Five graphing tips you can use with preschoolers

Graphing is a wonderful tool for promoting basic math concepts, vocabulary and mathematical thinking…

Before graphing…

Let the children explore the materials: the graphing process is more meaningful to children as they explore the materials they will be using for the graph ahead of time. Before graphing their ice cream, the children tasted three kinds of ice cream then they graphed their favorites. The children were able to recall their experience and then see their experiences translated into graph form.

After graphing…

Review the graph: The teacher invites the children to review the results of the graph by counting how many dots or names are under each type of ice cream.

Ask questions: The teacher then invites the children to explore the graph using questions such as; “Which ice cream did the class like the best?” or “Which ice cream got the most dots?” and “Which ice cream did the class like the least?” or “Which ice cream got the least amount of dots?”

Mix it up: There are many kinds of graphs you can introduce to your preschoolers from bar graphs, circle graphs, line graphs, and picture graphs.

Follow up: Follow up the graphing exercise with other activities, like making puffy ice cream, to reinforce concepts or vocabulary words that were used during the graphing experience.



Check out these simple ideas for graphing too…

A simple ice cream bar graph from The Adventures of Bear

Graphing with pattern blocks from Totally Tots

Graphing apples and balls from Preschool Daze

Sink or float graph from Not Just Cute

Do you like?” graphs from Excuse Me Mrs. C!

M&M graph from Funny Days with Mommy and Maddie

Clothespin graph from Mathwire

Apple graph from I Can Teach My Child!

Boy and Girl graph from Kindergarten Tales

Graphing oranges from Teach Preschool

Name graphs from Teach Preschool

Yummy-Yuck graph from Plan Your Preschool

Science in the preschool classroom from Teach Preschool

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  1. says

    Graphing can be a challenging concept for young children, but such an “ah ha!” moment when they finally grasp it. I love all these ideas here. Thanks!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      It can be challenging for sure that is one reason we want to make it fun and keep it simple!

  2. says

    I love these ideas! I’ve also used a question of the day graph with the kids- basically- How did you get to school today? car or bus or Are you wearing (red)? Yes or No. We use pictures and a simple starter sentence so the children can “read” this themselves. We would review this at our morning meeting. (not sure if this idea is in one of the links- haven’t seen all of them yet). Most of the children in my room now aren’t ready for this type of work yet- but eventually we may try some graphing!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      I love yes-no graphs! Often times the question on the graph isn’t open ended but it can lead to discussion that is very open ended!

  3. says

    In my daugher’s preschool they create graphs like this! I enjoy hearing the responses of the children. Even if they don’t understand the graph they are learning something by the discussion. This ice cream gives me a good idea for a project!

  4. says

    We’ve made ice cream in bags before. Here is the recipe:

    2 Tbsp. sugar
    1 cup half and half or whipping cream
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    Put the above ingredients in a small plastic ziploc bag and close.
    Then put the small bag inside a larger ziploc bag with:

    6 Tbsp. of rock salt
    1/2 bag full of ice cubes

    Then close up large bag and shake for 5-8 minute and you’ll have ice cream!!
    You could add flavors with the ingredients in the small bag