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Growing Math Confidence in Kids

As a 1st-grade teacher, I’ve had the privilege of watching hundreds of little minds grow, especially growing math confidence. From relatable lessons to hands-on activities and just plain encouragement, here are some of my favorite strategies for growing math confidence in kids.

Make Math Relatable

Kids often ask “Why do we need to learn this?” when it comes to math. Yes, even in first grade, I hear that question a lot.

By using relatable examples such as counting apples at a grocery store, dividing toys among friends, or measuring ingredients for a recipe, we’re showing them the practical uses of math. The more they see math as a useful tool rather than just a subject, the more inclined they are to approach it with curiosity and confidence. Overall, keep talking about math to grow math confidence in kids!

Related: Printable Math Games for the Classroom

Incorporate Hands-On Activities

This is where the magic happens! When students can physically manipulate objects and see math in action, it becomes more understandable and less intimidating. I’ve always been an advocate for hands-on learning.

math centers in a snap logo | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

For example, using simple items like counting beads, number lines, or even everyday objects like building blocks can be transformative. These tangible tools not only reinforce math concepts but also provide a sensory experience that deepens understanding and retention. Of course, there are a lot of cool math hands-on activities to grow math confidence in kids.


If you haven’t introduced your students to the magic of geoboards yet, you’re in for a treat! Geoboards are fantastic tools that we’ve been using in our classroom to dive into the world of shapes and basic geometry.

First, think of a geoboard as a fun-sized playground for rubber bands. It’s a square board dotted with pegs, lined up neatly like the rows in our classrooms. Our little learners can stretch rubber bands around these pegs to craft all sorts of shapes – triangles, squares, rectangles, you name it!

I’ve found geoboards especially helpful during our shape units. While we chat about triangles and squares, our students are busy creating their versions on their boards. 

Use geoboards year-round with ready-to-go activities for every holiday and season. 

You can also build visual and spatial skills and grow math confidence in kids with this geoboard bundle of fun activities!

Encourage Fact Fluency

Of course, math facts are so important! Help students recall their facts with the Circle the Sum Math Fact Fluency game. First graders absolutely love this game to help with their basic math facts {and it’s a great review for second graders, too!}

To play, students circle as many pairs of numbers that add up to the target number. I love using these with partners, stations, or even independent work to grow math confidence in kids. Also, this print-and-go activity is so easy, you’ll want to try out the Circle the Differences Math Fact Fluency game as well. 

Finally, fostering math confidence in children is a combination of relatability, hands-on experiences, and encouragement. As teachers, our role is to provide the right environment and resources for our kids to flourish.

With patience, persistence, and a little bit of play, every child can grow their math confidence. Remember, it’s not just about getting the answer right; it’s about enjoying the journey of discovery!

Want to read about some of my favorite Math Tools? Check out this post!

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