Using a ten frame game with preschool aged children is a great way to work on early math concepts.
Fill the Frame Game
I have already talked about how to use ten frames to work on one-to-one correspondence and how to use them to practice counting and cardinality. Today, I would like to tell you about the Fill the Frame game. Kids really seem to enjoy playing this game. Here is what you need to play:
Printable Ten Frame and Spinner
The game works well with 2-4 players. You will need 1 ten frame for each player. Need a ten frame? Click here to get one.
You will also need a spinner. Click here to get a spinner template. The printable spinner can be customized with stickers or pictures. I attached a 4″ snap-together spinner that I purchased at a teacher supply store. If you don’t have a snap-together spinner, you can use a brad and paper clip. Here is a tutorial.
Lastly, you will need 10 counters for each player. Almost anything that will fit within the squares of your ten frames can be used as counters. Use counting bears, buttons, bottle caps, fun erasers, Little People, etc. Make it fun and use something that will tie into your thematic unit or the current season.
Directions for Play
Give each child in the group a ten frame and 10 counters. Use one spinner for the group. Each child takes a turn spinning the spinner, naming the numeral spun, and adding the appropriate number of counters to their ten frame. Young children may need direction to fill the frame from top to bottom and left to right. The children continue to take turns until their ten frame is full. When all of the spaces on the frame are filled, children can clear their cards and start again.
The reason that I love playing this game with children is that it provides the opportunity to have conversations about math concepts. As they play, children will look at how many spaces on the frames have been filled. Encourage children to talk about the following:
- How many counters are on their ten frame before a spin?
- How does the total changes after a spin?
- How many more spaces need to be filled?
- Ask them to compare one player’s ten frame to another player’s ten frame. Who has the most counters? Who has the fewest counters?
- How many more spins are needed to fill a ten frame?
Sometimes, I prefer to play the game with a die. Because the game can be over in a couple rolls, a traditional 1-6 die isn’t the best thing to use. I make my own die because I find that a 1-3 die works best. I use a small cube block or a blank die that I purchase at a teacher supply store. I use dot stickers or sharpies to make the dots. My husband happens to be a master of useless trivia, and he tells me that the dots are actually called pips. Who knew?
Additional Ten Frame Games and Resources
The shamrock ten frame game and additional ten frame activities can be found in my store. Click on the pictures below to check them out.