My first graders love solving these hands-on word problems. I purchase a few inexpensive sets of small plastic animals with a specific backdrop, such as a farm or zoo.
The students can decorate with additional hand-made fences, trees and other props. I distribute a sheet with questions (or put questions on the SMARTBoard) such as: “How many cows are on the farm?”, “How many pig legs are there all together?” or “How many animals are on the farm in all?” Then I invite students to explore the animal display to get their answers. Later in the year, I ask more advanced questions, such as “How many more cows are there than pigs?” This is an especially good activity for your visual learners and it makes for an exciting math center.