Having fun with math facts almost sounds like an oxymoron. Math facts are so often known only as a dull set of numbers that we all have to memorize. But can I tell you a secret?
I think math facts are fun… like, really fun! And I became the teacher that was determined to get her students to have fun with math facts too. I’m not just talking fun math facts games (although we will definitely get into those!), but fun math facts worksheets, fun ways to practice math facts…everything you need to get your students feeling like a math facts pro and to actually enjoy the process!
Read on for my top 10 ideas to have start having some fun math facts practice!
How To Have Fun With Math Facts
Before I dive into the examples of all the fun ways to practice math facts, let’s dive into some basic principles first. The main reason students don’t enjoy math facts is that trying to learn them can feel hard and boring. So to take the hard and boring OUT and build in some FUN with math facts, there are three things we have to think about: Timing, Progression, and Materials
One of the biggest struggles teachers have is finding time for math facts. It wasn’t until I scheduled a specific time for math facts into my week that I started seeing improvement. Sometimes you have to get creative!
And don’t worry – it’s actually much better to just spend 5-10 minutes a day rather than trying to create a big chunk of time for math facts. I like starting math off every day with 5-10 mintues of fluency work. But you can also squeeze it into a transition in another time of your day!
One of the biggest problems I see in math fact learning is a lack of clear progression. You can spend all the time in the world on your math facts practice using the fun math games out there and you will not see any results if you are not using a progression based on strategy and sequence.
This is the first step in having fun with math facts, because nothing is worse than feeling like you’re not making progress. When students can learn their math facts in small sequential steps, they can feel successful and they start getting excited for more!
So break the facts down into groups, and teach one group at a time. Don’t move onto the next group until most of your class has mastery!
Having hand-on opportunities for your students to learn is not only crucial for becoming a math facts pro, but it is also one of the most fun ways to teach math facts! When it’s time for math facts learning, break out the unifix cubes, double-sided counters, ten frames, number bonds, crayons, and those cute little erasers!
“Manipulatives and pictures are one of the most helpful and fun ways to practice math facts.”
And switch things up as often as possible! As teachers, we know we have to switch things up all the time to stay one step ahead of our students’ attention spans. Well, we definitely need to do the same thing for math facts. So if you’ve done worksheets one day, try games the next, and maybe a computer game the day after that, and then color by numbers and then… well you get the idea.
10 Fun Math Facts Practice Ideas
Okay, I know you’re ready, so let’s bring on all the fun ways to practice math facts! We’ve got fun math facts games, fun math facts worksheets, and so much more. This list of activities will actually get your students asking “When is it time for math facts??” I know it’s true—because it happened to my students!
Whole Class Math Games
Math games are great, but whole class math games are fun on a different level. Check out these games – they get students having fun, moving around, and fully engaged:
If you’ve been with me here at Love Grows Learning for a while, then you know I LOVE using the arts to reinforce learning. So of course, I love to weave in math craftivities whenever I can. Here are a couple examples of math crafts that can help students master their math facts:
Like so many educators, I got hooked on Boom Cards during our distance learning phase. But not all Boom Cards are created equal. Look for Boom Cards that have multiple ways of learning and that provide various modes of practice for students:
Anytime we can take math outdoors is always a big success. These simple chalk activities are great for helping students learn their math facts:
Color By Number
Ah yes, Color By Numbers – sometimes a debated topic among educators! If you’re on the fence about them, read this article about why you can totally use them as a valuable part of your math fact fluency practice. (That is, if they correspond with the progression you’ve chosen to us!)
Partner games are a great way to motivate students to make progress with their math facts. There are lots of game choices out there, but I prefer ones that target a specific set of math facts to help students build mastery in a progression:
Most math facts worksheets are boring, but let’s face it – students need serious repetition to remember math facts. Luckily, there are some fun math facts worksheets out there that are creative and different. They provide multiple ways for students to practice and learn:
There are so many fun card games out there for students to practice their math skills with! Here are a few fun ones:
Intentional Flash Cards
The word “intentional” is important. Flash cards sets that include all the math facts from 0-20 or that have unfamiliar formatting can be overwhelming and discouraging for some students. However, if you use flash cards that correspond with the group of math facts in your current sequence, students will feel much more confident!
Individual Math Games
There are so many fun math games out there that students can play by themselves. This is a great choice because so often students are at different places in their math facts journey. Giving them their own game lets them work at their own place in the progression – which is a whole lot more fun!
I hope you enjoyed these ideas! Remember, just 5-10 minutes a day doing these activities can transform your students’ mastery with math facts.
Which idea are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments. Xoxo Laura