Fun animal-themed math games and activities that helps kids learn counting, sorting, graphing & measurement skills!
Math has always been an issue at our house.
My son LOVES math! We were constantly looking for fun ways to expand on different math concepts that he enjoyed because he was always working ahead in that area.
Now my daughter -- NOT a lover of traditional math at all :)
Worksheets & math books make her cringe.
But she really enjoys hands-on activities and reading so my goal has always been to find interesting ways to engage her (read that: trick her, as she would say) into doing more math.
Math is one of those things that requires daily practice -- BUT it doesn't have to be the boring do-a-worksheet kind of practice.
There are a lot of fun ways to integrate math into fun activities so kids are not only learning but also having a great time while they play!
15 Animal-themed Math Activities for Kids
Daily practice is how they build their skills and become 'number proficient'. During the summer months, most kids will lose two months of mathematical skills!
I know - shocking!
Math is just one of those subjects that builds on itself -- so daily practice and real-life application (eg. hands-on activities) are the best way to cement those concepts.
The term 'math' can be so general, so I thought I would organize the activities based on the most common math topics that kids are learning.
In addition to the math activities, we're also including affiliate links for math items that are great to have around the house! Introducing your kids to fun tools that make math a LOT more enjoyable will go a long way in the "this is fun to learn" process.
Since these activities are all related to animals, they would be perfect to do in conjunction with a visit to the zoo, nature center or aquarium too.
Counting, Sorting, Addition & Subtraction Activities
Manipulatives (which can be any small items that are able to be used for these math activities) are perfect for counting, sorting and adding.
Having things that your kids can touch and manipulate (move around) make the activity more visual than just having numbers on a page. And since all kids learn different, it's always a great option to have manipulatives available for those kinetic and visual learners.
Since our focus is on animals, try these animal-themed items:
- Eureka Tub Of Animal Counters (especially if kids are learning to count to 100)
- Small stuffed animals you have around the house
- Wooden Animal Stack & Count Math Game For Kids which is wonderful for young kids!
- Even food items like Animal Crackers are perfect too as you can see with this fun counting activity from I Can Teach my Child.
Use the manipulatives with the following activities:
Grab a handful of clothespins for these 18 Clothespin Learning Games & Activities! Great for building hand and finger strength while learning and some fun animal-themed games to try.
Inspiration Laboratories created a very engaging math activity that can be used to practice counting, addition or subtraction -- all you need are some small plastic animals and a few plastic bottle caps!
If you have kids who are learning to count money, let them create Coin Creatures and then add up the value of their animal. Connections Academy has some free printable templates to get you started.
And hop over the visit The Measured Mom for a free set of animal counting & addition worksheets -- because I know some kids really love to do fun worksheets!
Measurement Activities for Math
One of the best tools to have for measurement activities is a Kid-size Tape Measure.
Seriously, your kids will pull it out to measure a book, a chalk line, their feet, YOUR feet -- you get the idea.
It will get a LOT of use over the years -- especially with the following activities:
Challenge your kids to Draw a Life-size Whale with this awesome outdoor measurement activity!
And I love this activity from All Done Monkey -- draw out the sizes of the wingspans of birds and compare them to your own wing/arm span!
Elementary Shenanigans did a similar activity with a group of kids -- having them all lie down head-to-toe to see if they were as long as a blue whale!
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational has a fun activity that measures the height of various dinosaurs!
Or how about comparing your foot to that of a dinosaur with this activity from I Can Teach My Child.
Kids will also love to grab a measuring tape and size up various Artic animals! Gift of Curiousity provides us with the height/length of 4 popular Artic friends.
And if you want to integrate some books, try these 10 Math Books & Tools for Learning to Measure too!
Graphing/Area Math Activities for Elementary Students
Grid or Graph Paper is the perfect tool for graphing activities -- and older kids think it's really cool to have paper with tiny squares :)
Grid or graph paper can be used to make bar graphs, line graphs and plot points in the four quadrants. It's a great thing to introduce before middle school where it's used quite a bit in both math and science classes.
If you have a set of miniature animals like the Safari Ltd Woodland Animals TOOB around the house, younger kids can do some basic graphing by finding ways to compare the animals.
You can have them draw a simple bar graph showing:
- animals with/without feet,
- animals who like/don't like snow,
- animals who fly/swim/live on land, etc.
Krokotak has a wonderful origami paper activity that uses graphing paper block animals.
Another fun idea using grid paper is to have kids of any age draw an animal out of squares -- First Grade Wow shows us how kids can compute the area of the animal.
And here's a super fun math game: Plot Points on a Map Scavenger Hunt -- great for older kids to do!
MORE MATH ACTIVITIES: