6 Popsicle Stick Math Activities (Hands-on Learning for Math Centers)

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Updated | 3 min read

Ah, popsicle sticks. They have so many uses in the classroom, and if you are looking for quick and effective math activities for your math centers, it’s time to grab a handful of these handy sticks!

Popsicle Stick Math Activities

There’s little question that hands-on learning can help kids retain knowledge, so we’ve put together a series of popsicle stick math games that are both fun and effective!

Dotty Pops

So, let’s get started with Dotty Pops! I used colored dot stickers and basic popsicle sticks that can be purchased from most dollar stores. Also, I opted to use the larger-sized popsicle sticks.

Take a look at our Counting collection for more teaching resources.

You can use this popsicle stick math activity to teach:

  • One-to-one correspondence. Ask your students to practice counting the dots by pointing to them.
  • Ordering. Ask your students to order the sticks from the smallest number of dots to the largest and vice versa.
  • Represent and solve simple addition and subtraction problems. Ask your students to select two sticks from a mystery bag and provide them with these Blank math Vocabulary Symbols.

Popsicle Stick Multiples

Working onmultiplication facts? Popsicle Stick Multiples can be used in lots of different ways when your students are learning to skip count and apply multiplication strategies.

Don't miss our Multiplication Gears Resource Pack

I love to use popsicle sticks in conjunction with the posters and worksheets included in our Multiplication Gears Resource PackHere are a few activity ideas:

  • Lead a whole class math activity or math warm-up by calling out a multiplication problem — for example, 5 x 3 = — and ask your students to hold up the correct popsicle stick to reflect the product.
  • Flip things around by holding up a craft stick displaying a product and encouraging your students to write the corresponding multiplication number sentence.
  • Encourage your students to work with a partner to recall facts and show the correct craft stick.

Don’t miss our Multiplication teaching resource collection. You’ll find posters, hands-on learning materials, resource packs for parents, games, worksheets, and a multiplication worksheet generator.

Clip Counters

This popsicle stick math activity is bursting with color and magnetic fun, and it’s incredibly easy to put together for your math centers.

You will need:

  • colored popsicle sticks
  • magnetic strips
  • magnetic numbers
  • colorful paper clips (make sure they are metal and not plastic).

Differentiate by giving your student the same learning tools, but mixing up the activity! For example, four differentiated activities might include encouraging your student to:

  • attach the correct number of paper clips to match the given number 0-10 ( in ascending order).
  • attach the correct number of paper clips to match the given number 10-0 ( in descending order).
  • working with a partner to add a magnetic number and the correct number of paper clips (in random numerical order).
  • doubling the magnetic number and attaching the correct number of paper clips.

Popsicle Stick Puzzles

Your more confident learners are going to love this math activity with popsicle sticks: Just be sure to double-check your calculations!

These popsicle stick puzzles speak for themselves. Most importantly, this math activity can be used to encourage higher-order thinking. You could even challenge your students to create their own. To get the richest learning experience, don’t give too much away. I tried this with my son and simply passed him the popsicle sticks and asked – “What could we do with these?” It was fascinating to watch his brain ticking as he worked towards the solution.

Color Code Sticks

This super simple idea is ideal to use as one of your math center activities.

Primary students can explore color matching and pattern, while older students can explore polygons and angles!

For more ideas head to our Polygon Puzzles.

Shape Sticks

Are you teaching the names and properties of 2-D figures? Your students will love this hands-on math activity! What’s more, it’s the ultimate math group activity. Keep your Shape Sticks in labeled zip-lock bags, and use them time and time again.

Your students will learn the names and properties of shapes. You can easily extend learning by encouraging more confident learners to measure the angle of the vertices!

To sum it up, if you aren’t using popsicle sticks in your classroom already, it’s time! As you can see there are so many effective ways to use the frugal craft stick to create engaging hands-on math activities.


For more genius ways to use popsicle sticks in your classroom, check out 9 Clever and Creative Ways to Use Craft Sticks in the Classroom.

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  • Sandra Twumasi

    Good one there,more activities are needed

    • Alison Smith

      Hi Sandra, I'm glad that you liked these ideas! I hope that your students love them too. Have a great day, Ali

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