Boost Learning With These Fun Active Math Movements

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What Are Active Math Movements?

We designed active math movements to give your students physical exercise while simultaneously enhancing math skills. These movements do not require any materials and are perfect for short brain breaks throughout your school day!

Our active math movements are broken into two parts – whisper/loud movements and skip counting movements. First, students practice whisper/loud movements to reinforce the intervals in the number line for different multiples. To do this, students whisper the numbers that are not multiples and shouting the numbers that are multiples. As an example for counting by threes, your class would say: 1 (whisper), 2 (whisper), 3 (loud).

whisper loud counting

Once students have mastered whisper/loud movements, they can move on to skip counting movements. In these movements, we eliminate the whisper part and only skip count. These movements aim to create fun, physical moments during the school day that quickly establish skip counting patterns in young math students’ minds.

We’re sharing three of our favorite whisper/loud movements to practice math below! Practice these activities with any multiple your class is learning or needs more practice with.

Elephant March

Elephant March is a full-body whisper/loud movement and can be the perfect energizer for sleepy brains.

  1. Have students stand up and make their “elephant trunk.” This can be done by putting your arms out straight, placing the right arm over the left, clasping palms together, and bringing the arms back towards the body. Students’ clasped hands will be near their chins.
  2. To count by threes, first cross your right ankle over your left leg and whisper “one”.
  3. Next, cross your left ankle over your right leg and whisper “two”.
  4. Raise your trunk and say “three” loudly!
  5. Continue with this pattern to thirty.

Drum Tapping

As the school day goes on, many students become fidgety and release energy by tapping. Help your students refocus by turning their tapping into a productive math movement. This movement break can be done quickly while students are sitting at their desks.

To count by twos, we will use two fingers like drumsticks to tap the desk.

  1. Have students cross their arms and tap the desk with two fingers (their “drumsticks”) from both hands. Whisper “one”.
  2. Then, have students clap and say “two” loudly.
  3. Continue this pattern until you reach twenty.

Quiet Airplanes

At Math & Movement, we believe every moment of the school day can be filled with learning. We have designed specific hallway whisper/loud activities you can do while moving through the school to lunch, the art room, or recess. 

You perform these hallway math movements quietly by mouthing the whispered numbers and whispering the loud numbers. Clap quietly using the American Sign Language sign for clapping or applause.

To count by fours as quiet airplanes, first line up your students. Follow this movement as students walk through the hallway to your next activity.

  1. Make airplane wings with your arms out straight.
  2. Lift your left arm and lower your right arm. Silently mouth the number one.
  3. Lift your right arm and lower the left arm. Silently mouth the number two.
  4. Glide with straight arms. Silently mouth the number three.
  5. Finally, waving both hands in the air. Whisper “four”!
quiet airplanes
training manual cover

Add movement to math class and beyond!

You can find more active math movements similar to the ones we mentioned here! Additionally, the Math & Movement Training Manual is packed with engaging active math movements. We are providing the first chapter for free - click the button below!

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