Too Big, Too Small, Just Right

Activity for ages 4 to 8.

Three hours into a recent plane ride with our three kids, I became a little desperate for some new entertainment. Since I was really low on supplies, I dug deep and started thinking back to my days teaching kindergarten. That’s when this simple little game popped into my head. Too Big, Too Small, Just Right was one of my go-to math challenges when I had a few spare minutes. The no prep math game was a huge hit with my students and, thankfully, was an awesome distraction for my little travelers too.

Fun, no prep math game for kidsPlaying the Game

Since I was playing with a 4.5 year old and 3 year old, I wanted to keep the numbers low but you could really make them anything – 50 to 60, 170 to 180…. anything. I’ve even used an entire hundreds chart for this activity. I grabbed a blank piece of paper and wrote several rows of the numbers 1-10.

Then, I grabbed a post-it note and wrote down the number 4. That’s the number my kids would need to figure out. I usually just keep the number in my head but I wanted to show that I’d be trustworthy so I decided to write down my pick the first few rounds.

Super easy entertainment for kids

I folded up the number and stuck it in my pocket. Then I handed my 4.5 year old the pen and explained his challenge: figuring out what number I’d written. The only hint I’d give was that it was one of the numbers 1 through 10.

My oldest immediately jumped into guess mode. “5!”

“No, too big,” I said. He crossed off the number 5 on the sheet. “If 5 is too big, then can the numbers 6 and 7 be the answer?”

“No! They’re too big too,” he said. He crossed them off and then realized that the numbers 8, 9 and 10 wouldn’t work either.

No prep, super fun math game for kids.

“Is it 3?” he asked.

“No, too small!” My son crossed off 3, then 2 and 1.

Super fun, low prep math game for kids“It’s 4!!” he announced. And then, without taking much of a breath he begged, “Let’s do it again!” I’d say the game’s a hit.

Find More

For more low prep fun, try our 5 minute holiday math games, Math Fact Match Up and How Many Are Missing?



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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!