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Math Warm Ups That Will Make Your Students Smile

Math warm ups get kids participating, provide practice for skills you are currently working on, and review previously taught skills and concepts.
Math warm ups get kids participating, provide practice for skills you are currently working on, and review previously taught skills and concepts.

Math warm ups look like fun — and pack a lot into a short time. Math warm ups are the opening routine that leads into your math block. Math warm ups get kids participating, provide practice for skills you are currently working on, and review previously taught skills and concepts. (As part of that last bit, some teachers use them as an informal assessment, too.) All that and math warm ups should get kids excited about math — all in 10 minutes or less. 

Whew! Can your math warm ups do that? Are you needing some fresh ideas? 

Try these math warm up games 

Math warm ups are quick, so you don’t want a lot of explanation or set up. Puzzles, games, worksheets, and task cards all work well. Try a sampling of done for you puzzles and games: 

FREE Math Games & Activities

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Or try one of these activities:

Circle it

You can use Circle It for any number practice you need. For example, circle all the odd numbers. Circle all the numbers that are divisible by 3. Circle all the prime numbers. Circle any numbers that are less than 47. All you need to provide is a sheet with a cluster of numbers, and students circle whatever numbers fit the criteria. For a class activity, you can put the number cluster on a chart and ask students to circle one, then call on somebody else to circle another until you’ve found them all. 

Number of the day

Choose a number of the day and have students interact with it in different ways. For example:

  • Write it in numerals
  • Write it in words 
  • Add 15 to the number
  • Subtract 6 from the number
  • Write a word problem with the number as the answer
  • Draw something to represent the number (27 smiley faces for example, if the number is large, use a place value chart to draw the number)

What’s the question

Write a number or number phrase on the board or a chart. (Example—11 or 11 chairs)

Ask: What is the question? 

Students can take turns coming up to write their answer or they can write on slips of paper that you can attach to the board/chart as you read them. For example, if the answer is 11, the question could be “How old am I?”, “What is 10+1?”, “What is half of 22?”, “How many players on a soccer team?” etc. If the answer is 11 chairs, questions might include “How many chairs do you need for 12 people to play musical chairs?”, If you have 6 chairs and I give you 5, how many would you have?” 

Math warm ups with a focus

Need to focus on something specific, like skip counting or shapes? Here are a few ideas: 

Skip counting

A quick game of Buzz (described here) is a great group math warm up game. For individual math warm ups, Skip Counting Puzzles make my students smile. Students also enjoy Dot to Dots, Fill in the Gaps, and Missing Number games. Get these and more skip counting worksheets — done for you. 

Math warm ups get kids participating, provide practice for skills you are currently working on, and review previously taught skills and concepts.

2D shapes

Try a few quick rounds of I Spy with shapes such as circle, square, rectangle … with objects that are part of or found in your room (rectangle flag, round clock, oval rug, triangle desk). Or have kids play 2D Shape Bingo. Give each student a bingo card and start calling out shapes while students mark the correct shape on their card. 2D Shape Bingo also has clues that can be used for “What am I?” Give clues about a shape one by one. Have students guess what shape it is. 

Math warm ups get kids participating, provide practice for skills you are currently working on, and review previously taught skills and concepts.

Telling time

Am I late? Show a time on a clock. Tell students when you need to be somewhere. Ask: Am I late? Tell a time story and have students set up clocks that show the given times. For example, if you said Lamar woke up at 6, students would create an analog and digital representation of 6:00. If you said he got to school at quarter to eight, they would show 7:45 on their clocks. If you said, he put cookies in to bake at 2:15 and took them out 20 minutes later, they would show a clock with 2:15 and another with 2:35. Telling Time Task Cards are a great way to practice multiple time telling skills. 

Math warm ups get kids participating, provide practice for skills you are currently working on, and review previously taught skills and concepts.

Place value

Give each student a card with similar numbers on it. Have them line up in order Largest to Smallest. Or give students a place value chart and enough single digits for them to fill all the places (3 numbers if you are working with hundreds, 4 if you are working with thousands). Have them make the largest and smallest number they can make. Or use Place Value Task Cards. Have students complete as many as they can in 5 minutes. 

Math warm ups get kids participating, provide practice for skills you are currently working on, and review previously taught skills and concepts.

For additional ideas on these topics and more, grab the Math Activities Bundle for worksheets, games, puzzles and more that you can print and use to make math warm ups easy and fun!

Math warm ups get kids participating, provide practice for skills you are currently working on, and review previously taught skills and concepts.

FREE Math Games & Activities

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular teaching tips and updates & get instant access to the free math games and activities PDF:

Powered by ConvertKit

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