5 Wild West Math Activities to Spur Up Excitement

Math, the subject dreaded by so many, must start with such a strong foundation that everything else just falls into place. The fear and anxiety will dissipate, replaced by an excitement to solve the next problem. With that being said, this week, we saddled up hands-on ways to engage our preschoolers with Wild West math activities. Try them out, and may the horse be with you as you teach math to your little ones!

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Wild West Lesson Plans

cowboy chili

Counting Sensory Bin

The cowboys have been traveling along, and it’s time to stop and ask the cookie for some Cowboy Chili! 


These sensory bins are my kiddos’ absolute favorite, and I’m sure they will be a hit in your classroom, too! 


Use the recipe cards as a guide to add in cups of beans (brown beads), tomatoes (red pompoms), onions (vegetable counters), and cheese (snap cubes).  


The round brown beads were a new and invigorating sensation, but good ol’ dried pinto beans work, too!

The best part of this activity: no sorting at the end. You could just dump it back in the bin and cook up another batch of Cowboy Chili!


cattle Memory Game

Cooperative Math Game

My adult brain just doesn’t have room for random things anymore. I get my booty whooped playing Memory with my kids every time. Kids! Beat my developed, sophisticated brain. And the sad thing is that I do try very hard.


So while they get to bask in the glory of beating Mom at a game, it only made sense to turn it into one of our Wild West math activities for the week! 


But, shh, I tweaked it so I wouldn’t keep getting beat. I made this into a cooperative game of Memory. It’s for my pride, really.


Working as a cooperative team, try to find matches of cattle before the sun sets (aka you flip over all of the cloud cards to cover the sun). Help each other remember where the numbers are (choose from tally marks, ten frames, counting fingers, or numerals), so you have a chance at beating that sunset, but not your dear old mother.


Pony Express Number match

Wild West Math Activities

Did you know the Pony Express helped cut down the time it took to deliver mail in the United States? Although the program was shut down after only 18 months, it paved the way for the 2-day deliveries we have today.


For this Pony Express activity, we quickly counted the dots in the address labels on the envelopes.


Then, we found the matching numbered stamp, stuck it on with a Velcro dot, and headed out on our pony for a swift delivery


To add engagement, use a stick pony like the one we used for our Cowboy Ranch Dramatic Play.


Horseshoe Patterns

Wild West Math Activities

As a girl mom, my girls never talked about the Wild West, cowboys, lassos, etc. However, as the week has gone on, I keep hearing, “Wee-haw!” from around the house. It’s so cute! 


For this next math activity, we brought out our light pad, which I use as a small light table. Place translucent chips on top – the ones with the metal rim – to match the patterns on the cards. 

After the pattern is complete, say the colors aloud to hear the rhythm of the pattern. Finally, swipe the chips up with a magnet. Swoosh! Grab Horseshoe Patterns here!


Hide the Horse Measurement

Wild West Math Activities

I absolutely love measurement activities. They incorporate two skills into one: counting and measuring! 


For this Hide the Horse measurement activity, spread out all of the horse cards and haystacks on the table. 


Then, let the little ones try to find haystacks that match the horses in size so that the horses could find the perfect hiding spot. 


Next, measure the height of each horse using the horseshoe ruler and circle or write the number on the recording sheet.


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I hope that you are able to spark mathematical joy with these engaging Wild West math activities! Build a strong sense of numbers and create a love of math from the start! Don’t forget to check out more Wild West-themed activities by clicking the buttons below!

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