5+ Christmas Lights Math Activities for Preschoolers

There is something magical about Christmas lights. As we drove through town tonight the girls ooh-ed and aah-ed over all the beautiful Christmas lights on the houses. Especially the farm that had their lights set to a special radio station. I wanted to bring that magic into learning and I’m super excited about this week’s Playful Preschool ideas! To start you off, I have more than 5 Christmas lights math activities for preschoolers. Then, at the bottom of the post you can see all the other great preschool ideas from the rest of the Playful Preschool team!

christmas light activities

Christmas Lights Math Activities for Preschoolers


Materials need:

1-2 sets of miniature Christmas light tree decorations (I found mine with the other miniature ornaments)

Christmas lights

For this activity, you can simply lay the lights on the table and have your child find all of the pairs. If your child is like mine and needs more guidance you can have them show you a light and you can find the match or vice versa.

While doing this activity you can also reinforce some language skills, which are very important for my preschooler. Talk about the colors, count: one & two, mention the adjectives bright, shiny, and tiny! Make it lots of fun. The way our speech therapist suggested for teaching a new word is to try to elicit the word 3 times in the exact same way and if she’s not interested in saying it right then, we move on. Shiloh is getting into a lot of mimicking lately, so it’s fun to expose her to new words.


Materials needed:

Pipe cleaner

1-2 sets of miniature lights (we just used the same Christmas lights for each activity.)

Threading miniature Christmas lights

This activity is really great for building fine-motor skills. In fact, every activity with these tiny lights is great for fine-motor skills!

This is an open-ended activity, so you can let your child thread the lights on in any order than he chooses.


Materials needed:

Pipe Cleaner

1-2 sets of miniature Christmas lights

This is an extension of the threading activity above. However, this time you can guide your child to build simple patterns with the lights. A great start is a simple alternating pattern called an ABAB pattern. Then, you can move on to an AABB or an ABC pattern.


christmas light pattersn

Materials needed:

Pipe cleaner

1-2 sets of miniature Christmas lights

We did this as a continuation of the threading and patterning activities. After we had finished threading our lights onto the pipe cleaner, I demonstrated counting for Shiloh as she worked her way down the lights, flipping each one as I counted it. For a more skilled child, you can have them count on their own, talk about how many are left to count, skip count using patterns (skip count by 2’s using the ABAB pattern, skip count by 3’s using the ABC or ABBA patterns.)

You could also flip the lights to different sides as you count odd and even. Flip all the odd numbered lights to the left and all the even numbered lights to the right.

One-to-one Correspondence/Counting

christmas preschool activities

Materials Needed:

1-2 sets of miniature Christmas lights

Foam trees

Foam sticker lights


Write a number on the star of each tree. Then, along with your child put the indicated number of sticker lights on each tree. After that, have your child lay one miniature light on each sticker light.

This helps kids to see that no matter what the object is, 3 always means 3, 2 always means 2.

When introducing numbers and counting, activities like this will show kids the stopping point. When there are no more sticker lights to cover up, we are finished counting for that number.

Higher skilled kids may be able to put the trees in order from least to greatest. We only went up to 3 because that is all Shiloh is ready for, but you could go up to ten to extend the activity.

You could also use this activity to introduce the concept of addition by using two colors of lights on a tree. Place 1 colored light on the tree and ask your child to figure out how many more are needed to get to the number on the star. Use the other color of lights as they count up.


Materials needed: 

Two dice (we used jumbo foam dice)

1-2 sets of miniature Christmas lights

2 miniature cupcake liners (it’s just fun to use tiny things with the big dice!) 

dice and christmas lights

Roll the dice and put the matching number of Christmas lights into the cupcake liners. Then dump all of the lights from the cupcake liners onto the table to see how many there are altogether.

You could also use this activity to demonstrate larger and smaller numbers by talking about how a liner filled with 6 lights appears to be more full than a liner with 2 lights.

We had a lot of fun with the Christmas lights and I hope that you will too!

christmas lights counting busy bag Featured Image

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  1. So many great suggestions for learning with Christmas Lights! Love that you used the little lights to play with!:)

  2. Those are great learning activities! I have never seen lights that have a loop you can use for threading. I will have to be on the look out to find some.