Kindergarten Math Centers - Buddy Games Wednesdays Part 4

Buddy Games Wednesday

I decided to include Buddy Games Wednesday into my math centers to increase teamwork and communication skills, as that is an area Kindergarten students always need to work on.

Buddy Games Wednesday Choices

My class last year really struggled with working in pairs or small groups. I had a lot of only children, so I think that may have added to the problem.

This year I knew that I wanted to make teamwork something we did from the start. I wanted it to become second nature for them.

This day has exceeded my wildest expectations! I had a blast looking through the photos when I was prepping this post. I realized as I looked closely that a lot of the kids who were "buddy gaming it" were kids who never usually interacted in a close manner.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Spiderman jigsaw puzzle

Jigsaw Puzzles in K-1

                                    Jigsaw Puzzles in K-1

My puzzle collection started small at first, but thanks to the Dollar Tree, I now have about 20 puzzles that they can choose from. 

minion jigsaw puzzle
Puzzles in K-1Puzzles in K-1 
                                      Teamwork Building with Puzzles in K-1

A few students do tend to gravitate towards the same puzzles each Wednesday. Lately I have taken to giving them a sand timer - the 10 minute to start. The challenge is to complete it before the time runs out!

                                      Star Wars jigsaw puzzles


Jenga in K-1

I actually bought this Jenga set for my 5th graders a few years back. At the beginning of this year a few Kindergarten kids were talking about how much they loved playing it at home, so I thought I would give it a try.

Jenga in K-1 for Team BuildingJenga in K-1 for Team Building

They don't always make towers with it, but they do have a lot of fun building and trying things out together!

Jenga in K-1

Jenga in K-1 for Team Building

Building Block Bars

Building block bar toys

Building block bars come with pictures and it is a great teamwork activity!

Building Block Bar Creations


GeoStix are another popular toy because they come with picture ideas too! The visuals help my students when they are just beginning with the toy, then they really take off as they get comfortable. 



I have had students write their names, the entire alphabet with these and even make stair cases out of these!

Cup stacking

cup stacking 16oz cups in Kindergarten

Last year I saved cup stacking for 100th day. Then my class loved it so much that we continued playing through the end of the school year.

cup stacking in the classroom

This year when I was thinking of buddy game activities, I realized that cup stacking is perfect for this! We have 3 choices - paper cups, 16 oz plastic cups and the mini plastic cups.

Cup Stacking for Teamwork

It takes a lot of conversation, patience and teamwork to build some of the creations they come up with each week.

cup stacking with mini cups

Sometimes they use the rug area and make fortresses. Other times they will go over to the circle table and try to build the tallest tower they can build. 

cup stacking tower

One of my favorite things to do do is simply listen in on the discussions they have as they strategize prior to, and during the building time. 

Creativity and Teamwork with Cup Stacking

Sometimes just 3 or 4 kids will work on this activity, and sometimes half the class wants to join in. 

Creativity and Teamwork with Cup Stacking

In the beginning I had to really model how to share the cups and advise them on when they should split up into smaller teams in order to have more building time. 

cup stacking around the table

Now that we are in the second half of the year they take care of it all themselves. And the creations just keep coming and coming. 

They make me smile each time - I found this one waiting for me on our light table after I dropped them off for lunch one day!

Cup Stacking on Light Table

Straws and connectors

I purchased these straws and connectors back in December. I was listening to my class when they were working on Exploration Thursday one day and they kept saying how they wished the blocks could bend.

I asked them why,  and they said "So we can make shapes and animals!" That night I searched around on Amazon until I found these. They tried them out the next day and have loved them ever since!

straws and connector activities

The first day they made flat shapes. I wasn't surprised as they had never worked with a bendy building tool in class before. We talked a lot about 2d versus 3d shapes.

Straws and Connectors

The next day they broke out the directions. There are no words, just diagrams of rockets and hot air balloons. I was hesitant to include it in the shoebox, but I am so glad that I did. They succeeded in making a rocket on the second day!

Straws and Connectors

Then they became more brave and started creating their own objects. But their favorite thing to do is share with everyone whenever they make a 3d shape. We hear a lot of "Look, the base is a cube!" during this activity.

Straws and Connectors

Here is the day when the cup stacking met the straws and connectors. They referred to the cups as the "launchpad!"

Straws and Connectors

 Sometimes they give up on the directions and come up with some artistic pieces!

Straws and Connectors

Last week one boy said he was going to make a shark. I heard the others asking how. He said "I'll make a rocket, turn it on it's side and make bigger fins." And he did!

Straws and Connectors shark

Math games

Kindergarten Math Made Fun Bundle The Moffatt Girls

Math game prep is a cinch! I bought The Moffatt Girls Math Made Fun Bundle, and it makes it so easy. I just choose the games that best tie in with what we are studying in our current math unit. 

Right now we are kicking off our addition and subtraction unit. I just have to print and cut and they are ready to go. My class loves these activities and they are a wonderful part of Buddy Games Wednesday!

Up next, part 5 - Exploration Thursdays!

What kinds of team building activities do you do with your class?

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