## Place Value Robot – Math Activity

One of my great pleasures is to volunteer at my son’s school. I have been lucky enough to be a math docent this year and one of the activities I have been doing with the children is to create words and structures with base ten blocks then break them down to find out the value. This is a great hands on way to work with the concept. At home though I have no base ten blocks and between the expense and the shortage of storage space I didn’t want to buy them. Here are some base ten blocks if you do ( yes it’s an affiliate link) but really you don’t have to because I have included free printables! I decided to create my own so that I didn’t have to buy a set just for one or two activities. If I was a full time homeschooling parent I would probably invest in some but since this activity is one of our Learning After School activities for school age kids I am using these PRINTABLES <— print via this link.

This activity is designed for 1st and 2nd grade children. For younger children I would stick to 2 place values and using only a few ( less than 10 of each) blocks without regrouping until the basic understanding of place values is mastered.

Gather your materials. You will need the place value base ten printables or if you have the blocks you will need some one unit, ten unit and hundred unit blocks. You will also need some glue, scissors , and a sheet of construction paper.

Start by cutting the place value printables out ( I printed them out as 2 5×7 pictures on one sheet) and getting them ready to create. The goal of this activity is to create a robot and then count up how many ones, tens, and hundreds were used to create it. After that step you will figure out the total number of blocks used using re-grouping if need be. That will be the total value of the robot.

Here is an example:

Let’s say I used  : 2 hundred blocks , 11 ten blocks ,  14 one blocks.  Using the worksheet I will fill it out starting at the ones. I will keep 4 and regroup 10 over to the tens column where that 11 will turn into a 12. So at this stage I have 2 hundreds, 12 tens and 4 ones.  Next I need to regroup the tens because I can’t have 12 tens. I will keep 2 and move 10 of those tens over to the hundreds column. So I will have  3 hundreds, 2 tens and 4 ones.   Next I condense the  expanded form into 324 for the total value of units used to create the robot.

If this is new to you practice a few times before presenting this to your child. Most of us haven’t done math like this in a long long time so be kind to yourself while you get reacquainted with it.

Welcome your child and start creating.

Next count up your blocks. Encourage your child to count them as blocks saying 1, 2, 3, for all the place values not just the ones. My son was counting the tens by ten and while technically correct in amount that skips the steps needed for this activity. The whole point of this activity is to understand what numbers in each place mean. When you count like that you may end up with the correct number at the end but you won’t get a full understanding of place value.

Write  out the amounts of each type of block in our worksheet printable

Now regroup if need be.  When regrouping if you notice difficulty get the blocks out and physically show your child what you are regrouping. You may want to print out multiple sheets so you have extras!  If you are moving 10 ones into the ten column show your child tens ones make up a ten rod and then become 1 ten in that column. Seeing the blocks can help kids avoid mistakes like adding 10 into the next column when she should be adding 1 ( dropping the 0 because of the move from one place value to the next).  This is a common mistake but using the blocks helps with understanding.

Write out the final value.

In groups having kids compete for the largest value is a wonderful motivation. If you have the blocks working together to make huge structures is a ton of fun as well. If you are frugal like me here is the link to the printables one last time.

## Valentine’s Day Math Activity

I wasn’t sure what to title this activity because it’s a math game that results in and Valentine’s Day craft. You play the game then you can pass the finished heart on to someone you love. This is perfect for Valentine’s Day parties because the kids are engaged and learning but there is still something cute to take home. You can make your own game board or print out ours for free here.

Gather your materials. You will need the heart game boards, some dice, heart stickers, and scissors.

The rules of the game are simple. You roll the dice and add the two numbers together. If you have that number on your heart you cover it with a sticker. If you are having a hard time getting the higher numbers add a third die if time is short. Similarly if you are having a tough time getting smaller numbers simply use one die.

My daughter was so into this game. Simple addition like this is really starting to stick with her and she was eager to show off her counting skills.

My son thought it was for babies. He is great at math and it was too easy. I thought he’d still want to play but I missed the mark on this one for him. Instead of forcing him to play after a long day at school I told him to cover all the numbers and cut it out. So he did. In our house you have to do your homework but activities like this aren’t a must.

While he was cutting my littlest math whiz was rolling away solo and loving it. I did have to remove one die to finally roll that number two. But she did it! All the numbers were covered .

After she was done I cut the heart out for her and they are on our fridge ( you can see them in this post from last week ).

What do you have planned for Valentine’s Day? I think we are going to have heart shaped tortilla pizzas and watch a movie together.

## Valentine’s Day Math Activity

My daughter loves math and I couldn’t be happier. This Valentine’s Day math game is all about things she loves. Toys, numbers and hearts! This game is pretty simple but you will need enough items that are obviously alike for the groupings. What I loved about this game was that there were so many math skills combined into the game. She had to recognize the number then match it to the amount in the groupings. This naturally led her to counting the objects many times as she checked to see if they were match. Sometimes she remembered the amount and didn’t have to recount. I loved watching her think through this.

Gather your materials. You will need some hearts ( we used post its) and a marker, a bunch of small objects that you can put in groups of 1-10 , space to play and I used our wall for the number line.

Start by setting up your groups. We did this in our playroom so I used toys and craft supplies but you could do this outside and use rocks, leaves and sticks.

Write out the numbers on your hearts. I did 1-10 and then popped them on the wall. Then noticed my daughter writing something and she’d made her own 0 and added it to the line.

I told her that each heart belonged to a group but we needed to count the toys to see where each heart should go. And she was off. Matching them up and counting like crazy!!

She may not have told me she was using estimation as a strategy but she was. She’d look at a grouping and if the number was low and the group was large she’d move on to a more reasonable match before actually diving in to count. I didn’t tell her to go from 1-10 but she picked the hearts off in order. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t go in numerical order, it’s not important. Number much like letters are rarely in order anyway.

Hooray she did it!!

## Counting Books We Love

Here are a few great counting books for kids. All book lists include affiliate links.

Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno almost didn’t make it into my library bag. I am so glad it did. This is a wonderful book full of possibilities. There is no text just simple aerial illustrations of a field as it evolves one number at a time. The field fills up quickly and it can be tricky to classify the pictures on each page to match it with the number displayed but once you do , each page is a lesson!

Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband in 2007 for his first father’s day to read with my son and my son hated it. However in the years since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage. Edited for 2013: My daughter has always loved this book!

Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman is a really fun and educational book. The book is a new spin on the old song ” Ten in A Bed” but instead of squeezing onto a bed these cold weather animals pile on and off the sled one at a time. What is wonderful from an educational sense is not just the obvious counting element but as each animal exists the sled the verb used for how they exit begins with the same letter as the animal does. This was fantastic for my son who wanted to sound every animal and verb out.  Add a fun rhyming sing song text and this is a great read.

## Thanksgiving Math For Kids – Fact Families and More!

Creating two activities with the same materials for two very different abilities is one of my favorite challenges. These turkey cork boards made it simple. My daughter matched colors and naturally counted the feathers upon completion. My son loved the fact families and the novelty of using thumbtacks made it all the more fun. This Thanksgiving math activity was a huge hit at our house!

Gather your materials. You will need some cork boards ( I got all three at IKEA for \$3 ), construction paper , double stick tape, marker, and thumbtacks.

Start by cutting out circles for the turkey’s heads , feathers, and wattles. Draw a simple face ( I made the eyes big enough to use thumbtacks as pupils), and tape the wattles on. Tack the heads on.

## Color Sorting Turkeys

I tacked one feather on each turkey as a guide for my daughter and invited her to tack the rest on.

She made a yellow rabbit and two turkeys !

## Fact Family Turkeys

I added a small fact family triangle as a guide and tacked them on. While my daughter colored in one of the turkeys to make it just right!

Wrote out the fact family number sentences on the feathers.

I invited my math whiz and he jumped right in to pinning the feathers. I did not keep all the fact families on the same color feathers because I did not want him to simply match the colors. This activity could be adapted to any math ability. You could match numbers, match digits to tally marks , do odds and evens… they sky is the limit!