Monday, 25 April 2016

Hands on Maths!

When I saw this linky (hosted by Mrs. Wills Kindergarten) I knew it was one I just had to join in with! Hands on activities instead of worksheets is the best way to teach maths to little learners, and during my years in the classroom I have collected a TONNE of ideas. :)  There's no way I could share all of them in just one post, so here's a few of my favourites:

At the beginning of the year when we are learning all about numbers (some kidlets working on just recognising them) I love to bring out the hula hoops and do some sorting!  In the above photo you can see that the blue hoop holds all of the items representing the number 1, and the pink hoop is anything else.  We did this for each number (and also for shapes) and it sparked some really great discussion.  I used a lucky dip bag for each kidlet to pull a card or item from.

By punching holes in any number flashcards you can create a hands on number line!  Great for number recognition, counting and ordering.  I love using my plastic chain links.

Speaking of chain links, we also use them for this task.  Matching various representations of each number. :) Click on the image to see this product in my store.

Another easy counting activity is to thread beads onto pipecleaners.  I use a sticky label to attach a number to each one. This is great for a number warm up, fine motor group or in a 'Fast Finisher' tub.

Our 'Number Monster' makes an appearance a few times each week.  You can use any flashcards or objects and have your kidlets feed the monster.  This activity is super easy to differentiate!  Simply ask each child a question appropriate for their stage of learning.  For example "Feed the monster the number 4", "Feed the monster a number more than 7", "Feed the monster the number that is 1 group of ten and 6 ones", "Feed the monster 2 numbers that equal ten."  The options are endless really.  Be sure to give your monster an authentic 'NOM NOM NOM' sound - the kidlets think it's hilarious!

I personally think games are the easiest way to include hands on activities during maths small groups.  This one works on numbers to 20 and is a freebie in my store (click on the image to find it).  Kidlets roll the dice and add googly eyes to their monster.  The first to 20 wins!

Another monster game! (Yes, I do love monsters!) For this one I hide 5 little monsters behind random numbers on my hundreds board (mine's a pocket chart).  Kidlets take turns to ask "Is there a monster behind the number ...".  You'll be surprised at how enthusiastic your class will become about this game! I used it initially as a 5 minute time filler, but it quickly became a regular carpet time activity.

I love this winter themed counting task!  Kidlets read the numeral or number word and add buttons to their snowman or 'marshmallows' to their hot chocolate.  This is also a freebie in my store - click on either of the images!

OK... it must be time for an idea that's not all about number!

I love a good craftivity and this one is perfect to use when teaching mass.  Simply provide your kidlets with a template (or have them write it - depending on what time of the year it is!), a paper triangle and rectangle.  They simply glue the pieces down to make a 'seesaw' scale and draw themselves and another object. :)

One of the easiest concept to get hands on with is definitely patterning.  I always found it difficult to find an activity that kidlets could complete independently (without just playing around with the manipulatives I'd given them - although that's definitely appropriate some times!).  I made these cards to use with pattern blocks - kidlets simply flip to a pattern, copy it using the blocks and then continue it themselves! Click on the image to see this pack.

Last (but not least!) I have a Pinterest board dedicated to hands on maths ideas.  Click here if you'd like to follow it!

I hope you've gathered an idea or two from this post. :) Make sure to click through the other blogs linked up to grab some more great ideas.


  1. Where can I get a copy of the Find the Monster Number ID game? I would really like to use this with my class but don't see a link to the game. Thanks!

    1. Hi Dana! That game is just one that I use with my hundreds pocket chart. The numbers were a freebie from TpT that I got years ago - but you could use any hundreds chart/board (or even just numbers 0-20 etc. if that was your focus). The monsters are just clipart that I printed and cut out to hide behind the numbers. Hope that helps!


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