Candy cane math in pre-k

As I have mentioned before, I just love candy canes so we are always exploring candy canes through different content areas in my classroom for about a whole month!!

These are just little plastic candy cane ornaments you can get at the Dollar Store in bags. I gave each of my pre-k students a set of five candy canes (you can use real ones or make some for this activity) during our circle time. They used one of my DIY felt boards as a counting board for this activity…

Each of the children spread out their candy canes and counted them. Then I gave different kinds of instructions like, “If you take away one candy cane then how many will you have left?” The children would remove and count the remaining number of candy canes…

And once we got to zero then we began adding our candy canes.  I would say something like, “If you add one candy cane, how many do you have now?”

After we did a little adding and subtracting, then we used our candy canes to make designs on our boards. We discovered we can make a few letters…

And shapes…

And other fun designs…

Super simple math with a candy cane!

By |2017-03-28T22:27:40+00:00December 12th, 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. Joan December 12, 2011 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Wonderful idea! I am going shopping for some plastic ones today for my class tomorrow! The plastic candy cane heart that you created will be perfect as a frame for a Valentine’s Day picture, too! Just thinking ahead :). . . . . . . . .

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 12, 2011 at 7:40 am - Reply

      Yes, that would be a great picture frame! I never thought of that:)

  2. Jill December 12, 2011 at 8:06 am - Reply

    such a simple activity with so much learning going on!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 12, 2011 at 8:58 am - Reply

      It was simple and the kids enjoyed manipulating those candy canes:)

  3. Stacy@Share&Remember December 12, 2011 at 8:54 am - Reply

    My kids love playing with those candy canes! Such a great deal at the Dollar store!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 12, 2011 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Yes – I love the Dollar Store:)

  4. Jackie December 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    oh! My son just found out he loves candy canes! This will be so much fun to do with him– and very engaging!

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