Mitten Matching Math

Preschool math is very different from the math we think of for elementary school-aged children. Preschoolers are developing the skills they will need to be successful at understanding basic the math concepts they will be taught in school. In order to develop a strong foundation for later success in math, early learning experiences must be fun for preschoolers.

Matching is a wonderful skill that teaches preschoolers important early math skills. Preschoolers naturally want to sort things by color, shape, and size. Watching a preschooler play with their toys, you will see this tendency in action as they try and make sense of the world around them. They inherently sort their cars by color and their blocks into size groups. Watch a child with a handful of candy and they will often separate the candy into the different colors they see. You can use this need to sort things to make learning early math skills exciting for preschoolers.

What You Need

Table of Contents

  1. A collection of mittens or printed pictures of mittens colored in matching pairs
  2. A piece of yarn
  3. Thumbtacks or tape
  4. Clothespins

What To Do

Secure the piece of yarn to the wall using tape or thumbtacks to make a clothesline. If you are using thumb tacks make sure that the preschoolers know not to play with them. Collect a variety of matching pairs of mittens. You can have preschoolers bring in pairs from home if you are having trouble collecting enough. Arrange the mittens on the floor beneath the clothesline with a handful of wooden clothespins. Show the children how to use the clothespins to attach the mitten pairs to the clothesline.

This game can be used as a group activity or set up as a center to go with a winter theme. Mitten matching is a hands-on activity that kids will love and teaches them essential math skills at the same time. Using the clothespins is tricky for preschoolers at first, but it will develop their hand-eye coordination and gives them a sense of accomplishment when they master the skill.


This activity can also be done using socks or hats. You can print matching sets of pictures for children to hang up on the clothesline. Use some creativity. It can be made to fit nearly any preschool theme. This activity is a great math center that is appropriate for groups of children to do together. Simply increase the number of matching pairs and clothespins and lengthen the clothesline to accommodate the number of preschoolers that will be using the center.