“Let’s practice math facts!”
That is what your students will say once you introduce some of these fun ideas and games to the classroom. When you create a strong love and appreciation for math at an early age, you’re setting kids up for a successful future.
Between playing bingo, baking in the classroom and even bringing in a little blast from the past, you’ll have students begging to do more math.
1. Roll the dice.
Dice can be used in so many different ways when it comes to math. Whether you’re practicing multiplication facts or fractions, try having students create their own math problems with the roll of the dice. They can create fractions, simple multiplication problems or even word problems using dice. This can also be a fun way to put together a homework assignment: Students roll the dice during class, then take the problems home to solve.
2. Play math bingo.
Bingo is always a class favorite, and you can play it with any number of students. You can buy math bingo kits online (or win your own in our “I Love Math” Classroom Giveaway). You can also make up your own. The way it works is students have to solve math problems in order to know what number to mark off of their sheet.
3. Find fun ways to teach multiplication.
Lucky for you, we have 22 fun, hands-on ways already gathered right here. You can use Cheerios, cards, dominoes and many other ideas. Students will love practicing their facts with these ideas.
4. Turn regular board games into math games.
Pretty much any game that involves numbers can be turned into a way to practice math. Yahtzee is an easy example: As you’re rolling the dice, have students ask one another math questions based on the numbers they roll. Even the card game Uno can help with practicing math. Have students add, subtract, multiply and divide based on the the numbers on the cards.
5. Play War.
The classic card game War is always a good way to reward students when they have a few extra minutes here and there. Have several decks of cards in your classroom and use this as an incentive, either when they finish assignments or just as “bonus” time that they can earn. Make sure they are solving math problems when they lay their cards out, though.
6. Go online.
You can find lots of free math games online, and students will love this break in the day! Some of our favorites are Sushi Monster, Aplus Math, Prodigy, Mathville, Math Cats and Math Playground. There are so many out there, so take some time to really explore this vast online world.
7. Make your own deck of cards.
While playing War and making math questions out of the cards is fun, you can also take it to the next level by creating your own math problems on playing cards. Just take an old deck of cards and cut out pieces of paper that will cover each card entirely. Then create your own math or word problems. By covering the entire card, you’re really just using the card as a template. You could also make cards out of poster board or recycled cereal boxes. But this method is great because they all fit nicely into the card box, making for easy and portable storage.
8. Make a recipe.
When you have to follow a recipe—especially when you have to adjust the recipe—there’s a lot of math involved in making sure you get it right. Put those skills to the test by making no-bake cookies or even slime. For more of a challenge, have students double, triple or even quadruple the recipe.
9. Borrow or buy an adding machine.
Do you remember the simple joy you had when playing around with an adding machine? If not, go to your nearest thrift store to find one! Students will love being able to punch in numbers and have the math problems come out on real paper. It’s a simple yet awesome way to get them excited about practicing math.
10. Download Sudoku and Kakuro puzzles.
Sudoku is definitely a good way to practice math, and you can find puzzles, books and samples all over the place. Not as many people know about Kakuro puzzles though. They are similar to Sudoku in that they come in a grid, but the rules are different. Here’s a good site that explains the game and offers free downloads to play.
11. Download math apps.
This is another area where you can find oodles of options. With most schools having access to tablets, this is a great way to make practice fun for your students. Look for math games best suited for your age group (most apps have age recommendations). A few we recommend include Mathmateer, Thinking Blocks Multiplication and Crazy Times Tables.
12. Create a math Concentration game.
You know the classic game Concentration? Create your own version using math problems or cutting up old flash cards. Here’s how: Have the math problem on one card and then the answer on another. So you might have 4 x 5 on one card, and then another card would have 20. Have the students find each answer for a correct match. You could even color-code the cards to make it easy to distinguish questions vs. answers.
13. Have a math scavenger hunt.
Get ready to be the most popular teacher at your school! Scavenger hunts are already exciting and fun. One clue leads you to another, and then another, until there’s finally a prize at the end. For this scavenger hunt, make math problems the clues. So in order to move on, students have to really think about the problems and give the correct answers. Be sure to make them challenging so the reward (maybe 10 minutes of extra recess) is worth it. We suggest pulling out all your hardest math problems and even dividing up into teams for a little friendly competition.
14. Weave math into other subjects.
You know those math problems you created earlier with a deck of cards? You should always have them around, no matter what subject you’re working on. In the middle of social studies, pull out a math card. Or quiz students as they’re lining up to go to lunch. All these little practice sessions can really add up in developing skills.
15. Cut up the worksheet.
A piece of paper can be oh-so boring to kids. Try cutting up the math worksheet you were planning to give your students. Fold up the various problems and put them in a box. Then let each student draw one to work on. This is a really simple idea, but it can add just the variety you need.