Learning with cheerios in preschool

The other day I shared that we explored the letter ‘O’ in preschool by making an octopus. Another way we explored the letter ‘O’ is by playing with Cheerios!

A basket of cheerios for sensory play is always fun!

Be sure to add spoons, cups, and bowls to invite scooping, pouring, and even a little dramatic breakfast play!

This counting activity was done as a group with all the children and then set out for the children to try on their own.

As the children read through The Cheerio Counting Book, they count out the number of cheerios and place them on the floor in front of them. I encourage the children to arrange the cheerios just as they see them in the book and then count them out loud!

This is a fun little book to set out next to the Cheerio sensory tub so the children can explore the book, numbers, counting, and their senses on their own!

Available on Amazon


By |2011-02-01T17:56:16+00:00February 1st, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Stacey February 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Thank you! I have that book, but have never connected it to our study of O before. Thanks for drawing the obvious connection for me. I also love the sensory tub of Cheerios. I’m doing that next year as well. (We’ve already studied O this year.)

    • Deborah J. Stewart February 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      You will have your plans for next year all ready to go!

  2. Pam February 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    oh how fun! My kids would love this! I’ve never done a cheerios sensory box!

    • Deborah J. Stewart February 2, 2011 at 8:18 am - Reply

      The children really enjoy it!

  3. Abby @ They Lend Me Their Hearts February 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    I never thought to use Cheerios for a sensory bin before during “O” week! I’m going to crawl out from under my rock now and get more ahead of the game here, since we did “O” last week. :o)

    • Deborah J. Stewart February 2, 2011 at 8:17 am - Reply

      LOL Abby! I have used just about every kind of non-sweet cereal for a sensory activity at one time or another:)

  4. Little Wonders' Days February 2, 2011 at 11:37 am - Reply

    This bin looks like fun, my two would definitely like this. I’ve seen the Cheerio book before, but have never thought to do an activity with it like this.

  5. Christy February 3, 2011 at 5:51 am - Reply

    I hesitate to use food as a “toy” even for sensory tubs and other learning activities. With increasing poverty worldwide and issues with childhood mortality I try to find other ways to teach concepts. For instance, depending on the developmental level of the students peetcps analyernative to Cheerios could be round washers or similar items from a hardware store. Bobbins, canning jar rings, small plastic bracelets or rings from a dollar or discount store,etc.

    • Deborah J. Stewart February 3, 2011 at 9:36 am - Reply

      You concern is shared by many others as well and I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I often hear this perspective when I present anything we do with food. However, I tend to believe that before children can make a difference or understand their world they must be given opportunities to explore their world in a real way. I think it is important to consider what we use and not be wasteful but I also want to give real experiences rather substitute experiences where possible. In early childhood, we use our senses to learn and understand the things in our world and there is a big difference in exploring round washers versus using a few cheerios. The texture, smell, taste, and ingredients all give opportunities for understanding and caring about the things we use, the food we eat and the people who live in the child’s world. I imagine that scientists who create gas from corn or farmers who create food for animals had to first “play” or “Explore” the different food items they use before they can lead to something that serves a greater purpose. Who knows – we may be encouraging future young scientists to solve bigger problems someday by inviting them to explore their world in simple and real ways.

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