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


 

Using Games In The Classroom

Games are an important part of childhood. From sports to board games, children all over the world play together to learn social skills and have fun. However, games haven’t always been a welcome strategy in the classroom. In the schools of the not-so-distant past, they were something kids were to do on the playground or at home- but not in their classrooms. Fortunately, thoughts have changed. We now know that games can teach important skills while students have fun! 

If you’re ready to get your students more excited about learning, pull out some classroom games. Students will be more motivated to pay attention to the subject matter, and will be more engaged. They will positively associate learning the subject matter with having fun. This will increase their success with the material, and make your job a little easier!

Your kids will also develop stronger critical thinking skills while playing games. Depending on the object of the game, they might have to try new strategies, think ahead, or switch plans. In addition to content mastery, students learn social skills while playing classroom games. They experience winning and losing, taking turns, and co-operating. These skills are necessary for working with other people even in adulthood. 

One of my favorite classroom game sets is Kindergarten Math Games. It is designed for pre-k and kindergarten classrooms to make practicing important math skills more fun (check out my Kindergarten Math Salad Bar here)! It includes several options for single players to complete on their own as well as games for two players to take turns. Students will learn to count and recognize numbers 1-6 while playing the games. You can simply print the game boards out, give students a 6-sided die, and let the fun begin! 

Games

Another resource available for FREE right now is the 10 More Or Less Game. It is ideal for students in grades K-2. This activity helps students understand the number concepts of 10 more and 10 less. It can be played as a whole group so you can help students understand how it works. Then students can play with small groups or partners. Your kids will love learning math skills while having fun with their peers!

Games

What games do you like to play in the classroom? Let me know in the comments!

games

Election and Voting Activities for Kids

Teaching students about the importance of voting in a democracy is very important.  Now more than ever kids are curious about politics. So, how can you teach students without getting too political? If you teach about elections and the voting process instead of using real political candidates, young students will still develop an understanding of how elections work, the responsibility of voting and how their feelings tie into the process. Election and voting activities for kids can be simple.

Here are some things your can do to teach about voting:

  • Share books like Grace for President by Kelly Dipucchio or  Vote for ME! by Ben Clanton.
  • Talk about commercials, signs or local leader positions.
  • Write opinion papers about voting or elections.
  • Discuss how feelings help make decisions.
  • Hold a class pet election.
  • Students can take polls about favorite snacks or sports.
  • Make a voting booth or box. Have ballots for students to pick their end of the day activity.
  • Create a class campaign for a class mascot with posters, stickers and commercials.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, lead by example. Let them see your “I VOTED” sticker or tell them how you take time out of your day to vote.

Ideas for PARENTS to do with children to help them learn about voting:

  • Take your child to vote and discuss why you are voting for a particular candidate.
  • Write a letter to an elected official as a family.
  • Talk about how peaceful protesting is patriotic. Loving a country means speaking up when we disagree with actions.
  • Share your beliefs with your child.
  • Discuss how people all have different ideas and how to respect each other.
  • Read a book about voting, democracy or citizenship.
  • Point out signs about elections and discuss how they help us learn about candidates.
  • Let the family vote about what is for dinner.
  • Vote on a family vacation.
  • Use math to explain how we count results.

Virtual Teaching about Voting

Google Slides and Forms make it easy for students to learn about the voting process. You can create a poll using Google Forms to send to your students virtually. Share the results with the class over a live virtual meeting.

Election and Voting Activities for Kids

Check out the K-3 Google Slides for teaching kids about the voting process.


If you are needing some tips for teaching while social distancing, check out my post here! 

Classroom Jobs For Kindergarten To Third Grade

Building a community and sense of belonging in your elementary classroom is so important. You want your students to feel excitement about being  in class! We all know that our kiddos learn a lot more during their elementary school years than just the primary subjects. They learn how to listen, share, be kind, make friends, and more. It is important that we build on that with our activities and curriculum to help them grow not only into great students, but into great human beings as well. 

Classroom Jobs

A wonderful way to focus on those essential skills and  get your students more engaged in the classroom is to create classroom “jobs”. This will help build that excitement, community, and a sense of belonging in your students from the very start of the school year!

Classroom jobs don’t only help your students, they help you too! It helps keep your classroom in order and will make it possible for you to focus more on the more pressing things that need your attention! 

To start utilizing this fun classroom management technique, you’ll want to begin by making a list of tasks that your students are capable of assisting you with. Make a giant list, ideally one per student in your classroom and then assign it to your students. You can keep it the same throughout the school year or shake it up every so often so your students can learn how to do multiple jobs. 

This editable Job Chart is perfect for helping students take ownership and feel responsible in their classroom. There are 25 pre-made jobs with various ways to organize or you can use the editable PowerPoint to personalize your own job chart! 

classroom jobs

The natural beach theme with pineapples and palm trees will make it easy to fit into any classroom! 

Classroom jobs to choose from:

  • Attendance Helpers
  • Media
  • Book Monitor
  • Computers
  • iPad
  • Pencil Captain
  • Paper Passer
  • Caboose
  • Line Leader
  • Board Monitor
  • Meteorologist (Weather Chart Included)
  • Absent Keeper
  • Folder Checker
  • Backpacks
  • Kindness Keeper (two Kindness Board Posters INCLUDED)
  • Gardener
  • Cleaning Crew
  • Door Holder
  • Cubby Inspector
  • Homework Checker
  • Messenger
  • Desk Assistant
  • Lights Inspector
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Vacation (4 types of ON A BREAK Job Cards)

Using a classroom jobs system can become a very fundamental part of making your classroom run smoothly! Do you like to use classroom jobs? Let me know your favorite thing about it in the comments below!

 

For matching beach theme classroom decor, check out my post here!

Classroom Jobs Chalkboard