Building Fact Families

Awhile back, I saw a great idea from Margaret at KinderJourney. She was using clothes pins and craft sticks to build sight words. I loved the idea because kids enjoy working with the materials and get to develop important fine motor skills while also working with academic tasks.   

My kids couldn't get enough, so we started using these materials to build addition facts and then fact families.  

To build addition facts, just write the addition sign and equals sign on the craft sticks. Provide kids with sets of clothespins with numbers you are working with.  My kids love to fill a table with facts they have built!

Kids love building fact families too! I put the craft sticks and number pins that kids will need to build one fact family in a large ziploc bag. Kids then act as detectives to figure out what fact family they can build using these components. 

To develop an understanding of missing addend problems, kids pick up a "fact" and remove one of the pins.  Their partner has to figure out what number pin they removed.    

Works for multiplication/division fact families as well. 

If you decide to try this out, I'd love to hear how it works for you. Thanks for stopping by! Anne Gardner


  1. I just found your blog and love your ideas! I teach first grade and will be using many of these great ideas! Thank you!


    1. Hi Holly, Thanks so much for commenting. It's nice to "meet" you! Anne

  2. Love this concept! found you on pintrest! and i am now a FAN!!! If you ever like to check out my blog as well come by any time!! :)

    1. Hi, Thanks so much for commenting! I am new to blogging and am going to check your blog out now. (Once I get a Grab my Button feature, I'd love to link up!) Anne

  3. What a great idea! I can't wait until Monday to try it!
    Owl Things First

  4. Hi, I noticed your blog a while back and decided to share it with our readers in a post on our blog, You have such fun ideas. I thought our readers would like to see them. Keep up the fabulous posts and best of luck with your new blog. Nathy

  5. What a creative idea! I teach third, but I love that is can easily be adapted for any grade.

    Common Core Teacher's Toolbox

  6. This is fantastic! I never even thought to use clothespins for match fact practice. This is a very creative and engaging math idea. I love that students can build their own fact families. Thanks for sharing this.
    Oh, How Pintearesting!

  7. What a great idea! I can't wait to try this out with my kiddies. There are a lot of kinesthetic learners in my class this year - they will love this!

    The Kindergarten Pod