Instead of blocks, let’s build with sugar cubes! Learn more about this sweet, colorful activity teaching math for preschoolers.
Math for preschoolers is “sweet!”
When you think of math for preschoolers + building, you probably picture blocks.
Wooden blocks. Foam blocks. Sugar blocks?!
Oooh, friends, there’s a new kid in town for building that your kids are going to LOVE!
Related: Our GIANT 10-foot coloring banners are perfect for any art lover!
Math for preschoolers, but think outside the “block”
Kids (and adults!) can get bored practicing the same skill, the same way, with the same things, day after day. We can stimulate kids’ curiosity by providing unique opportunities to practice the skills.
Traditional blocks are lovely and something that most kids naturally navigate. However, when they see that they can build with sugar, their eyeballs fill with hearts.
It’s like cutting skills: cutting on paper is important for practicing scissor skills, but if you only cut on paper, it can get boring. We love providing our kids with many non-paper materials to practice scissor skills, too!
Here are some other fantastic preschool building activities:
- Construction themed centers – Pocket of Preschool
- Build with ramps – KODO Kids
- Make a marble run – Buggy and Buddy
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- Sugar cubes – they’re about $3 per 1 lb box in the grocery store
- Clear cups
- Eye droppers or spoons – we use eyedroppers all. of. the. time. and they’re one of our favorite classroom supplies
- Coloring – liquid watercolors, food coloring, diluted paint – you choose!
- Large, shallow tray – regular and giant baking sheets are perfect for this!
- Open the boxes of sugar cubes and set them out with the entire top of the box torn off.
- Fill clear cups with water and add a splash of coloring. To each cup of colored water, add an eye dropper or spoon.
- Put out the large, shallow trays.
- Build sugar cube towers!
- During the building process or when the tower is complete, invite the kids to add on the coloring. As the coloring absorbs into the sugar cubes, they will slowly begin to dissolve and it’s hilarious chaos.
How do you make a sugar cube dissolve faster?
Observing the process of the sugar cube dissolving process is half of this activity’s fun.
First, it’s a solid cube, but then it dissolves and falls a little, only to end up in a flat puddle of wet sugar. Kids race to build their towers before they dissolve completely and it’s so fun to watch.
But, you also add more science to this by exploring how to make the cube melt even faster.
To conduct this experiment, provide the kids with cups of cold water and warm water and invite them to test out which makes the cube dissolve quicker.
Are preschool math activities part of STEAM?
STEAM is a juicy acronym used frequently in education and each letter represents a different part:
- S – Science
- T – Technology
- E – Engineering
- A – Art
- M – Math
STEAM learning is when kids apply some (or all) of the above letters. Kids naturally explore STEAM learning without any adult intervention, but it’s still fun to set up extra STEAM activities for them to explore.
Sugar cube towers are a STEAM activity because the kids are engaged in
- Science – observing the sugar cubes change from a solid to a liquid state
- Engineering – building towers and focusing on construction
- Art – designing the towers and adding the colors
- Math – using spatial awareness to know where to put each cube
Sugar cube towers makes math for preschoolers a total blast
The next time you’re looking for a fun building activity, think “outside of the block” and try this one! It’s a winner.