Math Center Ideas For Kindergarten That Are Actually Fun

Most teachers are familiar with using math centers in the classroom. Centers provide a great way to practice skills while encouraging group interaction. They also allow students to work with concepts while teachers employ direct instruction with an individual student or small group of students. Centers can provide the perfect opportunity for students to use manipulatives for practice. 

Math instruction, especially for younger students, is often most effective with manipulatives. Children learn math concepts more easily when they are able to touch, move, and see them in action. They can explore challenging concepts with manipulatives, and increase their confidence before moving on to algorithms or memorization. 

Ready to use centers and manipulatives in the classroom, but not sure where to start? Here is an easy way to get started with math centers.

First, choose an area that will store your math centers where students can access them. You may use a particular bookcase, or even a rolling cart that can be moved as needed. Next, choose containers for your manipulatives. Fabric bins with a clear window for labels are a great choice, as you can put one of the manipulatives in the window to identify what belongs in that bin. Even the youngest students can then clean up easily.

 You will also need containers for your task cards (or “recipes”), and a container for the worksheets needed. Worksheets can be placed in clear pockets and students can use dry erase markers if you like the idea of using less paper. Be sure students know where to turn in assignments if you would like to check them. 

Now that you have your “Math Cafe” ready, you can add the assignments to match your needs! Each recipe card should list the manipulatives needed, how many students should be in the group, and worksheets needed. It should also include picture cues for younger students. Students can then choose a recipe card and complete the tasks independently. 

math centers

The tasks do not need to be super involved- just simple, fun, and engaging. Need some help finding the right tasks for kindergarten? Check out my Kindergarten Math Centers Yearlong Bundle. This bundle includes enough math salad bar or math cafe task cards for 14 math units.

math centers

You’ll also get posters, assessments, photos, material lists, crafts, and more!

Here’s a video tutorial on how to set it up in your classroom

 

Your students will love visiting the Math Cafe and practicing their skills!

For more kindergarten tips, check out my post on homework ideas for kindergarten students.

math centers


 

How To Set Up A Math Cafe

Kindergarten Math Cafe

Looking for a NEW way to engage your students in learning math at the beginning of the year? Creating a Math Cafe or Math “Salad Bar” is a great way to hit target skills, engage the students, and free you up to monitor learning. You can use the “recipe” cards as task cards, set up a cafe in your room, or just use the printables in small or whole groups.

math centers

What is a Math Café?

I like to keep all of my math manipulatives in one place, and hold students responsible for cleaning up after their activity. You can make your Math Café out of a bookcase or a rolling cart.

 A student pulls out the manipulative cart (Café). Students choose a recipe card (task card – with the material list, number of people who can participate in the math activity and directions), choose their partners if required, fill their tray with materials, do the activity anywhere in the room, and easily clean up by using a tray to hold their materials. 

You float around and take notes. One task card is labeled “Teacher’s Group.” This can be used when you see a student needs extra help with a concept. They will sit with you to review the concept, if you give them the card. There are also ipad, computer and blank recipe cards.

My Math Cafe Kindergarten Math Centers resource will give you everything you need for your own Math Cafe. 

This resource focuses on counting and cardinality numbers 1-5. 

math centers

Here’s a look at what you’ll get: 

  •  Standards
  • Unit 1 Counting and Cardinality with Numbers to 5 Directions, Suggestions, and Links
  • Materials List Needed for Activities
  • Task Cards (“Recipe Cards”) 1 Blank, 1 Teacher Station, 1 Computer Station, 1 ipad Station
  • Trace Write Draw Activity
  •  Read and Roll Card with Printable
  • Spin and Color the Fish
  • Spin ROLL Doh WRITE
  •  RACE CAR Game
  • Race and Roll to the TOP
  • Cover It –Spin a Number
  • Roll and Color a Picture
  • Number Order (count on from a given number)
  • Trace the Numbers (using sheet pan, magnetic numbers)
  •  Roll and Color (5 Frame)
  • Roll and Build a Cube Tower
  • Bowling with Markers
  • Roll and color the Bugs
  • Roll and Cover Caterpillar (with pom poms)
  • Race and Roll to the Top with Number Words
  • Count and Color the Number
  • Color by Number (Roll a die.)
  • Assessment Numbers 1-5
  • Small Posters for Touch Math Numbers 1-9
  •  Posters for Numbers 1-20 with Ten Frames
  •  Rules Sign
  • Math Café Sign
  • Recording Data Sheet for Teacher
  • Pictures of Set Up

 

Here is a helpful video about how to set up a Math Cafe or Math Salad Bar for math centers in your kindergarten classroom! 

 

 

If you love this bundle, you’ll also love my Math Centers Yearlong Bundle! It includes 14 units along with the Math Cafe bundle above to keep your students engaged with fun math centers for the entire school year.

math centers

math centers

For more Kindergarten math center fun, check out this post here! 

How do you like to make your math centers more engaging? Let me know in the comments!