Maths Game for Kids: Teaching Tens & Ones

Math Game for Kids Tens and Ones via Childhood101

This post is by regular contributor Pauline Soo of Lessons Learnt Journal.

To understand place value children need to understand the principle of exchange – one of these is equal to ten of those. Providing children with concrete experiences of exchange will help them learn and establish this principle of exchange.

Math games, like this Tens and Ones math game, helps children understand the concept that 1 of these (cupcake liners) is equal to 10 of those (little counters). Over time, they will see ten as a unit made of of ten ones and will be able to use tens as a unit to count. This is a useful mathematical strategy to know, as counting by tens is much quicker than counting by ones.

Math Game for Kids: Tens and Ones

The traditional version of this game uses paddle-pop (popsicle) sticks. You present a huge bundle of pop sticks to the kids and have them bundle them up in groups of ten. We didn’t have any pop sticks in our art cupboard (they are still on my shopping list) so we used our collection of counters and some cupcake liners instead.

We grouped counters in groups of tens by placing ten counters in each cupcake liner.

I quickly drew up a template on a piece of paper with two columns, with the headings, tens and ones.

Math Game for Kids Tens and Ones via Childhood101 2

Using some of our numeral cards, I flipped over a combination of two digit numbers. They then had to make up that number using their counters.

What a relief it was to them that they didn’t have to count by 1’s to make those two digit numbers. They could make up the number 95 by placing 9 of those cupcake liners, filled with ten counters each, to make up the ninety; followed by five individual counters in the ones column.

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When they finished making up their numbers using counters, we counted on from the bundles of ten (e.g. 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60. 70. 80. 90), then ones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) to make sure they their counters matched their given numeral.

If you’re out of pop sticks like us, here are some other possible materials you could use to make your bundles of 10:

  • Beads and pipe-cleaners
  • Coins in stacks of 10
  • Bundles of sticks
  • Bunches of drinking straws
  • 10 stickers on a strip of paper/cardboard

There are probably a thousand other things you could use to create bundles of 10. What are your tried and tested collections of ten?

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One Comment

  1. To make children understand the concept of ones and tens i have tried with the biscuit packets with ten biscuits inside(eg moms magic).once they learned upto tens i packed 10 such biscuit packets in a polythene cover to make a pack of 100 biscuits.I think it works and is easily avaliable tool.

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