Hi friends I can’t wait to share some super quick, and easy DIY math centers for building number sense. These are SOOO easy you probably already have everything you need in your house or classroom and could probably make all three in about a half hour.
1. Number Matching Spoons:
I saw a similar idea on Pinterest a while back using clear spoons and white spoons for matching letters and thought “Hey, I could totally use that for number matching!”
All you need to do is number a white set of spoons 1-20 (or whatever number you would like to go up to). Then on the clear set draw matching sets of dots for each number. Make sure the numbers are close to the top so that there is plenty of room for your sets of dots near the bottom.
Students can practice putting the numbers in order and matching the numbers to their sets. When the clear spoon is on top of the white spoon, voila you can still see both! So smart, I love it!
After they are all matched, to build fluency, you could call out a number and see who can find and grab it the fastest.
2. Cupcake Tin Numbers
Here’s another number sense idea that is SUPER easy I promise. Grab a muffin or mini muffin tin depending on the difficulty of numbers you’d like students to practice. I used a mini muffin tin so that I could include numbers to at least 20. Then I numbered the inside of the cupcake liners 1-24.
Students find the numbers and put them in order.
Then for a number id game, have students set the tin on the floor and play “pom pom drop.” Each student takes a turn drops a pom pom and then names the number that is covered. Since they can’t see the number, they will have to work on different strategies to figure it out (counting on, counting back, or even just starting at 1 and counting up.)
You could use the same set up for practicing counting out a number of objects as well. With a mini muffin time the objects would have to be very small (bead, counters, etc.). Students could fill each cup with the correct number of items and visually see the size of each number, great for building number sense.
3. Grab and Compare:
This center is the best because it literally requires ABSOLUTELY NO PREP! Do you have a tub of manipulatives? 2 popsicle sticks? Great, you’re ready to play!
Each student grabs a handful of manipulatives and counts them out. Students then decide who has more/less and use the popsicle sticks to show the inequality. The student with the most wins and keeps both groups manipulatives.
If both groups are equal students can put the manipulatives back in the tub and grab again.
4. Number Roll and Write:
Last, I have a little freebie for you. This is another “No Prep Needed” center. Just print the graphs, grab some dice and students are ready to practice number recognition and writing.
You can download this center here: