Daily Number Sense Activities

Teaching number sense and place value in first grade is an all-year-long kind of skill. As with most topics in the primary classroom, practice makes progress when it comes to number sense! For this reason, I recommend weaving number sense activities into your daily routine. Curious as to how we do that in my classroom? So glad you asked! Today I'm sharing my whole number sense teaching routine! 

Using fun and engaging activities like these will make your daily number sense learning a breeze.

When it comes to teaching young students about the ins and outs of place value, I love to take a varied approach. I find that working in small groups with my kiddos as well as encouraging independent practice is a great technique for taking a deep dive into this topic. Personally, I find this skill to be a fun one to teach, so I have no problem working these activities into our day. 

Start With A Great Introduction 

I'm a fan of whole group introductions to new topics. When it comes to number sense and place value, I have found that using a set of magnetic base ten blocks as well as magnetic tens frames provides the perfect visual to display during our lessons. I wrote about these in my post all about my favorite teacher tools, but essentially they are just like regular base ten blocks and tens frames, except they are large and you can stick them up on your classroom board so that everyone can see. I love these tools for group instruction as well as for use during small groups!

Use magnetic base 10 blocks like these as a great visual aide for your students.
At the beginning of the year, we are focused on numbers 0-20.  This is a great review of what students learned in kindergarten. We review all of the numbers and work on a variety of skills with each one.  With each number we will name the number (number identification), build the number with place value blocks, build the number in a ten frame, and represent the number using tally marks.  We will also do some decomposing of numbers as we review basic addition.  

Typically, I'll run through this example with several numbers.  It's always the perfect time to do some math talk and have students talk about what they notice about the numbers.  It's a great way for students to start to notice number patterns.

Once we have reviewed numbers 0-20 then we move on to larger numbers.  By building these number sense lessons into the beginning of the math block, we can get into a routine that takes only a few minutes.  This daily review of place value and number sense skills really helps students to master the concepts.  

Work In Depth During Small Groups 

This base 10 value work mat is an engaging hands on way to help your students as they practice daily number sense.
It is essential that students grasp the concept that a group of 10 units equals one set of ten and numbers added to that will be represented in one's place.  In order to do this, I like to use a lot of hands-on manipulatives in small groups. Setting the stage with your group introduction is a wonderful start, but young students really do need hands-on practice to have the most success in grasping this concept. 

Supply your kiddos with base ten blocks as well as any type of manipulatives you have like mini erasers, snap cubes, or counters of any kind. I also like to give my students math work mats to elevate this activity. I have different math mats for building a number with base ten blocks, number bond building and splitting a number into parts.

Typically, I will introduce one mat at a time with my small groups and have the children work on forming numbers I call out for a while before moving on to the next one. I like to laminate these mats and give my students can easily use manipulatives or dry erase markers on them.  We use them over and over again so the lamination really helps them last.  

Small groups is a great place to model and provide hands-on practice.  And . . . it is the perfect place to identify and guide any struggles that students are having.  Once students have learned how to complete an activity then I will often move it into an independent math center.  It's the perfect way for students to continue to practice these important skills.

Add Daily Number Sense Practice Pages

Speaking of getting more practice in, what could be better than daily number sense books for learning all about place value? In my room, I create a book of daily practice pages for my students to dive into independent practice of the skills we have learned. Each page in their book features a number of the day and is centered around a variety of activities for that number. Some of the things we target in our daily practice pages include:
Use these engaging daily number sense worksheets for independent practice in your classroom.
  • Tracing & Writing the Number 
  • Finding the Number on the Number Line 
  • Filling in Number Bonds
  • Filling in Tens Frames 
  • Identifying Tens & Ones Place Value 
  • Working With Equations 

These practice pages start at 1 and build up each day until the students reach 20. I love having these bound into books that students keep at their desks, so they can flip back and review numbers we have already worked on. I also include a copy of a math vocabulary chart in each book as a reference page. This page comes in handy as students are still getting comfortable with this topic! 

Reinforce Concepts with Digital Activities 

This topic requires frequent and consistent practice for students to reach a mastery level of understanding. So I am a fan of also adding some digital practice activities to continue to support learning. During centers, I like to set up my technology center with a digital version of our practice pages. The digital activities cover all of the same topics touched on in the printed pages to really help this concept sink in! 

Digital activities like these number sense activities are great for independent practice or center activities.
I like to assign these in centers a day or two after students have already worked on the printed version for each number. Since they have already worked on that number in their practice books, this makes it the perfect activity to review during centers. 

Alternatively, the digital format is an excellent resource to use when teaching the whole group. To do this, I display the Google Slides on my classroom board and run through the activities with my students. 

This is a wonderful way to provide a visual example to your students before sending them on their way to complete the activity independently. 

I also find the digital version of this activity helpful as an assignment for students who were absent for a portion of this lesson. And. . . if you happen to teach in a school with 1:1 technology it is a great way to connect those technology skills with math.

Stay Consistent with Number Sense Activities

As I mentioned, teaching place value and number sense is an all-year type of skill in first grade. Students need many opportunities to practice this skill to reach mastery! Over the years, I found that using this blend of activities is perfect for teaching, practicing, and reinforcing this important skill.  These no prep activities make it really easy to incorporate number sense into our daily math routine. 

Try Them in Your Classroom

If you are wondering if these number sense activities would work well in your classroom, try them out for free!  Get a sneak peek when you download the freebie! This will give you a good idea of what to expect from these activities.  But don't stop there, try them out in your classroom and see just how easy it is to add a few minutes of number sense practice to your day.

Grab this FREE daily number sense activity set to use in your classroom today.

Grab Your Number Sense Activities

If you're looking to get started with number sense in your classroom, you can check out all of the activities I mentioned in this post in Month 1 of my Number Sense & Place Value activities bundle. 

Grab this month 1 of place value and number sense activities.

To meet the needs of my students, I created a full year of number sense practice that follows this teaching framework. Each month comes complete with practice pages you can bind into a book as well as some kind of activity for your small groups. Start out with numbers 0-20 and work all the way up to 120 and beyond by month 9! Check out the full bundle of First Grade Number Sense Activities or the digital version to get started planning your number sense activities for the year. 

This bundle is perfect for helping your students practice and master number sense with fun and engaging activities they will love.

Save these Number Sense Activities

Save these easy to use number sense and place value activities to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you'll be all set when it comes time to plan your place value lessons!

Teaching number sense with fun and engaging activities will help students not only learn but master the number sense concepts. With worksheets, digital activities, independent work, and center activities, your students will have differentiated ways to practice daily number sense. #numbersenseactivities #dailynumbersense #baseten #base10 #teachingnumbersense

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