6 Fun Activities for Math Fact Fluency

Learning addition and subtraction facts comes easily to most students, but for some, it can be very difficult. Once we finally get them to understand the concept of addition, subtraction, and number relationships it’s important to move on to developing automaticity with facts. Sometimes our standards for this skill seem unobtainable. But with a little practice, a lot of repetition, and some friendly competition success is certain. Here are 6 fun activities for fact fluency.

Grab these 5 fun activities for teaching fact fluency in your classroom.

Why is fluency important?

As teachers we know that fact fluency is a student’s ability to recall basic facts quickly, accurately, and almost effortlessly. Once students master fact fluency, they will have this knowledge for years to come. This allows them to move on to more complex skills and problem-solving. When students don’t master fact fluency early on, they often times will continue to struggle in math in the years to come. Basic facts will take all of their time and energy to defeat them before they can even begin.

Mastering fact fluency is a very important foundational skill.

Teaching Fact Fluency

To master fact fluency students need practice, practice, and more practice. Repetition is key to success. In my classroom, I found holding a friendly competition really kept my students engaged. Adding prizes and incentives is also a great idea. They go a long way when we need our students to put forth a little bit of effort.

6 Fun Activities for Fact Fluency

1. Flash Cards

I know what you’re thinking. Flashcards are boring, and you’re not wrong. Most kids won’t think it’s any fun to flashcards over and over again. They are a great tool for mastering fact fluency though. The ease and quickness of going through a set of flashcards make them worthwhile. Not to mention how effective the repetition is. They are also easy to prep. All you have to do is print and cut the sets out for your kids and send them home in a plastic baggie. I found that the key to making flashcard practice fun is to have an awesome incentive.

Flash cards are a great tool for teaching fact fluency when an incentive is used also.

In my classroom, I had my students work toward building an ice cream sundae. Every Friday I would pull each student to the side and quickly check to see if they had mastered the week’s set of facts. If they had, they got to color in a part of their ice cream sundae on their sheet. So, the first week after mastering their “plus zeroes” they would color in their ice cream bowl. Then, I would send home the next set of cards and they would practice at home for the week. The next Friday I would pull them and continue the process until their entire ice cream sundae is complete and colored. They were so excited each week to master their facts. I also love this way of teaching fact fluency with flashcards because students are allowed to work at their own pace. They are only measuring progress against their own accomplishments.

Once they completed their ice cream sundae they got to have a real sundae in class. You can imagine their excitement and motivation to reach this goal. I did the same thing with subtraction fluency but changed it up to building a pizza.

2. Timed Practice

I know this method is highly debatable with great points on each side. In my district, it was a non-negotiable, so I had to find a way to implement it and make it fun. Every quarter they were tested on their four-minute fact fluency as a benchmark. In our classroom, I found the best way for me to incorporate this was to begin our math class with it daily and make it routine.

Timed practice for math fluency is highly debatable. If you want to use this method this is a great way to do it.

I gave each student a fact fluency booklet. We would start off with a page of 20 mixed practice problems. Once they mastered the page with 20 problems, I would move them to a page with 60 problems. Each morning they would get their fact fluency booklets out and have four minutes to answer as many problems as they could correctly. When the time was up, we would quickly check their answers. Once you get these procedures established it goes very quickly and can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Adding this to your routine becomes an easy way to add daily practice for your students!

3. Track Progress in a Fun Way

In the back of their booklet was a bar graph they would use to color in their correct answers. This is a great visual way for students to track their progress. You’d be surprised how motivating this was for them. However, if you find that your students need a little more than just self-motivation in this area, try using an incentive program for timed tests as well! Young students are typically very motivated by prizes or parties and it will add an extra element of fun to your classroom.

The system I like for Math Fact Fluency actually combines timed tests with the pizza and sundae incentive program I mentioned. Personally, I loved to use an incentive system that can be used again and again throughout the year to help ensure the children understand how it works.

At the beginning of the year, we might focus on using the system with flashcards, and then as they progress, use it again for timed tests! Through repetition and practice, students will gain automaticity and have fun working towards classroom parties in the process!

Give this fact fluency program a try by grabbing the month of September for FREE in the VIP Library.

4. Digital Practice

Technology is such a huge part of our classrooms. I always loved to incorporate digital practice any way that I could.

Practicing fact fluency digitally is a great idea.

Boom cards were one of my favorite ways to do this. I love Boom cards because they are so interactive and give immediate feedback. There is nothing better than that. Students can complete them quickly and enjoy themselves while doing so.

Digital slides are another great way to practice fact fluency. They are easily adaptable to meet all of your student’s individual needs. They are also great for distance learning and everything in between. I have a great Fact Families Digital Activity here for you to check out.

5. Music

Music is such a fun way to master a skill, especially in the primary classroom. It is so easy to add to your day. If you can find a good catchy song for fact fluency, it will be super helpful for them to remember their facts. Jack Hartmann is one of my favorites. This song helped my students learn addition facts.

The kids always enjoyed singing along to the songs and watching the videos. I would have them playing when they walked into class in the mornings. We would also listen to the songs during math class. There are so many times throughout the day you can play a quick song. Plus, it always brightened my day to see my sweet students singing and dancing to their facts songs.

6. Color by Number

Color by Number activities are a great fun way to practice fact fluency.

We consistently used color by number practice pages for both addition and subtraction fact fluency in my classroom. My kids loved completing them for homework, in math centers, and on Fun Fridays. I loved them because they offered repetition in a fun way, and they were super easy to differentiate. I would have some students working on addition facts, some working on subtraction facts, and some who had a sheet of mixed practice problems. Not to mention how easy they are to prep. They are literally print and go! You can’t beat that!

Grab some FREE color by number addition and subtraction fact practice here! Your kids will love working on them, and you will love that you can use them any time of year. And, if you are looking for more you can find these in my store on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have a set for just about any theme and holiday so that you can have fun coloring by number all year long!

Your students will love color by code all year long with these seasonal pages for all four seasons.
These weather themed color by code activities will help your students practice addition and subtraction math facts
These winter themed addition and subtraction math fact activities will engage your students with lots of fun practice.

Save these ideas for developing math fact fluency

Be sure to save this pin to your favorite math Pinterest board, so you’ll be ready to get your students mastering their math facts with fluency.

Grab these 6 fun activities to teach math fluency.

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