Race Car Math: Counting and Number Recognition Activity for Preschoolers

Here’s a fun preschool math activity that teaches counting and number recognition through racing Hot Wheels cars!

For preschoolers, often the most motivating way to learn to count and recognize written numbers is through play.  The boys are STILL obsessed with Hot Wheels (if you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know that this has lasted for a long time!), and we set up a Hot Wheels car race to practice recognizing, counting, and writing the numbers 1-20.

Race Car Math:  Number Recognition and Counting Activity

First, we chose 20 cars to be in our race.  The boys spent a lot of time deciding which cars would race and what numbers they would be.  :-)  I labeled the cars with masking tape and a sharpie.

Race Car Math:  Number Recognition and Counting Activity

For the car races, we used our rain gutter ramps.  Check out our rain gutter Hot Wheels racing ramps post for more details!

I had Aidan make squares of paper with the numbers 1-20.  We put the squares in a bowl.  For each heat, I had Owen draw out two squares, and those would be the cars that would race down the ramp.

Race Car Math:  Number Recognition and Counting Activity

Owen had to find the cars with the correct numbers on them (number recognition!).

Race Car Math:  Number Recognition and Counting Activity

Then he wrote the race results in a chart that I made for him.  For each heat, Owen wrote down the numbers of the cars that were racing.  Then, he circled the number of the winner.

We had so much fun!

Race Car Math:  Number Recognition and Counting Activity

More math with Hot Wheels:

  • Sort them by color and count the groups.
  • Sort them by type of vehicle and count the groups.
  • Create adding problems – red cars plus blue cars, etc.


  1. Melissa Eigsti says

    My boys loved this game! I did it for my kindergartner to help him read numbers 11-30. We used your rain gutter idea but my boys added masking tape at the end to create a finish line. It was easier to see which car won depending on which side broke the tape open. Also we practiced number sequencing by lining the cars up in order. If you fold the paper into 16 rectangles they are the perfect size for lining up the cars. After removing the cars for their race, we wrote the numbers on the paper in their place for record keeping. This has been a popular FB post among my boy-heaving homeschooling groups!

  2. Robin says

    Cars are great for the four times tables too. 4 wheels per car, 8 cars=32 wheels total. You could use motorcycles for the 2 times tables and transport trucks for 6 or 8 times tables (depending on the truck).


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