16 Fun and Free First Grade Math Games and Activities

Teach them early on that math can be fun!

First Grade Math Games

It’s time to get the message out: Math is fun! To help you convince your students, we’ve rounded up some cool first grade math games they’ll truly enjoy. All of them correspond to the Common Core Math Standards for first graders, so you can feel sure they’re playing and learning.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. WeAreTeachers earns a small percentage of the purchase price if you buy using these links.

1. Face off in Dice War.

First Grade Math Games

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

2. Use 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: 123Homeschool4Me

3. Assemble some addition grab bags.

First Grade Math Games

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

4. Put together 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: 123Homeschool4Me

5. Fill in a number grid puzzle.

First Grade Math Games

These hundreds chart puzzles encourage kids to use a variety of first grade math skills to fill in the missing numbers. They’ll practice counting on, numbers to 100, skip counting, and more. Grab these 10 free printable puzzles at the link.

Learn more: Helping With Math

6. Have a place value scavenger hunt.

First Grade Math Games

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

7. Knock down the pins with dot arrangement bowling.

First Grade Math Games

Take an inexpensive toy bowling set (or make your own with plastic bottles) and add sticky dots arranged in patterns. Your little ones 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: The First Grade Parade

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

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

9. Use shapes to make other shapes.

First Grade Math Games

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

10. Build and measure with LEGO bricks.

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

Learn more: Playdough to Plato

11. Play Shut the Box.

Dice Games Shut the Box Amazon
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. Deal UNO cards to compare numbers.

First Grade Math Games

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 number 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: Kindergarten Smorgasboard

13. Try nuts and bolts for place value practice.

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

14. Sort out your classroom toys.

First Grade Math Games

First graders work on sorting by attribute in as many as three categories. Throw 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 criteria.

Learn more: BSM Year 2

15. 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 ten.” 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 Cs

16. Build and count on.

First Grade Math Games

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

Enjoyed these first grade math games and looking for more? Check out these online interactive math games for every skill level.

If your students love to move, you need to try these 22 Active Math Games and Activities.

16 Fun and Free First Grade Math Games and Activities

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

Leave a reply

It's almost winter break!Celebrate with amazing giveaways >>
+