Paper Plate Activities for Preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten
Share This Post:
I love paper plate activities in the preschool classroom for multiple reasons: they are cheap, you can get them for tons of themes, they are so versatile, and they can be used across multiple subjects! I have rounded up my favorite paper plate activities and can’t wait to share them with you. I grabbed most of these plates from Target, Walmart, or Dollar Tree.
Find all the themed math and literacy centers for little learners here. They are complete, printable activities for your preschool, pre-k, or kindergarten students. There are tons of themes to pick from!
This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a tiny commission when you use my links at no cost to you.
Paper Plate Activities for Letters & Sounds
Letter Clip It! This simple paper plate activity is easy to prep and gives your students tons of fine motor work while working on letter matching! I used yellow plates to look like suns, but you use what you have in your classroom. To prep, write the letters on the plates and some clothespins. You can have students match capital to capital, lowercase to lowercase, or capital to lowercase. You can also make it more complex by mixing up the letters on the plate instead of writing them in order.
Star Letter Match! Grab some plates and write a letter in the middle. Then, students can match any letter or sound manipulative you have. Use beginning sound magnet manipulatives to practice beginning sounds too. Only set out a few plates to practice certain letters or set out the whole alphabet on a table, making it a large group activity.
Shell Letter Match! Similar to the letter of the alphabet activity, but with a fun beach or ocean theme! I also added in some shell letter manipulatives to give students something new to touch and sort. Don’t forget that if you don’t have a fun manipulative to match your theme, just DIY one!
Light Table Letter Match! Need a fun literacy activity for your light table? Check out this light table paper plate activity! I used the clear plastic plates and wrote a letter on each one. Then write letters on the translucent-colored circles. I also added other translucent letter manipulatives for students to sort.
Cupcake Letter Match! For this birthday-themed paper plate activity, I put letter stickers on the cupcakes like sprinkles, and the students matched letter manipulatives. Differentiate with matching uppercase/uppercase, lowercase/lowercase, or uppercase/lowercase. You can do this with any fun paper plate to match your theme or write numbers on the stickers to practice identifying numbers. I think ice cream plates would be fun too!
Letter Puzzles! Cut your paper plates into puzzles and have students complete the letter puzzles! Cut the plates differently to make self-checking puzzles or make the cut all the same, and it will be more difficult for little learners.
Paper Plate Activities for Name Practice
Name Puzzles! Create name puzzles to match your theme! I made a name card (cloud) from construction paper to match the paper plate rainbow I was going to use. Then I added letter stickers to the puzzle pieces.
Name Build It! Place name cards on the plate for quick and easy name learning activities. Students can use whatever letter manipulatives you have to build their name on their themed plate. Name practice is a wonderful way for students to become more familiar with letters because they love their names and friends’ names.
Name Clip & Build! I used letter stickers to put the students’ names on the plates. Then they used letter manipulatives to build it and letter clothespins to spell it. This added in even more fine motor work!
Paper Plate Book! I make one each year during a birthday theme, and students send in plates for the birthday party in dramatic play. This is great for building classroom community and oral language because students love talking about their birthdays!
Paper Plate Activities for Fine Motor Skills
Lacing Plates! Make your own lacing boards by using paper plates! Punch holes all over the plate, get some string, and you are ready to lace. Lacing is a great activity to improve hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and patience.
Color Chains! Create these adorable color chain clouds with a white paper plate, color dots, a hole punch, and chain links. Students can sort by color, number, or free design. Chain links are great for fine motor work for little hands.
Color Lace! Make this the same as above, except add pipe cleaners and beads. Students will thread the beads onto the matching pipe cleaner. This is great for fine motor muscles and hand-eye coordination!
Paper Plate Activities for Math Skills
Count & Lace! Create a counting paper plate activity that works on one-to-one correspondence, colors, and counting. You can also do this with colored chains instead of beads. Cut the bottom of the plate, then pretend the plates are jellyfish, use white plates and pretend they are clouds, or cut straight across and use them any time during the year.
Addition Game! Write addition problems and have your students make chains to solve them. You can also do this activity with beads and tape pipe cleaners to the plate instead.
Roll & Count! Grab a die and some counting manipulatives and get busy. You can make it an addition activity by using two dice. You can also use fruit plates (watermelons, lemons) during the summer months to match summer themes. Don’t want to use seeds in the classroom? Use pom poms instead.
Number Clip It! Grab some plates and clothespins for a fun and engaging number clip it game. Write numbers around the plate and on your clothespins. Students match the numbers by clipping the clothespins on the plate. This is great for strengthening those hand muscles!
Counting Game! Practice counting and representing quantities in various ways using the plate for the number work mat. I set out many manipulatives to count, dominoes, and pots with number dots on them. Write whatever numbers your students need help learning.
Number Puzzles! Cut plates to make puzzles and put different forms of numbers on each side of the puzzle. Make the cuts different to create self-checking puzzles, or make the cuts all the same for more of a challenge.
DIY Puzzles! Cut plates in various ways to make simple puzzles (keep a plate together so students can visually see what the puzzle should look like and can put it together on the plate if they need extra support) or practice number order by putting stickers at the bottom.
Turtle Symmetry! Practice symmetry with this adorable turtle plate. I used a green plate and added foam legs and a head, but paper would work too. I then drew a line down the middle of the shell, and students used pattern blocks to make a symmetrical design on each side.
Color Sort! Give students loose parts or other colored manipulatives to sort into the correct plate. This is such a simple paper plate activity that will keep your little learners engaged and practicing color recognition. There are all different colors of plates that you can find at the dollar store.
Paper Plate Activities for Art & STEM
Paper Plate Bird Art! Create this easy craft that is the perfect craft for a bird, spring, Easter, or farm theme! You can do various paper plate art projects where everyone is making the same project to build fine motor muscles and practice following directions. Use half a plate and paint it. While the paint is still wet, add feathers. Let it dry, then add pipe cleaner legs, googly eyes, and a beak.
Paper Plate Animals Art for a Zoo! Students can make cute animals and then use them to decorate the room or dramatic play area during a zoo theme. Put out a tray of supplies, and students can make any animal for an open-ended art project. This is a great idea for a farm theme too!
Planet STEM Project! Add real photos, and students can create planets for a fun and easy activity or STEM challenge. This is a fun way to sneak science into the art center. If you don’t want your students’ painting, add tissue paper and a paste so students can make a textured planet. This would be perfect for older kids too!
Paper Plate Activities for Gross Motor
Balloon Tennis! Play balloon tennis when the weather is yucky outside or when your students need a brain break! Tape a large wooden craft stick to the back of the plate, and students hit a balloon back and forth. Make it educational by writing letters or sight words on the balloon, and students say the letter/sight word when they hit it. This would be so much fun for kids of all ages since it can be changed to whatever they are studying (multiplication facts, spelling words, etc.)
Letter Jump! Set out some paper plates with letters written on them, and students jump from plate to plate and say the letter they are jumping on. This is a fun idea to play for indoor recess or a great way to get out some extra wiggles. Also, play with numbers!
I hope you enjoyed this round-up of 28 paper plate activities for preschool, pre-k, or kindergarten students! Paper plate activities are so easy to use in the classroom and can be switched easily to match the theme or unit you are studying! Plus, if they get ruined, it won’t break the bank! Easy paper plate crafts are always a hit in my classroom, too, and they teach kids important skills! Check out all the themed math and literacy centers for little learners to get all the printables and activities for tons of themes!
Check out this post for Pop It Activities for Math, Literacy, Fine Motor, and more!
Use pool noodles in the classroom too, with these fun and educational pool noodle activities!
Struggling with scissors skills? Check out my post with tons of scissor skill activities for young learners. Plus, grab a free printable template of cutting lines.
Love this post? Pin this image!
hey, i’m jackie!
I’m Jackie, your go-to girl for early childhood inspiration and research-based curriculum.