Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Beginning Math Centers

This time last year, I was seriously freaking out. I had been told I would be moving to Prep after spending my first 2 years teaching Grade 1. Yep - I was scared!

Where do I start? What do I do? What if I screw up? How do I know what to teach? 

And the worst, knowing what kids need to have to begin Grade 1... 

How the HELL do I teach these kids all they need to know... IN UNDER 12 MONTHS!!!!! 

I was extremely lucky when I started and had a fabulous mentor teacher who was very open and helped me out a great deal. So now, I would like to pay it forward and maybe help some new beginning teachers the best I can, starting with my favourite part of the day - Math Centers!

I know it can be very overwhelming, thinking about how to begin everything. Math Centers or Rotations are an integral part of my day. It allows my Munchkins to play, explore, and make connections with Maths. It is amazing to hear them talking Maths, and interacting with each other socially.

I have put together some resources I have created for you to access for free to use in your own classroom. All of these have been made with the very beginning of Prep in mind and are easily differentiated to suit different ability levels. Click on any of the images below to access the PDF for each game.

There are also some FREEBIES I have found very useful in the early weeks of school with links to their original pages.

Tens Frame Mats

When you begin Math Centers, make sure to include lots of number work - like, lots! Tens frame mats are a great way to start and you can find freebies all over the place! In the beginning, mats like these with a visual representation of each number are great. You can start my having the kids place a counter or manipulative over each picture, then move those into the tens frame - Don't assume they can count out counters straight away. I always start right at the beginning and move up from there. Make it fun - mix and match different materials, add in sensory materials like play dough or kinetic sand and let the kids play!

Fine Motor Tracing Lines

Another one kiddies need lots of - fine motor! Cutting sheets, tracing, colouring, threading - anything that gets those little fingers working! Cards life these can be laminated and then used with whiteboard markers as write and wipe cards. You will be surprised how engaged the kids get with things like this!

Paper weaving, bead threading, and even q-tip painting are great rotation activities to provide plenty of practise for tiny fingers.

Art For Kids: Paper Weaving:

Maths activity of counting beads on a pipe cleaner. Great for developing number and fine motor skills. Laughing Kids Learn:
Found on babbledabbledo.com

Tons of Fine Motor Skill activities.:
Found on erin-specialeducation.blogspot.com

Tower Mats

More number practise (plus add in a little bit of fine motor by using snap, unifix or multilink cubes too)! These mats come in a range of different themes, and in 3 different levels - Mats with numbers -3, 1-5 and 1-10. Easy differentiation, and great number practise!

Counting Clip Cards

Numbers - TICK! Fine Motor - TICK! See how easy it is to integrate??? These cards are great for early number and a good way to check to see if your kiddies can 1) subitize, 2) count with 1 to 1 correspondence, and 3) match collection to numerals.

Link it up!

Links are fantastic for working of fine motor skills, plus your kids will love them! These little cards come in 2 different sets - one with the numeral only, and another with a tens frame as a guide beneath each number. Kiddies just make a chain of the correct length and feed it through the holes in each card. Alternatively, if you do not own links, you could have your kiddies clip pegs to the cards instead.

Roll and Cover

 This is a great was to help kiddies practise their number knowledge. Just add a die and some counters (or blocks) and voila! A ready to go station.

Number Match 

Very straight forward, and this can be a great assessment tool to see how well your kiddies can recognise numbers in different ways. In the early days you might just use the fingers, tens frames, blocks and numeral, then slowly add in tally marks and number words as they are ready.

Show me!

Very basic cards which can be used in multiple ways. throw these cards in a tray along wth various manipulatives and see what your kiddies can do! Again, I have included a second set with tens frames on them to support those who need it.

The Measured Mom

The Measured Mum is a BRILLIANT home school site run by Anna. She is just fabulous, and loves to share her creations with fellow teachers :) The 3 products below are all downloadable from her site and have links embedded in the images, along with a zillion other resources - Seriously, check it out!


Pattern Block Puzzles are great for Math Centers all year round! Kate from picklebums has compiled a list of links to a huge variety of free pattern block puzzle templates. Click on the picture below to view the links :)

I hope this post has helped you out a bit, and that the resources here are well used!

If you are beginning your teaching journey in Prep I wish you the very best of luck. Remember, Prep is the introduction to school for your 20-something kids - make it fun, and do your very best to teach them to love learning!

I will also be making a post very soon about what the first few days looks like in my classroom with more links to FREEBIES. Keep your eyes peeled!

Until next time, enjoy your Summer break!


  1. Wow these are some awesome resources. How very generous of you to share. I'm not quite a beginning teacher but am moving from year 2 to year 1 next year ( first time teaching year 1) and I have heard some of my students still don't know numbers to ten so I will look into using some of these resources. Thank you! I will also look at the rest of your blog to see if you have any other great things I could use for my year 1s!

    1. Thank you Stacey :) I have taught grade 1 before and yep, I completely understand. There are always kiddies who will need a little more support with numbers, plus it never hurts to review numbers 1-10 for the other kiddies - they love it!

  2. Thank you so much. These are perfect for the start of the year and I admire your generosity.

    1. Thank you Sue :) I hope your kiddies like them :)

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  4. These are fabulous! Thank you for sharing...lots of laminating to do before next year!

  5. Thank you so much for some wonderful ideas, hints, and sharing of your of resources. I am going to be teaching a 1/2 class in 2016 so having a wide range of resources for all abilities will be brilliant.

    1. Thank you Wendy! I hope you have a fabulous time with your brand new little cherubs :)

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  7. Thank you Nerida for sharing your wonderful resources. I can't wait to print, laminate and share them with my 2016 preppies! These must have taken you hours to make, I appreciate you sharing them :-)

    1. Thank you for your lovely words of kindness :) I have been very blessed with many kind-hearted friends willing to help me so I love to pass it on when I can :)

  8. Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful resources. I love updating my activities for the children with new items and these are just fantastic :-)

    1. You are very welcome Bernadette :) I hope your kiddies like them :)

  9. Thanks for sharing your brilliant resources!

  10. Thanks for sharing your brilliant resources!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing Nerida.
    I tried downloading the number match but it isn't working :( Is there another way I can get my hands on it?