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  • Writer's pictureLara

Number Rack Math Centers: Rekenrek Activities for Kindergarten

Updated: Nov 4, 2023





What is a Rekenrek?


I had heard about rekenreks and even tried to dive into using them and made my own but fizzled out with them! I wasn’t sure of the best way to utilize this math tool and kind of let it go. It seems like there is always a new thing in education you HAVE to try but with very little background on what it is, how to use it, the benefits of it, but most of all to make it fun for kids so they are learning through play!


A rekenrek or number rack is a math tool that is great for building number relationships and computing when it comes to developing number sense and flexibility with numbers. I have a post all about rekenreks and a video about introducing them to your class.



As you can probably tell, math racks were one of those things for me. Then last year, my school purchased a group set of rekenreks and the bigger teacher rekenrek and I thought, ok this time I’m going to use them! Though I was running into the same problem of how to use them but was encouraged because the kids really enjoyed them!


If you’re in the same boat as me, I’d like to share with you some free rekenrek math centers you can use in your classroom!



Spin and Build

Rekenrek and Number Spinner

To play spin and build you will either need the rekenrek spinner or the number spinner. There are two versions of The Spinners one with numbers one to ten and the other with numbers 11 to 20. Both number ranges are included to meet the needs of your students. The way that you play is you spin the spinner and whichever number you get is the number that your students will draw on their rekenrek recording sheet after they have built that number. The rekenrek Spinners are a little bit easier to use because your students will be creating a direct match of the image of the number rack. if you're using numerals then it's a little more challenging because they have to count each rekenrek bead or use their knowledge of what the rekenrek looks like to build the number they spun and then record it on the recording sheet. This game is really low prep and fun to use all you really need to do is print off the spinner and recording sheet you can laminate these Pages for longevity or put them in a sheet protector and use a dry-erase marker if you don't want to laminate them.


Pick and Build

The pick and build Math Center is very similar to spin and build but instead of spending your spinner you'll pick a numeral card or rekenrek card and build the number that you've picked on the math rack, then draw your rekenrek on the recording sheet.


Spin, Count, and Cover

For Spin, Count, and Cover, you will need the counting mats with 1 to 10 or 11 to 20. again your students will spin a number find that number on the mat and cover it with a counter. your students will keep going until they have covered every rekenrek on their mat. As with the other arithmetic rack math centers, there are versions available that are differentiated to meet your student's needs.


What is the Number Combination

The last game in this free resource is called what is the number combination. This game is great for practicing composing and decomposing numbers using the number rack. your students will have a target number and have to figure out all of the ways they can show that number on their rekenrek and write their answers on their recording sheet. They can either play this game on their own or with a partner to find all of the number combinations.




This is the rekenrek I use if you are interested! You can get all of the math centers I've talked about today for free and if you liked these centers and would like more, you can read about some of my favorite rekenrek math centers, and save on the Number Rack Math Centers Bundle!


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