Warm-Up Games for Math Lessons


Math is a subject with which many children have difficulty, but certain warm-up activities not only make picking up concepts easier and faster, but also make math fun and competitive. Any of these warm-up games can be done in groups or solo, depending on the learning environment.

Mad Minute

  • Mad Minute is a straightforward, simple game. Worksheets of 10 to 60 problems, depending on the difficulty of the problems and the level of the classroom, are handed out, and children are given exactly 60 seconds to complete the problems. Whoever finishes first stands up and yells, "Mad Minute!" After this, the timer is stopped and his answers are checked. If any answer is incorrect, play resumes.

Eggs-Act Sums

  • This is a basic addition game for the lower elementary grades. Divide the classroom into small groups of 3 pupils. You will need a clean, empty egg carton for each person in the class who is playing, a pair of dice for each group and 12 jelly beans for each player. Draw the numbers 2 to 12 in each section of the egg carton, with a taking up one of the spaces. Each group member rolls the dice and adds up the numbers; if one group member rolls a 5 and a 3, he calculates that this is 8 and puts a jelly bean in the 8 space. If he rolls 8 again, he could put the jelly bean in the section. The pupil whose egg carton has a jelly bean in every space first wins.


  • This is a game used to review multiplication principles. It can be played in groups or in the entire class. The "leader" is chosen and then chooses a number between 2 and 9. After this, the leader says 1, the player after that says 2, the next player says 3, etc. This continues until a multiple of the number chosen is reached. For example, if the number 3 was chosen, 6 and 9 would be multiples. At this point, whichever player is reached should say "buzz" instead of the number. If the player says the number instead of "buzz," says it at the wrong time or takes more than three seconds, she is out of the game.

Around the World

  • This is a popular math game for the entire class at once. Large flash cards are needed. Students should sit in a circle, and one student should stand behind another student in the circle. The teacher stands in the middle or outside the circle and holds up a flash card for the two students. If the student standing up gets the answer first, he moves to stand behind the next student. If the student sitting down gets the answer first, he stands and takes the other student's place. The game continues until one student makes it all the way around the circle, when he have gone "around the world."

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