Math Add and Subtract Mats and Counters

My friend Kim Metcalf gave me some really cute ideas for making up couting bins for fast finishers.
I made up a few and use them daily instead and hand each one out to a table of 4-5 kids during math time so they can use them in their counting.  They love them! 

The first one is a gumball machine and pom pom counters. Here at Mrs. Byrds Kinder  is a cute gumball machine to use with some Walmart pom poms as a counter mat and counters for kindergarten or first grade.

The kids love when it is their turn to use the colorful pom poms! 

Gumball math mat with pom poms for the gumballs! 

 Byrd’s Kinder had a cute gumball machine I shrunk and made up 6 for a center table. AND it’s a great idea to use later for a behavior motivator for some of my harder kiddos. I would just shrink it a bit more and use dot stickers. 

Birthday Cake math mat with counters made from Dollar Store birthday candles (80 for $1.00!) I got the math mat blackline HERE at Activity Village. They also had some free math downloads that were cute on the birthday cake theme. 

The Fabulous First Grade website had some cute candy corn math activities you could add for fun to these candy corn counters. I just used a black haunted house for these and sometimes used dried lima beans one side spray painted orange. Fun for October. Maybe some haystacks with candy corn for November? 

I’m going to try pizzas next and cut up felt pieces for the counters shaped like pepperoni, sausage, tomatoes, olives etc. I’ll post the pictures when I get it done.

Another one I made was a T-shirt with colorful buttons. I made my t-shirts out of colorful felt. A printable t-shirt is HERE. The buttons I bought are HERE at Amazon.
ROYLCO R2131 Bright Buttons, Assorted Sizes, Shapes and Color, 1/2-Pound

I found a free printable ladybug to use with my black dry beans as a counting mat. It is HERE at the Measured Mom. I got the dry, black beans at the market.
Kindergarten math mats to use with black bean counters.

Then another one  was a bin of tiny shells I’ve had for many years. I used sandpaper and blue foam shaped like a “fishbowl” for the mats. I’m trying to decide which ones the kids like better. I hope they are careful with my little shells!

 Sandpaper and blue foam fishbowl math mats with shell counters.

 I don’t know which ones the kids like better so I made a few of each.

Here is the Christmas tree and the Ladybug mats. I just backed them with red cardstock and laminated. I must have forgotten to take a pic of the Hobby Lobby Christmas doo dads. They were only $1.99 for a package of about 60 little ornaments. 

The kids’ favorite this week was a new one I just put out for Christmas, since we go off track in less than 2 weeks they won’t get to use it for long. It is a Christmas tree. The mat is HERE. Then I went over to Hobby Lobby and found a package of Christmas colorful foam pieces that looked like ornaments and candy for the counters. They are super cute. The kids LOVE them.

This mat is from

The last counters I bought have a space theme and then I found Christmas Checkers. I haven’t figure out what to do with either of these yet. Still thinking of a cute mat. Any ideas?

I found a snowflake mat that might work for these chips. I can also use some tiny foam snowflakes for it. It is HERE at Prekinders. I printed off page 11 that had “10 snowflakes” and we can use addends of 10 to count with on this mat.  There are many other “grid” counting mats that I liked HERE.  I can use my shells with sandbucket counting mats or white pom poms with snowman grid counting mats. I know the kiddos will love them!

 Red and green checkers from the dollar store had 32 in each bag. Great chunky counters for little fingers. I laminated the checkerboard so maybe that will work for a counting mat?

I found a cute “space” mat for these glow in the dark shapes HERE at coloring hub.  I printed the coloring page on gray cardstock and laminated them. It is a cute mat. 

These glow in the dark stars were a dollar store item too. I thought maybe just some black foam might work as the “night sky” counting mat? Here was lots of space coloring pages. I found one that had a planet, and a rocket that might work.

Now I just need to get some little containers for all my counting mat junk!! Anybody have any suggestions here? Maybe just some Rubbermaid tubs?

2 thoughts on “Math Add and Subtract Mats and Counters”

  1. Pattie,
    I'm loving the Pizza idea!! I'm so glad you could use the idea! I loved it last year, I just got out the gumball machines for centers today and the kids were thrilled, I was so excited we started addition this early in the year!:) Here's to more sharing…

  2. I KNOW! The kids LOVE the gumball machine too, and I just put out the Ladybug and Christmas Tree and there was almost a stampede! haha. I love having somebody passionate about their job to share with too. Love ya!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.