Using daily number sense activities will help students build basic math skills in Kindergarten and 1st grade! As we know, young students need number sense, or in other words, a good understanding of what numbers are and how numbers work.
Once they understand these basic math skills they then can add, subtract, or work on numbers in general. Establishing a strong solid sense of numbers is critical to preventing learning gaps, and therefore, the need for interventions later on in learning. We, teachers, need to provide number sense activities early on in preschool and kindergarten in order to solidify these basic math skills
The following experiences are critical for helping young learners develop strong number sense:
- seeing numbers in their order
- ordering numbers
- counting orally
- using a variety of manipulatives
- counting on number lines
- using 100 grids
- practicing subitizing (instantly recognizing the number of objects without counting with tallies, dice, etc.)
- playing games with counting and moving spaces
With an understanding of building essential math skills, we’ve listed 6 of our favorite and engaging number sense activities that are designed to build number sense fluency!
*Be sure to grab the TWO FREEBIES throughout this post. The first is a number of the day sample in #2, and the second is a set of number identification flashcards in #3.
Post and Use a Classroom Number Line Daily
In our opinion, the first and easiest number sense activity is a classroom number line. No primary classroom is complete without this daily number line on the wall!
The classroom number line is as important as displaying a word wall or alphabet!
This classroom number line can be used daily for:
- skip counting
- counting on
- Keep track of the number of the day (see below!)
- adding and subtracting
- finding greater than and less than
- playing games
- finding even/odd numbers
- finding missing numbers
- and so much more!
Not only were we building essential math skills with this number sense activity, but our students loved seeing the progression of the school year by watching our panda hop along the line each day! During calendar time, I moved the panda to mark the day of the year as well as the number of the day during our daily math activities.
I found that as a consequence of referring to the number line throughout the year, the light bulbs began to flicker above heads and students were beginning to refer to the number line on their own to solve problems! How awesome is that? We really believe this number sense activity is a must, grab your number line here if you don’t have one already!
Use Number of the Day – FREEBIE
This number sense activity is my favorite! I LOVED teaching the number of the day and boy did my students learn their number sense through the repeated practice of basic math skills and key math concepts!
This number sense activities bundle is perfect for morning work, math centers, and daily math seatwork to review those essential 1st grade basic math skills.
Not only did our 1st grade team love and swear by these daily numbers of the day worksheets, but so did our 1st graders! With the daily repetition of basic math skills, 1st graders become more proficient and more confident when adding, subtracting, and working with numbers.
Students start with simple basic math skills and every 20 pages those math skills gradually increase in difficulty and rigor, building upon math skills from the previous packet. Read all about this number sense activity here and see what each day entails!
Grab a FREE sample of days 1-20 down below:
Use Number Sense Flashcards – FREEBIE
These fun flashcard number sense activities help students become more fluent with number identification (FREE), missing numbers, larger numbers (advanced quantity discrimination), and next number math skills. Use these flashcards to prepare for DIBELS, and other math progress monitoring and benchmarking tests, or use them with RTI and intervention groups.
Easily print these math flashcards on cardstock or index paper (print answers on the back for some), cut, and then you’re ready to go! I like to store and organize these number sense activity flashcards by different colored cardstock so I can quickly grab them when students are learning different basic math skills for easy differentiation.
Check out this Number Identification Flashcards and Games FREEBIE (down below):
Play “I’m Thinking of a Number”
This number sense activity is a great way to practice math skills throughout the day. Hang a set of I’m Thinking of a Number task cards by the hall door and help your students listen, use inferencing skills, and sharpen their number sense skills as they line up for recess or lunch!
Once students feel more confident and are getting the hang of these activities, set them out at centers or math groups. Students record their answers on the included answer form and partners check answers on the included answer key! Get I’m Thinking of a NUMBER HERE!
Practice Subitizing Skills
An important part of number sense is Subitizing. Subitizing is instantly recognizing a number of objects without counting. For example, a student with good subitizing skills knows that this die is the number 2. And likewise, the fingers on the hand show 4 without having to count.
Students demonstrate their understanding of numbers when they play with dice or when they use their fingers to show the answer to a problem, for example. One activity we love using is math puzzles. Have you tried math puzzles yet? If not, grab a FREEBIE on this blog post and read more about how great these are.
Here are just a couple of sample games included in our Subitizing and Flashcards Games Pack!
Students solve each math problem using subitizing skills with tallies, ten frames, dice, dominoes, and basic 10 blocks. After solving the math problems, students turn over the math puzzle in order to check their work. If the picture pieces create a picture, they did it correctly.
If you’re looking for tips and math activities for subitizing read more here!
Play Math Games Regularly
Lastly, an easy and fun way to improve number sense is to play math games that build basic math skills and that use:
- game pieces to count and move spaces forward and back
- 100s grids as game boards
- number lines to hop on
- cards with numbers to identify or order or greater and less
- skip counting
We love these number sense activities and hope you do too. Leave any comments or questions below!
If you liked this number sense activities post, check out these math blogs below:
- Easy Ten Frame Addition Game FREEBIE!
- SUBITIZING Activities for Strong Number Sense + Freebie!
- The Best Way to Practice Essential Math Skills Daily + FREEBIE