Building a love of math plus strong number sense is so important in the younger grades. It is the foundation students need for being able to understand more advanced mathematical concepts.
In order to build strong number sense, young children need a lot of hands-on practice. When we first begin working on number sense, we focus a lot on counting, one to one correspondence, subitizing, recognizing and writing numbers, and comparing numbers.
In order to give kindergarten students the practice they need to master the following core standards, I like to make fun seasonal practice activities that will keep them engaged while learning the following:
- K.CC.4. Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
- K.CC.5. Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.
- K.CC.3. Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).
- K.CC.6. Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.
Count & Write the Room Activity
I love using write the room activities with young students because they get them up and moving and they give them a chance to get those wiggles out! This especially comes in handy the weeks before/after holiday break when students’ excitement levels are up.
Your students will love visiting each card and counting the cute winter objects, recording their responses, and heading to the next one!
They are so low prep and simple to set up! Simply print counting cards with fun winter objects on them and either place them around the room OR on your desks or tables.
They are also easy to differentiate – simply choose which answer page to give each student and send them on their way!
I differentiate mine 2 ways:
Students circle the correct number from 3 given numbers.
Students write the correct number.
Number Sense Play Dough Mats
Hands-on play dough / center mats not only help young students build number sense but fine motor skills as well (win-win)!
I created a fun winter theme to spark student interest and keep them engaged.
Students love making the correct number of snowballs for the snowman!
They also get to add the correct number to the ten frame and trace the number and number word.
The mats can be used in a variety of ways as a play dough mat or a center/small group learning mat.
I differentiated the two sets of number mats by giving students a visual aid for how many snowballs or snowflakes to add above the snowman and NOT giving students a visual aid for how many to add.
The mats can also be used with other fun manipulatives such as pom-poms (use tweezers for extra fine-motor practice!), mini-erasers, bingo daubers, or dry-erase markers.
Hands-On Counting Center or Small Group Activity
This is another easy-prep activity that helps students build number sense and fine motor skills.
This hands-on center can be used with a variety of manipulatives and is perfect for practicing counting, comparing numbers, and ordering numbers.
Simply print out and cut apart strips with numbers on them. Place them in a center with fun manipulatives such as mini-erasers, mini-marshmallows (snowballs), pom-poms, beads, counting cubes, counters, play dough, or any small manipulative you have on hand.
Students select a strip and place the correct number of manipulatives on the strip beside the number.
Easily differentiate the center by choosing different number strips. Choose numbers that students need to practice.
You can also choose to have students compare amounts from different strips. Ask them which has more or less. Work on number order by having them arrange the strips from the smallest number to the largest.
Cut & Paste Option for Individual Assessment or Practice
For some extra cutting and gluing practice and individual number assessment, I use these pages.
Students cut apart snowflakes and paste the correct number on each line.
For numbers 11-20, each pumpkin line has 10 pumpkins across. Students can place an entire strip and then add individual pumpkins to practice tens and ones.
Writing Numbers to 20 Differentiated Practice
In addition to number sense, students also need practice learning to write numbers.
Since I have some students that enter my classroom already knowing how to write numbers and some that can not, I use 2 sets of differentiated practice pages.
Each set has fun winter-themed objects for students to count. Then, they trace the numbers and write the numbers on their own.
The first set has large numbers that show students how to form the numbers. This set is perfect for students who are learning to write.
The second set has numbers within 3 lines. This set is perfect for students who already know how to properly write the numbers but need practice writing within lines.
If you would like to try a Free Winter Write/Count the Room Activity with your students, click the image below.
If you would like to use the winter-themed number sense activities from this post in your classroom, CLICK HERE or on the cover image below.
What fellow educators have said about the number activities:
“We all truly enjoyed this resource while learning and working on our numbers. This is a great resource and I loved seeing the intensity of their engagement and the fun my students were having as they learned. Thank you so much.” – Olivia Owl’s Bilingual Fun
“My kids LOVED this! Great review! Thanks for an awesome product!” – Tip Top Teacher Tools
“SO many ways to differentiate!” – Probably Primary
“great for centers & small groups!!” – Katie T.