Ten-frames Games

Age 3 to 7
Article by Liz Woodham

Published 2014

In our article How Can I Support the Development of Early Number Sense and Place Value?, we outline a range of activities which will help.  Ten-frames are one model which is useful in this context and here we offer three games using ten-frames, which will help to develop children's understanding of ten as one of the most significant numbers in our number system.  These games are taken from Jenni Way's original article Number Sense Series: A Sense of 'Ten' and Place Value.

Game 1:  Ten-Frame Flash
(4 -6 years) 4 players

Materials: A dozen ten-frames with dot arrangements on them, a blank ten-frame for each child, counters.  You could print off these sheets:  Dozen Ten-Frames.pdf and BlankTenFrame.pdf.

Rules: One child shows a ten-frame for a count of three, then hides it while the other children place counters in the same positions on their frames from memory. The 'flasher' shows the card again and helps each child check his/her display. After three cards the next child has the chance to show numbers and so on, until everyone has had a turn.

1. Points can be awarded for each correct response. The child with the most points wins.

Game 2:  Twenty
(4-6 years) 3-4 players
Materials: Blank ten-frames (two per child), counters, dice.  You may wish to print off this BlankTenFrame.pdf.

Rules: Each child takes a turn to roll a die, places that number of counters onto his/her ten-frames, then announces the total number of counters on the frames. The winner is the first player to fill all twenty spaces.

1. Each turn could include placing the correct numeral cards under the frames.
2. Each player can also announce the number of counters needed to reach twenty. The exact number must be rolled to win the game.

Game 3:  Guess What?
(5 - 7 years) 2 players

Materials: Blank ten-frames, counters, a large board to act as a screen/barrier between pairs of players.  Here is a blank ten-frame you could print off:  BlankTenFrame.pdf

Rules: One player secretly arranges some counters on a ten-frame. The other player asks questions that can be answered yes or no, trying to gain enough clues to work out the arrangement of counters. For example: Is the top row full? Are there 8 counters? Is there an empty box in the bottom row?

1. As players become more skilled the number of questions can be counted. The player who asks fewer questions wins.