A fun printable math activity for kids, these Fruit-themed Math Puzzles teach counting, one-to-one correspondence, number sequencing, and matching written representations of numbers with visual and numerical representations – but the kids will just think it’s fun!
Math Puzzles for Kids
I always think that the best ways to approach academic concepts with children is to make them fun!
I’ve previously shared 25 Math Games for Kids, each reinforcing different concepts and using different tactics (sensory, gross motor, etc). Today’s math printable is a portable puzzle game that is perfect for preschoolers through early elementary. Even my 8 year old loved playing with these puzzles with their cute fruit theme and different ways of representing numbers.
While kids will just think that these puzzles are fun, they actually introduce or reinforce several important mathematical concepts:
- Counting – children can count the fruit clip art to figure out which puzzle the picture piece belongs to
- One-to-one Correspondence – while counting, children can tap each picture of fruit with their finger to recognize that each piece of fruit should be counting once (and only once). The purpose of one-to-one correspondence counting is to begin to visually discriminate and recognize the number of objects in small groups without counting, and is the foundation for math problem solving.
- Number Sequencing – children use the skill of rote counting to then build an understanding of how each number relates to others. We start with number ordering – the fixed arrangement of numbers (1, 2, 3…) and then build on it to understand number patterns.
- Matching Different Representations of Numbers – by identifying that “6” (numerical), “six” (written) and the physical, visual representation of 6 objects all mean the same thing, children expand their concept of mathematics and numbers. It’s also the foundation for learning how to interpret math problems that are presented in different formats
The fruit number puzzles are a great busy bag activity for quiet time, perfect as a travel activity for hotel rooms or airplanes, or make a great addition to a home learning set-up. (Whether you have a dedicated schooling space or just a shelf with fun learning activities available).
Even though my daughter attends school full-time, I like to provide fun activities like this for her to build confidence with these concepts at home. Whether your child is new to these concepts or just needs to gain a bit of confidence, making math fun and enjoyable is always a great strategy.
Tip: I like to laminate our printables so we can use them multiple times. This is the laminator I use, and I just buy the super cheap packages of laminate sheets from Amazon. It costs about 13 cents a sheet to laminate which lets us get so much use out of any activity we print out.
I will add one caveat: laminating these sheets means that the puzzles won’t fit perfectly together but need to be overlapped. It’s a personal preference if you’d rather print the puzzles on card stock and have them fit together like puzzle pieces but possibly get ripped/worn out after a few uses, or laminate them for repeated use but not perfectly fit together.
My daughter said she didn’t mind having to lay the puzzle pieces together rather than fit them together – but your child may prefer unlaminated.
Materials Needed to Make Math Puzzles
Download and print the activity pack on white paper or card stock.
Laminate, if desired.
How to Use These Number Puzzles
You can present all of the number puzzles at once, or just select a few to set out. (If you choose to put out only a few puzzles, ensure that you provide all of the puzzle pieces for each puzzle to avoid frustration.)
Mix up the number puzzles and show your child how to find pieces to match. I like to start with the far left corner (the numeral representation), for example:
- Find the number 3
- Find the picture representation of the number 3 (use your finger to count each object)
- Find the written representations of the number “three” (sound out the word)
- Find the number order card missing “3” (name the numbers on either side of the missing number)
Children don’t have the follow that sequence when building their puzzles, but I find it helpful to use that sequence when demonstrating.
Have your child put together a puzzle and go over it with them to “check their work.” Do all of the puzzle pieces correspond to the same number?
Have them put together all of their puzzles together.
Have them repeat the puzzles as desired, and encourage them to troubleshoot any puzzles that may have a wrong piece.
Store the puzzle pieces in a ziptop bag, tray or box for subsequent use.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE Fruit Math Puzzles.