When I first learned about the idea of teaching children to “make ten” I didn’t fully understand the concept. I mean, sure, teaching children to count up to ten is important. But the idea of making ten goes far beyond counting up to ten.
Teaching preschoolers and Kindergarten aged children about this skill is one of the more important foundational math skills we can teach them. It is so important that it covers 4 weeks of the math units in my Kindergarten at Home curriculum!
Today I thought I would share one of the math activities that focus on ‘making 10’ found within my Kindergarten at Home program – this one is found in the unit study all about pumpkins.
To find out more about Kindergarten at Home, and to join me with your 3 – 6 year old, you can read more right here:
The idea of making ten is nice and simple. It is the idea of helping children understand how numbers can fit and work together. It helps children to know that 7 can easily partner with the number 3, or that 6 goes very nicely with 4. This concept also helps children to see that if we have 6 of something and we don’t have a 4 available, we could substitute that 4 and use two 2s, for example.
So why is it important that children learn how numbers fit and work together?
When making ten, preschoolers and kindergarten aged children are learning the foundations for some pretty big math concepts. Addition, subtraction, regrouping, multiplication, and division all require a solid foundation in the skill of making ten.
When children are able to naturally and automatically make 10 out of simple one digit numbers they will be able to pick up bigger math concepts easily as they have the foundation needed to build on.
This pumpkin seed making 10 activity is so nice and easy and is loads of fun for children to do! You can create a very simple making 10 chart yourself, or you are welcome to use my free printable making ten chart right here.
Pop some pumpkin seeds in a bowl. You can use buttons, rocks, pompoms, or anything else you have on hand instead of pumpkin seeds. We used pumpkin seeds because this is part of our pumpkin unit study, so we were exploring pumpkins and seeds during this 2 week learning block.
With the making 10 chart in front of your little one, have her take a spoon and scoop out some pumpkin seeds. She can dump that spoonful onto her making ten chart and sort them into the squares, one seed per square.
When placing the pumpkin seeds into the making ten chart start in the upper left hand corner and use the chart as you would reading a book, going from left to right, top to bottom.
Once your child has placed her seeds in the chart, help her count how many seeds are in the chart. Count the same way you placed the seeds, left to right. Once you have counted the seeds, count how many empty squares remain.
Perhaps your child scooped out 7 seeds. You would then count the 3 remaining empty squares and have your child choose 3 pumpkin seeds from the bowl to fit on the chart.
Pretty soon your child will begin to see that when the top row is filled in it means that there are 5 pumpkin seeds. You can encourage your child to use this knowledge and try her hand at the skill of ‘counting on’. If she scoops out 7 pumpkin seeds and places them on the making 10 chart, encourage her to notice that the top row is entirely filled in, so that means there are at least 5 pumpkin seeds. We can start at the number 5 and count on … 6, 7. Recognizing that there are 7 pumpkin seeds on the chart. From here, she will be able to count that there are 3 spaces remaining.
This has helped her to realize that 10 can be made from 7 and 3 together and it can also be made from the numbers 5, 2, and 3 together!
Keep playing with this making ten chart and pumpkin seed activity again and again. You can mix it up by:
- having your child close her eyes and choose out a few pumpkin seeds and try to count them in her hands with her eyes closed before putting them on the chart
- Choosing out 10 pumpkin seeds so the chart is full and removing a few, having her learn about making ten in reverse (subtraction)
- Pick out pumpkin seeds 2 at a time, encouraging her to place them on the chart and count how many pumpkin seeds remain each time
- Making up simple word problems and have her display them on the making 10 chart (for example, Mrs. Seeds went to the store and saw 10 pumpkins for sale. She bought 3 of the pumpkins. How many pumpkins are left?)
The more you play with this skill the more natural these numbers will become to your child and the stronger foundation they will have in numeracy.
So keep on playing with this skill of making 10 again and again and again! Your little ones will have such a solid foundation in math that bigger concepts will come easy peasy.
Please check out Kindergarten at Home right here
And you can download your FREE making ten chart right here
Thank you so much for reading, sweet friend!