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Math Center Ideas for Kindergarten

There are many benefits to including small group math centers into your daily schedule. Math centers are a great way to reinforce math concepts and allow hands on practice for students. Teachers can gain better insight to their students’ understanding through focused math centers. Spice up your math center rotations with these math center ideas for kindergarten.

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Number Sense Center Ideas

Identifying, counting, and representing numbers are foundational skills students need when developing a strong number sense. Practice and repetition are key when choosing number sense centers.

  1. Matching Quantities to Numbers – Students use a variety of manipulatives to show a quantity. Have students use different types of objects to strengthen their understanding of representing numbers in more than one way. Dice, counting chips, magnetic numbers, dominoes, snap cubes, and Legos work great for this activity.
  2. Domino Match Up – Students match playing card numbers with dots on dominoes. Encourage students to find all the variations on dominoes.
  3. Fill Up Ten Frames – Students choose number cards and represent the number with different materials on ten frames. We love swapping the material out for this one to keep it exciting. Play-Doh, mini erasers, Bingo Markers, and small candies work well for this center.
  4. Ordering Legos – Provide students a bag of Legos with numbers written from 0-20 (differentiate depending on the needs of your students). Have students stack the Legos by placing them in the correct order.
  5. Popsicle Stick Ordering – Write numbers 0-20 on popsicle sticks. Students will shake and spill the sticks from a Ziploc bag and place them in the correct order.

Addition Center Ideas

Help your students develop a deeper understanding of addition and build fact fluency with these center ideas.

  1. Clothespin Addition – This is a fun way for students to model addition using a popsicle stick and mini clothespins. Simply write a plus sign on the middle of the stick and provide students with addition flashcards. Students will model the equation by clipping the clothespins on each side of the plus sign.
  2. Fact Fluency Eggs – Use the halves of plastic Easter eggs to help students match equations and build fact fluency. Write the parts on one half of the egg and the sums on the other half of the egg. Students spin the eggshells to match the equation to the sum.
  3. Tube Addition– Students will use tubes (toilet paper rolls work well) and counters to model addition with this hands-on activity. Attach two toilet paper rolls to a whiteboard using Velcro. Add a plus sign between the tubes. Students will create addition sentences by sliding marbles down each tube. The marbles will slide into a container where students will be able to count the sum.
  4. Part – Part – Whole Plates – Use 3-part plastic plates or divide a paper plate into part-part-whole sections for this meaningful center idea. Student will pick a number card and create an addition equation to match their number using the part-part-whole plates.

Subtraction Center Ideas

Any of the addition centers mentioned above could be modified to work for subtraction and here are some more ideas to fill your center rotations.

  1. Subtraction Smash – Students will smash balls of Play-Doh to model subtraction in this engaging center. Write a subtraction sentence on a whiteboard and make small balls of Play-Doh to represent the equation. Students then smash the balls to take away and solve the equation.
  2. Subtraction Bowling – Use paper cups or toilet paper rolls as “bowling pins” and model subtraction by bowling the pins down with a small ball. Students write a subtraction sentence to represent the pins they knocked down.
  3. Ziploc Number Line – Practice using a number line with slider Ziploc bags. Draw a number line at the top of the Ziploc bag under the slide. Students will use the slide to move along the number line and solve subtraction equations.

Instant Math Centers

All of the math center ideas for kindergarten mentioned in this post are easy to prep using materials you already have in your classroom. But, Simply Kinder has you covered with instant, low-prep math centers as well. Check out some of the options below!

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Roll and Cover Game: This can be played independently or in a pair! Students will roll the dice and add up the dots. On their recording sheet (get the freebie below!) they cover up the correct number when they get that sum. Use manipulatives such as mini erasers, colored counting chips, cubes, or any small item to cover each one up. You can use the colored copy to laminate and use it for many years to come. Or use the black and white version to have students color in each number when they get it. There are also pages with dotted lines for students to practice writing the numbers as well! Once all the numbers are “covered up”, the student wins the game! Another differentiated idea: use dice with dots, or numbered dice, depending on the skill level of the students. This is such a fun game to get students excited about learning addition!

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What math center ideas do you have? We’d love to hear! Please make sure to tag us on Instagram here or share inside the Simply Kinder Teacher Facebook Group here.

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching for any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things Kindergarten, and low-prep learning ideas that your students will love. Be sure to stay up to date with all things kindergarten on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and through email. Simply Kinder: where teaching Kinder is definitely better together!

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