Math Warm Ups

Math warm-up activities allow the mind to relax and lower the stress of working on math. It also creates a safe environment for practice and focuses the mind. Messing up during a game isn’t nearly as frustrating as it is on a homework problem. The games should be easy and mostly review.

Practicing basic math facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division for just 10 minutes a day will lead to automaticity of all math facts. This frees up the brain to harder math which is exactly what we want!

Often homework can feel overwhelming. I know my middle school son feels desperation set in if the homework packet is more than two pages. He needs help with structuring his time. Here’s how we structure math homework time.

Studying math facts for 10 min. each day leads to mastery!

Math Warm Up Ideas


Hands-On Math Warm-Ups and Games

Math Warm Up


All-time favorite!  Write math facts on blocks individually.  Pull each block out and have child recall the math fact.  Don’t limit your writing to just numbers.  Try drawing di patterns or area models for multiplying too.  Grab my Jenga tutorial for making a set of blocks to use many times with dry erase surface.  Subscribe to the Library of Goodies below.

Math Warm Up

Island Conquer

Great game to warm up for math.  Draw two cards, then sketch the area model on game board and finally write the quantity inside.  Grab your own copy from Laura Candler.

Math Warm Up
Object of the game:  Get rid of all the cards in the deck by matching card sums (add up to) of 13.  Ace is equal to 1, Kind equal to 13 (free card), Queen equal to 12, and Jack equal to 11.  Possible match would be a 3 of hearts and a 10 of spades.  Another example would be an Ace and a Queen.

Set Up

  • The Pyramid: The pyramid is made up of 28 cards, in 7 rows. Each card is partially covered by two cards from the next row.
  • The Stock (Draw): The face down pile on the bottom left. It is used to draw cards from and put on the Waste.
  • The Waste: The face up pile next to the Stock. Cards on the Waste can be matched to cards in the Pyramid to get rid of the Pyramid cards. E.g. you can drag a 4 from the Waste onto an open 9 on the Pyramid, and then both those cards will be moved to the Foundation, and are out of the game.
  • The Foundation: The pile on the bottom right, where cards that have been removed from the Pyramid are put.

Game Over

The game is over when either the player has successfully matched all cards or when the stock pile (draw) is empty.  Virtual version of this game can be found here.


Object of the game:  Player with the most cards wins.

Set Up

  • The Deck: 52 cards are shared equally between two players.
  • Add or Multiply:  Decide if you are going to add or multiply cards for this game.
  • The Play: The player who is the youngest goes first.  Each player holds their deck of cards face down.  On the count of three, each player will draw two cards face up.  Each player will then add (or multiply) their cards.  The player with the highest amount keeps all cards drawn.  If players get the same amount, a war is declared.  Both players draw four cards and add (or multiply) their cards.

Game Over

Play is over when neither player has any more cards.  The highest amount wins all of the cards drawn.

Math Warm Up


My friend Denise created awesome game boards to help students practice both addition and multiplication.  You can download them for free here.  In order to download them, you’ll need a free Teachers Pay Teachers account.

Math Warm Up

Make a Ten

Object of the Game:  Be the first player to 100.

Set Up

  • Bowl – To roll dice in
  • 5 Dice – Each player takes a turn rolling the dice.  The player then looks for as many sums of 10 as they can see with two or three dice.  Examples would be 5, 3, 2 or possibly 5 and 5.  For each group of 10, a player earns 10 points.  If a player gets triples of any number, they can add that sum to their total.  For example, if a player rolled 3, 3, and 3.  They would get to add 9 points to their total.
  • Scratch Paper – Each player must keep a running total of their points earned.

Game Over

The game is over when a player reaches a total of 100 first.



  • Quick Math (Shiny Things): This is a great app for iPhone an iPad. Various levels of difficulty and students write answers on the screen vs typing in the answer. My kids like racing against their own time.
  • Thinking Blocks Fractions:  With this app you can solve word problems involving fractions and whole numbers. There are 6 problem solving models to choose from, with an easy drag and drop interface!
  • Number Pieces:  Inside of this app, students build numbers using pieces that represent their value.  Students will recognize these as they are Common Core Math friendly.  Use this app to practice working with place value and to warm up the brain to work with visual representations of math equations.
  • Math Vs Zombies:  Kids love gross stuff, why not put zombies and math together.  This app is Common Core Math friendly and works towards helping students understand concepts as well as memorize facts.


Computer Games

  •  Lots of great games to practice basic math facts quickly.  Although, it does have a younger child feel to it, it can be beneficial to practice.
  • Math X-Lines:  My students have always loved this game and my kids do too!  It’s simple to play, shoot the ball at the other that matches up to the sum you are trying to make.  Like if you were working on sums of 10, you would shoot a 3 at a 7 ball.  Serious fun.
  • Crazy Taxi:  Another fun game for math fact practice in a non-threatening environment.  Only annoying thing about this site is the ads.  You have to listen to 5 minutes of them before the game turns on.  Consider purchasing a subscription.
  • Timez Attack:  This computer based game is a fun one as players run through various worlds and solve problems.  I like that the problems have dice patterns and such to help players learn their math facts.  The only draw back is the timer.  My child gets overwhelmed with the timer counting down on him and it can get in the way of him learning the facts, caution there.
  • Solve Me Puzzles (Visual Algebra Equations):  This is a very popular game with my students because it’s all visual and starts out at an easy pace and increases in difficulty as we go on.


Copyright © 2018 Math for Middles | Adrianne Meldrum | All Rights Reserved | The Tutor House, LLC    |   Flaticons and Emojione have been used on this site.

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