Engagement,  Math

3 Cheap, Easy Math Activities You Can Make Out of Paper Plates

Easy Math Activities

As a math teacher, I’m always looking for easy and affordable math activities to incorporate into my classroom! I’m all about making learning fun, without having to spend a lot of my own time or money. One way I save money as a teacher is by using what I already have.

I’m sure you can relate when I say that over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of random stuff in my classroom. Don’t get me wrong: I love it when you call for donations and the parents get it done. But sometimes, that results in a surplus of materials that I don’t end up needing.

One item I tend to have extra of is paper plates. They get donated for class parties often, but hardly all of them get used. Fortunately, there are SO many ways to use paper plates in the classroom! Here are a few examples of fun math activities that can be made out of paper plates.

Math Activities in the Classroom

Here are 3 of my favorite “math DIYs” (as I like to call them) using paper plates. They also make great early finisher activities!

1. Skip Counting Lace Ups


This first activity is great for having students practice skip counting, although I’m sure you could get creative and find many other uses for this as well! Here’s how to make a skip-counting lace up:

Materials Needed: 1 paper plate, string, marker, single hole punch


  1. In the center of your paper plate, write the number that students will skip count by.
  2. Around the rim of the plate, write the skip counting numbers (as high as you wish to go) starting with 0. Write them in random order.
  3. Punch one hole beside, under, or above each number.
  4. Cut a long piece of string and tie it around the 0 hole as the starting point.
  5. To use, students will lace the string through the holes in order as they skip count.

2. Math Fact Practice

This math activity can be used to have students practice and check any math facts. Set up is super easy! Here’s how to do it:

Materials: 2 paper plates, marker, tape or glue, scissors


  1. In the center of one paper plate, write the math fact for students to practice (for example: x8, +10, etc.).
  2. In order, write the numbers you wish for students to practice with (such as 0-10) around the rim.
  3. Make a small cut on either side of each of the numbers to form a flap.
  4. Tape or glue the plate onto the second plate to keep it secure.
  5. Lift each flap and write the correct answer on the rim of the second plate.

For more details and to watch me make this math activity, click here to view my video on IGTV.

3. Fraction Manipulatives


This last math activity is a wonderful tool for practicing fractions. It makes a great visual for students when comparing or finding equivalent fractions!

Materials: paper plates (number will vary by grade level), scissors, marker


  1. Take one paper plate and write “1 whole” in the center. Set aside.
  2. Take a second paper plate and cut in half. Label each half as “1/2.”
  3. Take a third paper plate and cut into thirds. Label each part as “1/3.”
  4. Repeat for as many fractional parts as you would like to have.
  5. Cutting tip: Start by marking the center point on the bottom of the plate. This will help you cut your fractions as accurately as possible. (Using square plates instead of round would also help!)

Math Activities for 2nd Grade

Each of these math activities listed above can be adapted for any grade level, but are especially appropriate for 2nd grade. For more easy and affordable 2nd grade math activities, click here.

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