Saturday, 5 March 2016

My Favourite Center Activities - Beginning of the Year

Centers are a big part of our day, they keep students occupied while I work with my guided groups. Carefully chosen centers allow students to work on skills taught in guided groups in a fun way.

Here are some of my favourite centers for the beginning of the year.

Make a Pizza
I have a numeral and alphabet versions. The can be found in my Beginning of the Year Centers pack.

In this activity, students make a pizza by matching the ingredients to the pizza base. This is a great way for students to consolidate their matching skills as well build familiarity with numerals and letters.

This is probably one of my most popular games. I even get requests for this game from my fast finishers :)

Clip A Word
Click here to find it on TPT.

In this activity, students pick a card and use pegs to 'clip' the letters that match. This helps with fine motor and letter recognition.

Number Tracing
Click here to find it on TPT.

In this activity, students trace over the numerals with a whiteboard marker. I love this activity because I feel that we spend a lot of time emphasising letter formation that we forget about numeral formation. So working on our numeral formation during guided maths groups is a great way to slip it into our daily routine.

Matching Trains

For this activity, you can use these ten frame trains and unifix cubes. Alternatively, you can use a printed ten frame or an egg carton.

Students match the unifix cubes by colour to create 'passengers' for the train.

Duplo Letters and Numbers
The number cards can be found here and letters can be found here.

These have been a huge hit with my students. They love showing me the letters/numerals that they make :)

ChickaBoom Tweeze

This awesome mat can be found here, from My Fabulous Class.

In this activity, students use tweezers to pick letters and see if it matches the letters on their board. Once again a great activity for matching, fine motor and letter recognition.

Pipe Cleaner Letters and Numbers

In this activity, students use pipe cleaners to make letter and numbers. This activity helps students develop strength in their fingers through manipulating the pipe cleaner.

Pegboard Numbers

These pegboard cards can be found here.

Students use the pins to copy the number onto the pegboard.


This is a simple activity that works with anything. All you need is a sorting tray and some tweezers. Students use tweezers to put the objects into groups. Students can sort by colour, shape, size, etc.

Hopefully you have found some inspiration on here. Got any ideas to share? Let me know through email or comment below :)

Enjoy your weekend!