Activities With Keys

Have a few extra keys around?  Keys are a great tool for the Toys and Manipulative area to teach math, science, literacy, and develop fine motor and problem solving skills. I gathered some keys from around the house and family members to create a collection for early learning activities.

IMG_3901 keys


Using the keys and paper divided into 5 areas, the children picked up keys and used one to one correspondence to place one key in each area. Depending on the child’s development, numbers could be written in each box, 1-5, also. Picking up the keys uses those fine motor skills. Counting each key as it’s picked up and layed down helps to develop number concepts. These activity also demonstrates visually data organization.

IMG_3904 keys one to one c


Here is the same activity using just silver keys so the child is sorting by color also.

IMG_3905 silver one to one c


Use a number line to match one key with each number. Again, one on one correspondence. Here children see 1 key for each number and can see that the number 2 represents 2 real keys.


IMG_3906 keys numberline



Younger children just simply sort the keys by color: silver and gold. If you gather any colored keys then include green, red, blue, etc.

IMG_3908sorting by color


Keys come in variety of sizes, so children sort the keys by size from small to large. Here children see the relationship of size.


IMG_3909 small to largest

Keys used for patterns provides more math opportunities.  Add blocks, cubes, or links so children develop patterning skills with the keys.


Add technology by taking pictures of the patterns children make with keys and show them the pictures on the computer.


The teacher/parent role is to encourage, observe and respond to children individually. Observe to help each child take the next step in  their development. Take time to talk with them about what they do and see. Record what the child says and does. The information you observe and gather helps to guide the kinds of questions you ask a child and the next activities you choose.





About admin

I'm Cathie. Welcome to my little early childhood corner! I have been involved with young children and their teachers for over 20 years: teaching, supervising, training, presenting, serving on state and community boards and councils. I love sharing quality early childhood ideas that are engaging! Thank you for joining me on this new adventure,
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3 Responses to Activities With Keys

  1. Why do I love this activity so much? Probably because I know that young children LOVE keys! Great post.

  2. when my son was young he loved playing with keys! I will have to gather some for the grandson to play and learn with. Would love to see you at our Snickerdoodle Sunday sometime!