Easy Math Activities for Preschoolers to Celebrate Pi Day
We all remember learning that special number in math class: 3.14… Some of us can keep naming the numbers, but personally I can only get to 3.14159 before forgetting the rest. This number is known as Pi, and around middle school we learned that it is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter of the same circle. This may be a number you learned about in class and used in equations to finish your homework, and that was that. However, in the STEM communities, this number is a pretty big deal!
March 14, or 3/14, became recognized as National Pi Day in 2009, which began stirring up more excitement and awareness in STEM fields. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Pi has also been responsible for helping NASA explore outer space, as well as helped shape the world we live in today. While your little one may not completely grasp this special number, here are some math activities for preschoolers that you can do together to celebrate Pi Day and get them excited about arithmetic! PS: Stay till the end for FREE preschool worksheets…
Make a Pi(e)!
Be it apple, pumpkin, or even pizza, make a “pi” with your little ones! For toddlers and preschoolers, have them use circle cookie cutters to place a topper on your dessert pie—maybe even with some pieces in the shape of the greek letter (π). If you choose a pizza pi(e), use round toppings, like pepperoni and olives, or other vegetables that you can cut into different sized circles. If you have some mathematicians in your home, have them use pi to calculate the circumference and area of your freshly baked pies. As a reminder, those equations look like this:
Circumference: 2 x π x r
r = radius: half the diameter of the pie
Area: π x (r)2
If your little ones like arts and crafts, you can create a paper chain with each digit of pi represented by a different color of paper. Watch pi come to life in front of your eyes as your little ones build the chain, for however long you want or however long they can go! They will be amazed to see a visual representation of pi right in front of them, getting a better understanding of how large this special number actually is. Preschool activities like these are great for visual learners, and provide a hands-on opportunity to practice motor skills.
If your child is old enough, together you can write a poem using each digit of pi to represent the number of words you can use in that line. For example:
3: I love pi
4: That go on forever
5: Can be so much fun!
It does not have to be a math or pi-related poem—your poem can be about anything your little one wants to write about. The framework celebrates pi, so get creative and see how long your poem can get.
Pi Day Worksheets
There are lots of printable worksheets to celebrate Pi Day available online, like the one below by our own preschool teachers at Playgarden Prep! Let your little one tackle learning about pi through tracing, coloring, scissor-skills, and other preschool activities.
Click on the above image to download these FREE preschool worksheets, or click HERE.
I know a word that starts with Pi…
If you have early readers, have your little ones think up words that start with “pi,” (like piano, pilot, pineapple, just to name a few) and practice spelling them out loud, writing them down, or physically spelling them out with a tactile alphabet, like blocks or cutouts. See how many words they can make!
STEM is a field that puts so much work and dedication into building the world we live in today. So let us celebrate the great leaps forward that Pi brought the community, as well as the incredible work mathematicians and other STEM professionals continue to do. Happy Pi Day!
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Hi, I'm Miss Julia!
Miss Julia has been an early childhood educator for 5 years, with over 10 years of experience working in childcare. She has been teaching at Playgarden Prep since 2017, and is happy to share ideas on some of her favorite early education topics with you! Miss Julia has a BA from UC Irvine, and uses her experience in performing arts to inspire little ones every day in her enrichment classes at Playgarden. In her free time, Miss Julia loves enjoying nature, cooking, and creating with friends.