Doing math doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many different hands on math activities that you can do to make math more interesting and practical.
Whether you’re looking for some supplemental math activities to do during the school year, some summer break educational activities, or for homeschooling, these activities are great for you!
These hands on math activities can be altered to fit specific age levels and goals.
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Higher or Lower Game
Goals: Estimating, Learning how much things actually cost
Inspired by The Price Is Right game show, this activity can be great for a variety of age levels.
There are two versions to this game:
#1—Given Price Version
For this activity, choose random items from around your house and make signs with fake prices on them for each item. We just used computer paper and a marker to create signs.
Kids have to guess if the actual price of the item is higher or lower than the price on the sign.
For this game to be accurate, you should know the actual prices of the items. You could look at old receipts or websites to get those prices.
This game teaches children what things actually cost, and it helps them improve their estimating skills. You don’t have to know the exact cost of something, but having an estimate can help you get good deals on items in real life.
#2—Next Item Version
If you don’t want to make signs with prices on them, this version requires even less materials.
Find random items from around your house and line them up on a table. Tell or write the price for the first item on the table.
Then, your child has to say if the next item has a higher or lower price than the previous item.
So for example, your first item might be a bag of pretzels that costs $2.79, and the next item is a box of cereal. The child would have to say if the box of cereal has a higher or lower price than the bag of pretzels.
This version also helps with estimating and showing kids how much things cost in comparison to other items.
You could even do this with items that are name brand versus generic brand to show the differences in price.
Goals: Measuring, Area, Perimeter
If your child enjoys playing with Legos, then this is a fun way to incorporate math.
Have your child build things like towers, houses, etc. and then have them measure them with a ruler or tape measure.
For younger children, just practicing measuring is a great idea. If you want to challenge older kids, have them figure out the perimeter of a building by adding up the measurements of the sides. They can also find the area by multiplying the length times the width.
You could give your child a challenge to build something that is at least 2 feet tall or something that has an area of at least 30 inches squared.
Goals: Identifying patterns, Creating patterns
Create patterns using similar objects and have your child tell you what comes next in the sequence.
You can use any items you have at your house. A couple items that we tried are paper clips and coins.
Kids can also try to create their own patterns using objects like blocks, pencils, etc.
Goals: Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying, & Dividing Money; Percentages; Coin Identification
This activity can be modified to fit a wide age range and topics.
For this hands on math activity, you will need to price different things in your house like items in your pantry, toys, books, etc. You can use price stickers, labels, masking tape, paper & tape, etc. If you have younger kids, using play money can make this activity more fun.
After you have your “store” set up, you can have your kids do a variety of tasks that they might do at a store like:
- Adding up the costs of multiple items
- Giving the correct amount of change
- Figuring out how much things will cost with tax
- Figuring out sale prices like a certain % off
- Sticking to a budget
- Deciding which item is the best deal
- Identifying which coins/paper money to use to pay
Goals: Measuring Weights, Making Predictions
This activity will help kids understand that size and weight don’t always correlate. It will also help them learn how to read a scale accurately.
To play this game, you will need some type of scale that can measure the weight of smaller objects. We have a kitchen scale that we use for selling stuff on eBay, but a variety of scales will work for this game.
Pick some different items from around your house to weigh. To make this game more difficult choose some small items that weigh a lot and some large objects that are pretty light. This will help kids see that just because something is bigger doesn’t mean that it weighs more.
Start by choosing two items to compare. Ask your child to tell you which item they think will weigh more and then weigh them separately.
Another variation of this game you could try to make it harder would be to have kids guess approximately how much something will weigh.
Measuring Scavenger Hunt
Goals: Measuring, Comparing Numbers
Inspired by an activity I did in one of my college math classes, a scavenger hunt makes learning about math a lot more fun.
Depending on how old your kids are, you can make this game easier or harder. There are also a ton of variations you can play.
We have included a couple of FREE printable scavenger hunt sheets for you to use if you would like. 🙂
If you would like to make your own scavenger hunts, here are some ideas:
- Find items of certain lengths like 13 inches, 2 feet, etc.
- Find items that are less than or greater than a measurement like less than 2 inches long
- Locate items that are between two measurements like something between 15 and 16 inches
- Find the smallest item you can measure like the point on a pencil, the end of a paper clip, etc.
- Measure all the doors in your house and figure out which one is the widest or skinniest
- Guess who has the longest bed, and then measure them to see if you’re correct
To make this game more interesting, you can give your child a time limit. If you have more than one child, you could have them compete to see who can find everything first.
If you already signed up for our Resource Library, you can access these printables there. You don’t need to sign up again.
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What math topics do you need help teaching your children?
These were just a few hands on math activity ideas, but if you are having a hard time teaching a certain concept, we would love to add more ideas to this post!
Just comment down below with any topics you would like activities for in the future.
What are your favorite hands on math activities?
We would love for you to share any of your favorite math games and activities to help each other out! Just comment them down below!