Learning even and odd numbers is tricky. This collection of learning activities will give kids lots of opportunities for practice, whatever their learning style. For tips on teaching this concept, you may also be interested in our page on odd and even numbers.
Even and Odd, Everywhere: Look around to find anything countable: pennies, plants, pillows, windows, dry erase markers, cats, crackers, you name it. Help children put the objects in pairs (careful with the cats) and see if any are left over. Is the number odd or even? Write down what your kids discover. Example: Pillows = 3 (odd), Windows = 6 (even). Kids will enjoy adding to the list and reading it over again.
The Odd Exercise: Say a number. You and your kids will count up to that number while doing a 1-2 type of exercise, such as "arms out, arms in", "squat down, stand up", etc. First, teach the exercise and do it for a while saying "odd, even, odd, even" to get a sense of which position goes with each. Then ask for a number (less than 20 is best). Count while doing your exercise. Did you land on odd or even? Write down the number and its result.
Odd and Even Boots: Check out this great idea for even and odd numbers!
Who Do We Appreciate? Rhymes are a great way to remember even and odd numbers. This rhyme will be a powerful tool for learning odds and evens, as well as when they begin counting by two's.
2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate? 2-4, 6-8-10, even numbers, say it again!
1-3-5-7, Can odd numbers go to heaven? 1-3-5, 7 and 9, Yes they do! Now get in line.
Hundreds Chart: Hundreds charts are great for all kinds of number sense activities. For this activity, give each child a hundreds chart and a crayon. Tell kids they are going on a mystery search to find all the even numbers. They will have to find the pattern. Get them started by saying the "even" rhyme above. Let kids color in these numbers, then discover the pattern. Can they fill in the rest of the even numbers? Say them together. (Note: some kids may need help continuing the pattern from one row to the other.)
AB Patterns: This type of 1-2-1-2 pattern is common in first grade,
and matches the pattern of even and odd numbers:
Set up various stations, each with a different duo of colors and types of counters: blue and yellow buttons, square and round wooden beads, black and white beans, etc. Say "go" and have kids begin to make 1-2-1-2 patterns. After a short time, yell "freeze!"
See if all their buttons (or beads, or beans) have a partner. If they
all do, they have an
even number. If there is one without a partner, they made an odd
number. Ask kids with even
to hold up 2 fingers and say, "Even!" Ask kids with odd to hold up 1
finger and say,
Have kids trade objects and do the activity again. As an extension, ask the kids to count the objects in their pattern. Write their results in two columns on the board: odd or even. Do they notice any patterns?
Linking Cubes: Have kids scoop out a pile of cubes with their hands. Stack all the cubes in piles of 2. Are there any left over? Count how many cubes and say if your number is odd or even.
Whisper and Shout: Count up to a number by whispering the odd numbers and shouting the evens. Or switch: shout the odds and whisper the evens. This is great way to lead up to skip-counting.
The cool thing about even and odd numbers is that every number is either one or the other! Once you start to do activities with odd and even, you will start to see them everywhere. Take advantage of the spontaneous learning opportunity, and join kids on the quest for even and odd numbers!