Make Learning FUN with 50+ Hands-On Math Activities!
Do you love math? I’m guessing that like many people, your answer is probably no!
Math can be frustrating to kids if the concepts are hard to understand. Also, math requires a significant amount of memorization, and a lack of recall on the basic math facts can slow kids down and cause them to get answers wrong. No one enjoys being frustrated by tough concepts or humiliated by wrong answers!
When my oldest son was about 11 years old, he announced that he hated math, but this kid also did things like time his Hot Wheels cars so that he could calculate how many feet per second they were traveling. He didn’t hate math – he just didn’t enjoy math worksheets.
Math is so much more appealing (or at least more tolerable) when you add a hands-on dimension. Here is a collection of activity ideas for math in the elementary years – 1st through 5th grade. If kids can understand the WHY behind math, it will become much easier to learn. Also, plenty of experience and practice in math will lead to solid recall on the facts, making work quicker and more accurate.
Hands-On Place Value Activities
Here’s a collection of Place Value Activities for second grade, or ages 7-8. Use playing cards, index cards, math manipulatives, and more.
These LEGO Place Value Mats make it easy to set up a LEGO math station at home or in the classroom!
Hands-On Addition and Subtraction Activities
Here’s a collection of Hands-On Addition Activities that use simple materials from around the house. This easy bead “calculator” is the best!!
Here’s a collection of Math Card Games for First Grade that will help kids memorize the facts. These games use regular playing cards and also Uno cards.
Math Facts Baseball – Kids will love this competitive game! It’s a great way to practice both addition and subtraction, and since kids will need to choose which operation gives them the best advantage, it’s great for overall math sense.
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.
How about some LEGO MATH? We have tons of LEGO math activities for kids. This LEGO First Grade Math Pack (free) has printable pages for addition, finding the missing addend, measurement, and more.
As crazy as it sounds, you can use those Pop It’s Toys for Math Games! Work on addition and subtraction, as well as arrays and more. See them here: Bubble Pop Math Games.
“Magic Math” Addition Practice – This is such a fun twist on math practice. Have students solve addition problems or subtraction problems. Write the answers below the student’s answers in white crayon, and the students can paint over them with watercolors to watch the numbers “magically” appear! It’s a fun way for them to check their own work.
Here’s an easy to way to Teach Addition with Regrouping Using LEGO Bricks. This is a printable activity.
LEGO bricks are the perfect hands-on item for making this concept clear!
Hands-On Multiplication and Division Activities
For beginners, this LEGO Arrays Multiplication Game is just the thing. Roll two dice to find the dimensions for your array. Then build it on your game board. The first one to cover their game board wins!
3-D Multiplication with a LEGO graph – This multiplication graph is SO COOL to build! Once it’s finished, there are so many observations you can make.
Multiplication Football – a fun game that is very easy to make!
Multiplication Snack Store – the storekeeper figures the total, takes the money, and makes change! This is so much fun because younger siblings can participate too. And, you get to eat snacks!
Candy Store Math Problem – Challenge students to design boxes to hold different numbers of candies. This works well with LEGO bricks, but you can also use math cubes, buttons, or any type of manipulative. Students will draw their final results on graph paper.
I have an entire post dedicated to Hands-On Multiplication Activities, so head over there if you need more ideas! There are activities with muffin tins, toy cars, egg cartons, marbles, and more.
Hands-On Fraction Activities
Explore fractions with play dough, post it notes, M&M’s, and more!
Head over here to see Hands-On Fractions Activities.
It’s so much fun to do fractions outside with sidewalk chalk!
I have other Sidewalk Chalk Math Games here.
Of course, LEGO bricks work GREAT for teaching fractions!
You can see all our LEGO Fractions Activities here.
Telling Time Activities
This Paper Plate Clock is one of my favorite activities for kids who are learning to tell time!
Hands-On Money Activities
Here are Five Activities for Coin Counting Practice that use simple supplies from around the house.
Use muffin tins for coin counting!
Or explore different ways to make 25 cents using coins.
My favorite is the “Fair or Not Fair” Trading Game!
Learning to make change – This is such a hard concept. Hands-on really helps!
Hands-On Graphing and Measurement Activities
Venn Diagrams – Wipe off markers and toy animals make this seem like playing!
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. Seriously, there are so many good skills that come from this! And you end up with a nice clean bookshelf.
Use seashells for graphing! These ocean themed math activities are fabulous to do over the summer or anytime that you are studying the ocean in science.
See them here: Ocean Themed Math Activities
How many Legos does it weigh? A fun introduction to weight and using a balance.
Here’s a fun Graphing and Probability Activity with LEGO Bricks!
Grab a paper bag and some LEGO bricks, and you’re ready to go.
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.