Math Warm-up Ideas for the Classroom (Easy to Set Up)

Holly (Teach Starter)

Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

Are you looking for some fresh new ideas for math warm-ups in the classroom?

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Trust me, I know what it’s like. As a teacher, you understand the importance of math warm-ups. At the start of term, you plan five days’ worth of quick and purposeful math warm-up ideas for your classroom and reap the benefits. However, what about the subsequent 40 odd weeks of math warm-ups?

A teacher’s time is precious! Don’t spend hours ‘planning’ for your math warm-ups. Remember to teach smarter not harder, spend some time setting up the ideas, and then re-use and re-purpose. Pick ideas that can be easily adapted for a variety of mathematics topics.

Don’t reinvent the wheel  – use some of these quick and easy math warm-ups in your classroom all year round!

Math warm-up ideas for the classroom

Math Warm-up Ideas That Won’t Take Up Precious Planning Time

Following on from a very popular blog of ours, 23 Math Warm-Ups for your Classroom, here’s a collection of even more ideas that you can put in your collection of math warm-ups.

(1) Downloadable Math Warm-up PowerPoints

We have a collection of downloadable Math Warm-up PowerPoints ready to download and use! Save the PowerPoint to your desktop for easy accessibility!


We’ve recently added a Grade 1 and Grade 2 math warm-up PowerPoint to our collection. Each of these PowerPoints provides a series of mathematical warm-up activities that cover areas across the math curriculum.

Stay tuned for more of these awesome PowerPoints for other grades coming soon!

(2) Play Simple Games

Playing simple games on the carpet that don’t require any preparation is another simple way to get your students in the right frame of mind for some mathematics thinking.

One game I used to play a lot of in the classroom was – Around the World. It’s quick, easy, and can be changed to suit whatever you may be learning in the classroom. Also, if you feel your students need some outdoor fresh air – you can easily take this math warm-up outdoors!

Math warm-ups and fresh air = a match made in heaven!

Take your math warm-ups outdoors

Here’s how to play Around the World:

  • Students sit in a circle.
  • One student is picked to stand behind the class member next to them (these two students will play first).
  • The teacher asks a question such as, what is double 5?
  • The student who answers correctly first moves ‘around the world’.
  • If the winner is the student standing they simply move to the next student sitting down.
  • If the winner is the student sitting down they stand and move around the outside of the circle.

(3) Sticky Notes, A Whiteboard, and Some Fun (I Mean Sums)

So, there is something about using sticky notes on the whiteboard that is exciting to students. Not sure why, but let’s go with it and use it to our advantage.

In Emma’s awesome blog, 36 Tricks to Make Learning Stick, she shared some fantastic ways to utilize some everyday items found in any classroom.

Whether it be long division, regrouping, missing addends, or simple sums, write them on the whiteboard. Then, students can choose from a selection of sticky notes to fill in the blanks.

Simple and easy math warm-up ideas for the classroom.

(4) Use a Deck of Cards

The old faithful deck of cards can be used in a multitude of ways! For some awesome games check out our blog, Nine Nifty Ways to Use a Pack of Cards in the Classroom.

Here’s just one simple way you could use a deck of cards as a math warm-up. Project our printable place value mat onto your interactive whiteboard, then, randomly pull out four cards from your deck of cards.

Here’s what you can get your students to do with the four cards:

  • Students make the largest number they can with the four numbers.
  • Make the smallest number they can with the four numbers.
  • Get students to add the four numbers together.
  • Students pick two numbers to create a fact family tree.

Printable place value mat.

(5) Number Charts for the Win

Utilizing hundreds charts and number charts in the early years’ classroom is another simple way to get your students’ mathematics brains active!

Use our Numbers 21-130 charts in a variety of ways. Print the black and white versions and laminate them so they can be used again and again.

Here are some activity ideas:

  • Get students to fill in the gaps on the hundreds chart.
  • Have students circle all of the even numbers on the first row in green.
  • Then ask the students to circle all of the uneven numbers pink on the second row.
  • Get students to close their eyes and point to a number – that is their number of the day and they can fill out our Number of the Day worksheet.

The options are endless with a number chart!

Use numbers chart for maths warm-up ideas.

(6) Target Number Activity

Check out our brand new resource – Target Number Math Warm-up Activity! Once printed and created this takes no time to set up! I would suggest printing the target backdrop on a legal sheet of paper and laminating it.

Target Number Maths Warm-Up

Use the editable circles to print numbers for the middle of the target. This can suit the needs and requirements of your students.

Students then have to write as many different sums that equal the target number as they can.

Turn it into a faster activity by getting students to write one sum on a sticky note and sticking them around the target poster.

(7) Large Craft Stick Ladder Activity

This math warm-up idea is gold! Yes, it takes a little time with the initial making of the activity, however, no time to set up once it has been created.

Try and make a class set so that each student has their own each time. Alternatively, in pairs is another great option!

The basic concept is that students get handed the full set and they begin with the craft stick that has ‘start’. They must find the matching answers to the math questions until all of the craft sticks are in order.

Super easy math warm up ideas for the classroom.

Put a rubber band around each set in a basket and students can randomly pick a set for a quick math warm-up idea.

(8) Print Out Our Number Talks

We have recently added a huge collection of number talks for each year level on the website. Having a collection of these stored in a basic folder at the front of the classroom will provide an endless amount of math warm-ups for your classroom.

The aim of our number talks flashcards is to develop your students’ mental math and flexible thinking about numbers and operations.

 Number talks for the classroom.

(9) Whole Class Dominoes Fun

Another super easy and effective math warm-up idea is to use dominoes! We have a huge collection of printable dominoes cards.

Provide each student with a card and have the students work together to put the dominoes together.

Use dominoes for a simple maths warm-up idea for the classroom.

Over to you…

We hope these super easy and simple math warm-up ideas have inspired you to get creative with your own collection. Again, the only time you’ll need is the initial set up of these ideas. Then, you’ll feel in control again… I promise!

We’d love to hear from you… what are some simple ways you organize your math warm-ups?

Share in the comments section of this blog.

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