1st Grade

30 Fun and Free First Grade Math Games and Activities

Teach them early on that math can be fun!

Collage of First Grade Math Games, including Shape Guess Who? and Addition Tic-Tac-Toe
Images: Life Between Summers/Shape Guess Who and 123Homeschool4Me/Tic-Tac-Toe Math Game

Early elementary teachers have a chance to instill in their students a love of math right from the start. One great way to do that is to make math fun! These first grade math games cover all the standard skills firsties need to know, in ways that make learning engaging and enjoyable for all.

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1. Wiggle to 100

Hundreds chart labeled Wiggle to 100, with number cards reading 10 + 7, a set of dice, and a card describing a physical activity to be completed

You’ve Got This Math/Wiggle to 100 via

Many kids learn best when they move their bodies. In this simple game, they use number cards to make and solve addition or subtraction equations. Then they draw an action card, and complete the activity the same number of times as the answer to the problem.

Learn more: You’ve Got This Math

2. Play with place value pickup sticks

Wood craft sticks, some with 10 dots and some with one dot, and a printable worksheet labeled Place Value Pick Up Sticks, used for first grade math games

First Grade Wow/Place Value Pickup Sticks via

Help students visualize place value with these DIY pickup sticks. Pick up a handful of sticks and drop them, then have kids organize them by tens and ones. Finally, determine what number the sticks represent.

Learn more: First Grade Wow

3. Measure and compare names

Poster with student names listed from shortest to longest, to help students understand non-standard measurment

Mrs. Richardson’s Class/Comparing Names via

Here’s a fun way to teach non-standard measurement: Compare the lengths of student names! This is a great activity to try near the beginning of the year as kids get to know each other.

Learn more: Mrs. Richardson’s Class

4. Spin and draw the time

Spinner circle with various times in the wedges, and a paperclip spinner, plus a worksheet for drawing times on a clock face and a plastic toy clock

The Moffatt Girls/Spin and Draw Time via

Kids love simple spinners, so use them for games that help them learn to tell time. After they spin a digital time, have them draw the correct hands on clock faces or create the time on a toy clock.

Learn more: The Moffatt Girls

5. Make a DIY shape Guess Who? game

Guess Who game board with 2D and 3D shapes in place of the faces, used for first grade math games

Life Between Summers/Shape Guess Who via

Switch up your old Guess Who? game with 2D and 3D shape cards instead. Kids will get practice using geometry terms like “vertices,” “edges,” “faces,” and more.

Learn more: Life Between Summers

6. Walk the plank to practice addition

Wooden paint stirrer stick divided into squares labeled with numbers from 10 to 20, with colored cubes next to each square and a pair of dice

Primarily Speaking/Walk the Plank via

With a wooden paint stick, some math cubes, and a pair of number cubes, you can play a simple but fun first grade math game that helps kids learn addition in such an engaging way!

Learn more: Primarily Speaking

7. Assemble a domino puzzle

Print the free puzzles at the link below. Then grab some dominoes and start filling in the puzzle one piece at a time by placing a domino that adds up to the number shown in each rectangle. The trick is that regular domino rules still apply, so each number must touch another domino with the same number on that end.

Learn more: Games 4 Gains

8. Play tic-tac-toe with addition problems

Work out the answer to each problem in the grid, and dot or circle the ones that add up to 10. First to get three in a row wins!

Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Tic-Tac-Toe Math Game

9. Face off in Dice War

Pair of dice with a whiteboard with addition problems written on it, used by kids playing first grade math games

Miss Giraffe’s Class/Fact Fluency Dice via

Dice games are fantastic in the classroom! With this one, kids practice their addition facts and get a little work with subitizing too. The concept is so simple: Each player rolls the dice and adds up their numbers. The highest sum wins that round. This is one of those first grade math games that can be expanded by adding a third die. (You can also use playing cards.)

Learn more: Miss Giraffe’s Class

10. Use sticky notes to make 10

Sticky notes have so many uses in the classroom. In this case, challenge students to put together the numbered notes that “make 10.” They’ll practice adding to 10 with multiple numbers. You can also do this with subtraction, starting at 10, to make zero.

Learn more: Life Over C’s

11. Play Shut the Box

This game has been played for hundreds of years, but it’s a fun and sneaky way to practice addition facts fluency. The goal is to “close” each of the numbers in the box from one to nine by rolling the dice. For instance, if a player rolls 11, they may close 1, 2, 3, and 5, as these add up to 11. If no numbers are available to add up to the dice total, play passes to the next player and continues until someone finally “shuts the box” by closing the last available number. You can play this game with a specially designed box, as it has been played for years. You don’t need the box, though; simply have kids write out the numbers 1 through 9 and cross them out as they play.

12. Assemble some addition grab bags

Colorful paper bags filled with math cubes and plastic bears used for first grade math games, with a worksheet called Addition Grab Bags

Susan Jones Teaching/Addition Grab Bags via

Fill a variety of bags with collections of small objects. Kids grab a handful from two different bags, then count and add up the results. Be sure they write it all down to get practice at setting up equations. First grade math games like this one work for subtraction too.

Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching/Grab Bags

13. Face off to find the difference

Each player rolls the dice (try polyhedral dice for higher numbers, or roll several dice and add them together) and builds a stack of math cubes. Then they “face off” and find the difference between their two stacks.

Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

14. Plant flowers and count on

First grade math games using flower pots with playdough soil, filled with artificial flowers matching the number shown on the dice nearby

Fun-a-Day/Counting Flowers via

Pick up some artificial flowers at the dollar store for this springtime garden game. Roll the die and add that number of flowers to your pot. Then roll again and add more, counting on from where you left off. Easy and fun!

Learn more: Fun-a-Day

15. Build and count on

Math cubes with printed cards saying "Build 4. Add 8 more. What is the sum?" and child using them to play first grade math games

Susan Jones Teaching/Building On via

Here’s a fun hands-on way to practice counting on and addition. You can use any type of building blocks for this one. Get free printables at the link.

Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching/Building On

16. Print a hundreds chart to play Battleship

Help students master numbers up to 100 by playing Battleship, using a standard hundreds chart. They’ll enjoy the strategy (and the fun of crying “boom!” when they sink a ship) while they develop number sense and practice number words.

Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Hundreds Chart Battleship

17. Try nuts and bolts for place-value practice

Building Numbers worksheet with picture of child in construction gear and nuts and bolts used to represent tens and ones

The Measured Mom/Place Value Mat via

Mastering the concepts of tens and ones is more fun with hands-on activities. We love these DIY math manipulatives that use inexpensive nuts and bolts from the hardware store to drive home the idea of place value. (Bonus: Kids also practice fine motor skills!) Get free printable mats to use with this activity at the link.

Learn more: The Measured Mom

18. Have a place-value scavenger hunt

Grab a stack of old magazines and use it for a place-value scavenger hunt! You can do this one at school or send it home for homework. Get free printables to use for this first grade math game at the link.

Learn more: Primary Theme Park/Place Value Scavenger Hunt

19. Practice tens and ones with I Have, Who Has

Printed cards saying I have... Who has... showing math cube manipulatives and numerals

Playdough to Plato/I Have Who Has via

As first graders work with the concepts of tens and ones, play this simple game to give them confidence. Using the free printable cards at the link, the first player calls out “I have …” followed by the number shown on their card in blocks. Then they call out the number on the bottom, and the player who has that number takes over.

Learn more: Playdough to Plato/I Have, Who Has

20. Deal Uno cards to compare numbers

First grade math student comparing UNO cards with an adjustable greater than or less than symbol

Kindergarten Smorgasboard/Uno Card Comparison via

Some first grade math games are just slightly harder versions of kindergarten ones. Make a greater-than/less-than mat with paper scraps and a brad, as shown. Lay out two Uno cards on each side, since first graders work on comparing two-digit numbers. Swing the arms of the signs around to the correct direction to indicate which is greater.

Learn more: The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

21. Knock down the pins with dot arrangement bowling

Red and blue bowling pins with dot stickers and a plastic bowling ball, used for first grade math games

Cara Carroll/Subitizing Bowling via

Take an inexpensive toy bowling set (or make your own with plastic bottles) and add sticky dots arranged in patterns. Students roll the ball and then have to quickly subitize to determine how many dots are on each pin they knocked down. If they get it right, they get the points!

Learn more: Cara Carroll

22. Navigate a time-telling maze

Telling Time Maze Challenge worksheet with crayons, showing a series of clock faces and times to connect as part of first grade math games

123 Homeschool 4 Me/Time Maze via

Start with the first clock and color in the line that shows the correct time. That leads you to the next clock, and so on, until you’re done!

Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Time-Telling Maze

23. Assemble time-telling puzzles

Firsties should be mastering time to the hour and half hour. These free printable puzzles help them match up analog and digital clock times. Have them say the times out loud as they match them up too.

Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Time-Telling Puzzles

24. Match up plastic eggs

Plastic eggs with analog clocks on one half and digital times on the other half (First Grade Math Games)

The STEM Laboratory/Telling Time Eggs via

This is always a popular way to practice telling time. Draw clocks on one half of the eggs, and write out the times in numbers or words on the other half. For even more fun, hide the halves around the room and go on an egg hunt before you match them up!

Learn more: The STEM Laboratory

25. Put together shapes to make other shapes

First grade math student putting together hexagon and trapezoid blocks to make a new shape

Susan Jones Teaching/Pattern Blocks via Susan Jones Teaching

Use pattern blocks with the free printable cards at the link to get kids playing around with simple geometry. They’ll practice recognizing basic shapes and learn they can use some shapes to make new ones.

Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching/Pattern Blocks

26. Partition and sort shapes

Chart divided into "Equal" and "Unequal" sections. Different shapes of sticky notes are placed in each section, depending on whether they've been partitioned equally or unequally.

Smitten With First/Fraction Sticky Notes via

Gather up sticky notes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Draw lines on them to partition them equally or unequally. Then, have kids sort them based on type.

Learn more: Smitten With First

27. Build and measure with LEGO bricks

LEGO measurement worksheets with colorful LEGO bricks, used for first grade math games

Playdough to Plato/LEGO Math via

Everything is more fun with LEGO! Pull out a pile of square bricks and use them for these fun and free activities that incorporate estimating, measuring, and comparing length.

Learn more: Playdough to Plato/LEGO Math

28. Race and measure with toy cars

First, kids get a little STEM practice by figuring out how to build a ramp. Then, they race toy cars down the ramp, marking where they land. Finally, they compare distances using any kind of non-standard measurement they like.

Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching/Non-Standard Measurement

29. Sort out your classroom toys

Large plastic hoops lying on the floor with math cubes, balls, and plastic beads sorted in them (First Grade Math Games)

BSM Year 2/Sorting Toys via

First graders work on sorting by attribute in as many as three categories. Put out a variety of building blocks, beads, or other classroom toys and lay out some Hula-Hoops. Ask kids to define the categories and start sorting! You can even overlap the hoops into Venn diagrams for items that meet more than one criterion.

Learn more: BSM Year 2

30. Go on a bug hunt

Bug Hunt Graph printable game for first grade math students

Primary Theme Park/Bug Hunt via

Grab the free printable game at the link, then have kids graph their insects as they play. When they’re done, ask questions to ensure they understand the data they’ve collected.

Learn more: Primary Theme Park/Bug Hunt

Like these first grade math games? Don’t miss these 50 First Grade Math Word Problems of the Day!

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Play these first grade math games to practice addition and subtraction, practice telling time, learn how to measure, and much more!

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