(Guided By Prof. Ellen Booth Church)


Your Math Centre is the place where children discover how math is much more than learning to count. And perhaps more importantly, they find out that math is actually useful and FUN! Too many children develop an early case of “math anxiety” when their experiences are based on strictly counting and getting the “right” answer. But when they are introduced to open-ended and playful math activities those “fears” of math are nipped in the bud. By using a rotating collection of math manipulatives which include familiar objects children not only learn the basic skills of classifying, patterning and seriating they also discover how to APPLY these skills to everyday life. Remember… Math is both a process and a language that can and should be used everyday. The integration of your Math Centre with your Dramatic Play, Block and Sensory Play Centres will help children see how to use these skills not only in school but at home and in the world. Here are some great items to include in your centre. 

Using different items, children discover the underlying concepts of numbers, sets, and relative relationships.

  • Plastic tubs, jars, egg cartons and boxes for storage and sortin.
  • Plain painted or number blocks
  • Attribute and/or parquetry blocksmaths
  • Unifix cubes
  • Geoboards and bands
  •  Pan balance scale
  • Plastic Links
  • Shape and color sorters
  • Beads and strings
  • Assorted buttons and beads, pom-pom balls, marbles
  •  In-shell nuts, horse chestnuts, acorns
  • Bolts, washers, nuts, screws
  • Poker chips
  • Counters (teddy bear, dinosaur, frogs, etc.)
  • Small plastic or ceramic tiles
  • Empty thread spools
  • Tongue depressors, foamcore or wood shapes
  • Matching cards, picture card decks, number cards
  • Cash register and play money
  • Coins from different countries
  • Fabric swatches and color swatches for sorting
  • Tape measure, yardstick, rulers
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wall graphs – both felt and wipe-off
  • Floor graph
  • Puzzles
  • Lotto and Bingo games


In the Science Centre children observe and explore first the world within the classroom walls and then the world around them. It is a place to bring the outside in and to celebrate all the higher order thinking skills used in the scientific method. Children are naturally curious and use the steps of observation, prediction, experimentation and analysis whenever they meet a new material, situation or concept. That is why it is important to have lots of open-ended materials available for children to explore when they need it. Keep everything accessible and organized so children know where to find the magnifiers when they find a bug to observe or where to get the pan balance when they want to compare things. This is a center that can grow and change with the additions children find and bring from home. You never know what they will bring in and it just may be the start if a whole new unit of study. An old bird’s nest may lead to a look at shelters or a dead butterfly to a study on wings and flying. Be open to the “teachable moment’ in every child’s curious mind.. and watch out for you own “yuck” reactions to some of those things they bring in. It is all in the name of Science. Here are a few good things to get you started!

 This is a place to experience the order and wonder of the natural world

  Unbreakable Magnifying glasses, plastic mirrors and prisms Binoculars, teleidoscopes and kaleidoscopesscience toys
 Flashlights, colored cellophane
 Barometer, thermometers
 Various magnets
 Wheels, gears, pulleys, ramps
 Balance scale
 Light table and materials
 Twigs, leaves, nuts, seeds, eggshells, feathers, shells
 Stones, minerals, fossils
 Empty bird and insect nests
 Living plants and/or a small pet
 Animal bones and teeth (sterilized)
 Bellows
 Match cards and Lotto games of plants and animals
 Mystery smell, mystery sound vials and match cards


Your block centre is much more than a place to play pretend. As children build replicas of the world around them they use problem-solving skills to explore the materials and physical laws of construction. Everything from the math concepts of area and equivalencies to the science of balance and support are engaged when children interact with blocks and props. It is a prime area for children to experiment with the open-ended questions of “what will happen if…” and “How many ways can you….” Just by presenting a question, idea or new props to explore you inspire days of constructive play. Here are a few basics to get you started!

 As children build replicas of the world around them they use problem solving skills to explore the materials and physical laws of construction.

  Blocks of all sizes of wood, plastic, and cardboardblocks
 Legos , Duplos, and Bristle Blocks
 Large cardboard boxes covered with self stick papers
 Rug core cylinders, fabric bolts and flat cores
 Cardboard footing forms
 Large and small wire spools
 PVC plumbing fittings
 Carpet pieces, Styrofoam, vinyl, plastic
 Fabric pieces, blankets sheets
 Riding toys, trucks, trains, cars, wagon, scooters, trucks, tricycles, wheelbarrows
 Plastic traffic signs and license plates
 Small scale furniture (share with Dramatic Play Center)
 Ropes
 Colored tapes
 Small dolls and animals
 Clipboards, paper and markers for making blueprints, drawings and recordings
 Pictures of buildings from around the world
 Books and magazines with buildings


A place for drawing, forming, gluing, decorating, creating and expressing
 In the beginning of the year and throughout your Art Centre is the “hub” of learning in your preschool program. Children’s experimentations with art materials span the curriculum from scientific thinking to artist and linguistic expression. As you know, the process young children go through in creating art is much more important than the product. That is why it is important to have an art centre that is open for children’s free exploration and expression… a place that is separate from your “planned” and “directed” art projects. The unit activities for the art learning centre will suggest new materials related to a Unit theme and will present ideas for exploration but this is always a place where children can try out ideas without the worry of having to do things the “right” way.

 Here are a few basic but “great” things to include:

 * An easel
* Aprons, drop clothesart-supplies
* Several sizes of paint brushes, rollers, applicator sticks, sponges, cotton applicators
* PAPER – colored, white, newsprint, craft, wallpaper, shiny, porous, tissue, crepe
* Paper plates and cups, plain grocery and lunch bags, file folders
* Colored and shiny paper scraps, confetti, cellophane hay
* Bits of yarn, feathers, ribbons lace, sequins, dry flowers, glitter, beads, jewels
* Glue and glue sticks, paste
* Finger paints, liquid tempera, watercolors, chalks, washable markers, glow in the dark
* Colored tapes, masking tape, adhesive tape
* Colored pipe cleaners, drinking straws, foam packing bits
* Textures for rubbings: onion bags, sandpaper, pot scrubbers, plastic berry baskets,
* rubber stamps, corrugated cardboard, embossed tiles, textures wallpaper
* Scissors and pattern scissors
* Muffin tins, egg cartons, clear plastic bottles with secure screw tops, foam trays
* Wood pieces
* Saw, hammers, big headed nails, clip clothes pins
* Magazines, junk mail, catalogs, newspapers and food inserts