20 Fun and Free First Grade Math Games and Activities

It’s time to let your first grade math students in on a little secret: math can be fun! Need to convince them? Try these engaging math games. All of them correspond to the Common Core Math Standards for first graders, so you’ll feel sure they’re learning what they need to know while they play.

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1. Assemble a domino puzzle

Print the free puzzles at the link below. Then grab some dominoes and start filling in the puzzle one piece at a time by placing a domino that adds up to the number shown in each rectangle. The trick is that regular domino rules still apply, so each number must touch another domino with the same number on that end.

Learn more: Games 4 Gains

2. Deal UNO cards to compare numbers

First grade math student comparing UNO cards with an adjustable greater than or less than symbol

Some first grade math games are just slightly harder versions of kindergarten ones! Make a greater than/less than mat with paper scraps and a brad, as shown. Lay out two UNO number cards on each side, since first graders work on comparing two-digit numbers. Swing the arms of the signs around to the correct direction to indicate which is greater.

Learn more: Kindergarten Smorgasboard

3. Play tic-tac-toe with addition problems

Tic-tac-toe boards with addition problems, filled in using bingo daubers (First Grade Math Games)

Work out the answer to each problem in the grid, and dot or circle the ones that add up to 10. First to get three in a row wins!

Learn more: 123Homeschool4Me

4. Knock down the pins with dot arrangement bowling

Red and blue bowling pins with dot stickers and a plastic bowling ball

Take an inexpensive toy bowling set (or make your own with plastic bottles) and add sticky dots arranged in patterns. Students roll the ball and then have to quickly subitize to determine how many dots are on each pin they knocked down. If they get it right, they get the points!

Learn more: The First Grade Parade

5. Navigate a time-telling maze

Printable worksheet with a variety of clock faces, with crayons (First Grade Math Games)

Start with the first clock and color in the line that shows the correct time. That leads you to the next clock, and so on until you’re done!

Learn more: 123Homeschool4Me

6. Face off in Dice War

Pair of dice with a whiteboard with addition problems written on it (First Grade Math)

Dice games are fantastic in the classroom! With this one, kids practice their addition facts and get a little work with subitizing too. The concept is so simple: Each player rolls the dice and adds up their numbers. The highest sum wins that round. This is one of those first grade math games that can be expanded by adding a third die. (You can also use playing cards.)

Learn more: Miss Giraffe’s Class

7. Plant flowers and count on

Flower pots with playdough soil, filled with artificial flowers matching the number shown on the dice nearby (First Grade Math Games)

Pick up some artificial flowers at the dollar store for this springtime garden game. Roll the die and add that number of flowers to your pot. Then roll again and add more, counting on from where you left off. Easy and fun!

Learn more: Fun-a-Day

8. Use sticky notes to make 10

Colorful sticky notes labeled with numbers, outside a circle with the text What Makes 10?

Sticky notes have so many uses in the classroom. In this case, challenge students to put together the numbered notes that “make ten.” They’ll practice adding to 10 with multiple numbers. You can also do this with subtraction, starting at 10, to make zero.

Learn more: Life Over Cs

9. Print a hundreds chart to play Battleship

First grade math students playing battleship with hundreds charts

Help students master numbers up to 100 by playing Battleship, using a standard hundreds chart. They’ll enjoy the strategy (and the fun of crying “boom!” when they sink a ship) while they develop number sense and practice number words.

Learn more: 123Homeschool4Me

10. Assemble some addition grab bags

Colorful paper bags filled with math cubes and plastic bears, with a worksheet called Addition Grab Bags (First Grade Math Games)

Fill a variety of bags with collections of small objects. Kids grab a handful from two different bags, then count and add up the results. Be sure they write it all down to get practice at setting up equations. First grade math games like this one work for subtraction too.

Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching

11. Put together time-telling puzzles

Two-piece puzzles with clock faces and times

Firsties should be mastering time to the hour and half hour. These free printable puzzles help them match up analog and digital clock times. Have them say the times out loud as they match them up too.

Learn more: 123Homeschool4Me

12. Fill in a number grid puzzle

Paper grid with grayed out spaces and white spaces with numbers, some left blank (First Grade Math Games)

These hundreds chart puzzles encourage kids to use a variety of first grade math skills to fill in the missing numbers. They’ll practice counting on, numbers to 100, skip counting, and more. Grab these 10 free printable puzzles at the link.

Learn more: Helping With Math

13. Have a place value scavenger hunt

Worksheet labeled Place Value Scavenger Hunt with clues like 0 in the tens place, with numbers cut from magazines glued in place

Grab a stack of old magazines and use it for a place value scavenger hunt! You can do this one at school or send it home for homework. Get free printables to use for this first grade math game at the link.

Learn more: Primary Theme Park

14. Practice tens and ones with I Have, Who Has

Printed cards saying I have... Who has... showing math cube manipulatives and numerals (First Grade Math Games)

As first graders work with the concepts of tens and ones, play this simple game to give them confidence. Using the free printable cards at the link, the first player calls out “I have… ” followed by the number shown on their card in blocks. Then they call out the number on the bottom, and the player who has that number takes over.

Learn more: Playdough to Plato

15. Put together shapes to make other shapes

First grade math student putting together hexagon and trapezoid blocks to make a new shape

Use pattern blocks with the free printable cards at the link to get kids playing around with simple geometry. They’ll practice recognizing basic shapes and learn they can use some shapes to make new ones.

Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching

16. Build and measure with LEGO bricks

LEGO measurement worksheets with colorful LEGO bricks

Every thing is more fun with LEGOs! Pull out a pile of square bricks and use them for these fun and free activities that incorporate estimating, measuring, and comparing length.

Learn more: Playdough to Plato

17. Play Shut the Box

Wood box with hinged tiles numbered 1 to 9 and a pair of wooden dice (First Grade Games)
This game has been played for hundreds of years, but it’s a fun and sneaky way to practice addition facts fluency! The goal is to “close” each of the numbers in the box from one to nine by rolling the dice. For instance, if a player rolls 11, they may close 1, 2, 3, and 5, as these add up to 11. If no numbers are available to add up to the dice total, play passes to the next player and continues until someone finally “shuts the box” by closing the last available number. You can play this game with a specially designed box, as it has been played for years. You don’t need the box, though; simply have kids write out the numbers 1 through 9 and cross them out as they play.

18. Try nuts and bolts for place value practice

Building Numbers worksheet with picture of child in construction gear and nuts and bolts used to represent tens and ones

Mastering the concepts of tens and ones is more fun with hands-on activities. We love these DIY math manipulatives that use inexpensive nuts and bolts from the hardware store to drive home the idea of place value. (Bonus: Kids also practice fine motor skills!) Get free printable mats to use with this activity at the link.

Learn more: The Measured Mom

19. Sort out your classroom toys

Large plastic hoops lying on the floor with math cubes, balls, and plastic beads sorted in them (First Grade Math Games)

First graders work on sorting by attribute in as many as three categories. Throw out a variety of building blocks, beads, or other classroom toys and lay out some Hula-Hoops. Ask kids to define the categories and start sorting! You can even overlap the hoops into Venn diagrams for items that meet more than one criteria.

Learn more: BSM Year 2

20. Build and count on

Math cubes with printed cards saying "Build 4. Add 8 more. What is the sum?"

Here’s a fun hands-on way to practice counting on and addition. You can use any type of building blocks for this one. Get free printables at the link.

Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching

Enjoyed these first grade math games? Keep the STEM learning going with 30 Fabulous First Grade Science Projects That Little Learners Will Love.

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