Ten Frame Fun!


We work with ten frames during this time of year to help kids with one to one correspondence, counting, addition, subtraction, and more.  I have a game in mind that I want to do with my kids, so I really wanted to ramp up their competence with ten frames and numbers to 30.  I developed these simple activities to support them, and the kids have been loving them!

I started with a set of three ten frames on the board.  I used small magnets that I have to show them how to build numbers.  For the first couple of numbers we simply counted by ones as we built the numbers.  So for example, in building the number 19, I had a pile of magnets, and we all counted together by ones until we had nineteen frames filled.


Then I elevated the work by helping them notice the difference between ones and tens.  I explained that you look at the first digit to see how many ten frames you need to fill completely.  For 19, it was one.  The second digit shows how many single frames are left over to fill (9).  We then experimented with numbers this way.  I wanted the kids to see that they had options with this work, depending on their comfort.  Counting by ones is fine, but it also works to pay attention to sets of tens.  We did this work in two directions.  Sometimes I wrote a number on the board and then we “built it.”  Sometimes I “built” a representation of a number, and then we figured out how to write it numerically.


After we did this together several times, I paired the kids up and gave them blank ten frames and a set of chips. I then called out a number, and they had to work with their partner to build it.  This was a ton of fun, and the kids were very motivated to be the first to get their frame correct (even though they were the only ones paying attention to speed.  🙂  This was a great opportunity to review careful counting as well.  If a team miscounted, I would simply tell them to go back and check.  This required them to reconsider and correct their own work.





Once I felt like most of the kids were pretty comfortable with the concept, I had them work on their own to fill in a few ten frames with previously written numbers.  This was a simple way for me to get an idea of who understood the lesson, and who needed more practice.  I told the kids to simply make dots in the ten frames to fill them in and create a picture of the written number.



Now I am using this as a quick review activity.  Next week I have a new game in the works, and I am feeling pretty confident that my kids are ready.  Stay tuned!

If you would like the ten frame pages that I used with my kids, feel free to grab the Ten Frame Freebie.  How do you teach your kids about tens and ones?

3 Responses to Ten Frame Fun!

  1. Joe March 11, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    I just discovered your blog and LOVE the creative lessons and activities you share. I WILL be trying this one out in my classroom. Thanks for all the hard work and for SHARING the ideas with all of us.

    • Teaching Ace March 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      My pleasure – glad you are finding useful stuff. That is my goal! Thanks for reading.


  1. Basketball, Numbers, and Ten Frames, Oh My! | Teaching Ace - February 21, 2013

    […] Now, to elevate the game I wanted to include ten frames.  We have been working with ten frames to help my students understand that numbers, which are very abstract, actually represent a concrete quantity.  The ten frames have also been invaluable in helping my kids understand the difference between tens and ones.  If you want to read about some of the other work we have done with ten frames, click here. […]