Finding ways to allow kids to interact with math skills using their hands makes learning fun and increases comprehension. Instruction that engages more senses causes increased retention of content while building a love of the subject.
The skill of sorting and categorizing is one that kids will need their entire lives, but it is not something that is always enjoyable to learn. This concept is generally taught during first grade in most curricula, and one fun way to have kids learn the task is to have them make necklaces using pieces of corn. If the teacher brings in cobs of differently colored corn and has the kids sort the kernels by color, they learn an important competency while making a craft that they can take home.
Measurement is a skill that many students learn in the second grade. A competitive game that instils fun while teaching measurement involves sliding a playing card as close to the edge of a table as possible. The winning team has the card the minimum distance away (in fractions of an inch, centimeters or even millimeters, depending on skill). Teams whose cards fall off the table because they get too close to the edge have a penalty added to their final distance.