulative!

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This week we have the honor of judging the #earlylearning101 challenge on Instagram and the theme is SHAPES (not familiar with the challenge? It’s hosted by Early Learning 101‘s Instagram account where every week a new educational theme is chosen. Guest judges choose from all the contributions and feature four outstanding ideas each week! Come on over to Instagram and join the Early Learning community with me!). I love these challenges because it gives me a chance to get creative and make up some new activities for my kids. I decided that this week I would use our handy dyed pasta fish and let my kids fill in different pond shapes- the great thing is this simple activity led to so much learning and fun!

Let’s go through the supply and preparation directions before going into the learning activities, though.

Supplies

  • Pasta fish (we dyed ours with alcohol and food coloring)
  • Blue construction paper
  • Scissors

I started by cutting various shapes from the blue construction paper- these became our “ponds” for the fish. I didn’t actually have to do anything to the pasta since we’ve had them for like a year now 😉 (if you are dying pasta for the first time don’t be intimidated, follow these simple steps– you can actually get them done in less than a minute!)
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Next I invited my kids to outline the shape ponds with fish. If that seems to simple for your munchkins, extend the activity by asking your kids to estimate how many fish it would take to outline or fill the shapes. You can also challenge them to use the fish to make patterns in the shape ponds.

Fish in a Pond preschool math activity- we use this for counting, estimating, and shape recognition. Love that it uses simple dyed pasta fish as the manipulative!

During lunch my kids wanted talk all about the fish and pond activity again, so I took it out (while they were eating) and we counted and talked about shapes some more. It was so nice to have them bring up the activity and give us a chance to expand on it! Together we counted the fish in the ponds, then we added and subtracted fish until they had finished eating. Sometimes homeschooling gets done at odd hours, like in the middle of a meal, but I’m not one to turn down an opportunity to learn (even if that means I put off eating until later!) 🙂

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This activity would pair well with the books One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish or Rainbow Fish. Can you think of any other books or preschool themes this activity would fit into? Leave me out thoughts in the comments below!

Fish in a Pond preschool math activity- we use this for counting, estimating, and shape recognition. Love that it uses simple dyed pasta fish as the manipulative!

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