How To Help Kids Improve Place Value And Number Sense Skills With Games

Have you ever found yourself in the store trying to figure out if you have enough money for all the things you want to buy? Or maybe you are hungry and hoping you have enough money to get food to eat. How about calculating how many buttons you will need for markers for a new bingo game? These are only a few examples of why we need to understand numbers and how they work. 

When it comes to teaching kids math, there's more to it than just rote memorization. Sure, memorization is important, but it's also essential that students develop their number sense skills.

What is number sense?

​Number sense is basically an instinctive understanding of numbers and their relationships. It's what allows us to quickly add up a grocery bill in our heads or estimate how much time it will take to complete a task. It includes an understanding of place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, fractions, percentage, and ratio.

​Most importantly, number sense is developed through exploration and exposure to a variety of number concepts and problems. Number sense games are a great way to help kids develop this important skill.

Number sense games

As a primary teacher, I am always looking for fun and engaging math games to play with my students. Games are a great way to help kids develop number sense, and they also make math more fun! Here are four number sense math games to try:

​1. Skip counting: ​To play, students simply choose a number to start with, then count up by 2s, 3s, 4s, or 5s until they reach 100. Not only does this help students to practice their counting skills, but it also helps them to understand place value and  the relationships between numbers.

2. Comparing Numbers: To play, students simply choose two numbers and then compare them using the symbols >, <, or =. This game helps students to understand number concepts such as greater than/less than and equality/inequality.

3. Number BINGO: To play, students try to fill in their bingo boards with numbers that match the number called out by the teacher. 

​4. Number Addition Bump: To play, roll two dice and add them up. Find the number on the bump chart and place a marker there. If someone else is on that number, you can bump them off. If there are no available numbers, you wait for your next turn and roll again.The goal is to be the one with the most markers on the chart at the end of the game.

​So there you have it - four great games for helping kids develop number sense! Why not give them a try in your classroom today?
Groundhog addition bump sample
Number addition bump sample

Place value activities

Place value is one of the most important concepts in math, and it's also one of the hardest for students to understand. That's why place value math games are such a valuable teaching tool. By playing these games, students can learn about place value in a fun and interactive way.  Here are just a few place value games to try:

1. Place Value BINGO: This game is a great way to review place value concepts with your students. In this game, each student is given a bingo card with numbers on it. The teacher then calls out place values and the student marks off the corresponding number on their card. The first student to get bingo wins! 

2. Place Value Sort: To play, you'll need a collection of place value cards with different forms of the number on them.  The goal of the game is to match up the cards with the correct number. For example: 433, 400+30+3, and base ten form:  4 hundred blocks, 3 ten blocks and 3 units.

3. What's The Value?: In this game, kids take turns calling out numbers and the other players have to identify the place value of each number. For example, if someone calls out "123," the other players might say "1 hundred, 2 tens, 3 ones."

Representing numbers resources

Being able to recognize and represent numbers in various ways is an important skill. I have created a couple of activities to help with this. 
Representing Numbers is a multi-faceted activity with task cards for base ten form, standard notation, and expanded notation. It also includes a bingo game. You can find out more about how to use it in the video below.
​These place value worksheets help with identifying and writing out numbers in standard notation, expanded notation, base ten form, and number words. There are several themes to choose from
Grab a place value practice sampler from my followers free resources page if you haven't already done so. If you are not a subscriber, you can get this plus many other free resources, tips, and ideas by signing up for my newsletter below.
I hope these games and activities help you with providing importance practice using numbers and place value so that your students will be able to handle situations in the real world.
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