Growing up, math was never my favorite subject. I was fortunate to have a really gifted teacher my junior and senior years in high school for pre-calculus, analytic geometry, and probability & statistics that helped me to see that math is really not awful after all! I want my kids to see how mathematical thinking relates to life. I want them to explore mathematical problem solving, and they might even discover that they enjoy it. My oldest recently announced that he hates math, but this kid does things in his spare time like time his Hot Wheels cars racing through a homemade track and figuring out how many feet per second they were traveling. He doesn’t hate math – he just doesn’t enjoy math worksheets.

Math is so much more appealing (or at least more tolerable for those who don’t prefer it) when you add a hands-on dimension. Here is a collection of activity ideas for math in the elementary years – 1st through 4th grade.

And just to clarify… We don’t do “fun” math activities all the time. Mastering the facts is an important part of math education! But it’s fun to throw in a hands-on project every now and then to keep math fun and practical.

20+ Hands On Activities for Making Math Fun! Grades 1-4

Addition and Subtraction

Math Facts Baseball – Kids will love this competitive game!

20 Hands-on Activities for Making Math FUN!

Card Games for Practicing Addition

Christmas Tree Math (Addition)

Hands On Ideas for Making Math Fun

Musical Composition with Math – This is one of my absolute favorite math activities! It’s addition practice with a musical twist – click the link for all the details.

Part/Whole Relationships with LEGO – Improve kids’ word problems skills with this LEGO activity.

Hands on Ideas for Elementary Math

“Magic Math” Addition Practice – the answers magically appear so students can check their work in a fun way!

Hands On Math Activities

LEGO Math Activities for First Grade – Greater than/less than, missing addend, number bonds, and measuring.

Multiplication and Division/Fractions

LEGO Grouping – Grouping items is an important skill to master before learning multiplication.

Hands On Ideas for Elementary Math

3-D Multiplication with a LEGO graph – Perfect for really understanding multiplication.

Multiplication Football Game for Practicing Math Facts

Multiplication Football – a fun game that is very easy to make!

Hands On Ideas for Elementary Math

Multiplication snack store – the storekeeper figures the total, takes the money, and makes change!

Learning about fractions with LEGO

Hands on Math Ideas for Elementary

Candy Store Math Problem – Multiplication and Division with LEGO

Telling Time

Hands on Math Ideas for Elementary School

Paper Plate Clock


Fair or Not Fair game – A game about trading coins. Are the values equal – or not?

Hands on Ideas for Elementary Math

Four Activities for Coin Counting Practice

Learning to make change – This is such a hard concept. Hands on really helps!

Patterns and Combinations

Hands on Ideas for Elementary Math

Teaching patterns and combinations with ice cream flavors – Make sure you have ice cream to eat after this one!

Graphs and Measurement

Hands on Ideas for Elementary Math

Venn Diagrams – Wipe off markers and toy animals make this seem like playing!

Hands On Ideas for Elementary Math

Favorite Candy Survey and Graph – Conduct a survey of favorite candies and graph your results! Facebook is a great tool for taking your survey.

Book Sorting and Graphing – Use the books on your shelf to explore categories, organizing, tally marks, and graphing

Hands on Ideas for Elementary Math

How many Legos does it weigh? A fun introduction to weight and using a balance.

Need more math ideas? Head over to Creekside Learning for the Ultimate Guide to Hands-on Math for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. Tons of ideas!! You’ll want to pin this post to come back to.

20+ Hands On Activities for Making Math Fun!


Post a Comment
  1. Julie @ Creekside Learning Aug 20, 2014

    Math was not my favorite subject either, growing up. Isn't that interesting that we both write a lot about fun ways to learn math for kids now? Thanks for including one of my post's in this great round-up. Off to share. :-)

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  4. Cheri Dec 12, 2015

    Such fun, I really like the Venn diagram activity.

  5. Christina @There's Just One Mommy Jan 13, 2016

    We love doing hands-on math activities at home! This is such a great collection of ideas. I love the 3-D Lego graphing idea. So fun!

  6. Nicola Jun 14, 2017

    Great ideas!!

  7. Sheldon Soper Dec 1, 2017

    A deck of playing cards can provide dozens of ways to practice skills like mental math, fractions, inequalities, and number sense. Depending on the targeted skills and/or age groups, You can get creative and modify favorites like War or Go Fish or stick to math-heavy favorites like Cribbage to achieve a large number of learning aims.

  8. Pratibha soni Oct 8, 2018

    Yes, I love all of these.Thanks for sharing this information with me. It is very helpful to me. I came across another blog


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