If your children are anything like mine then they will all have different learning styles when it comes to math. I am very lucky in that math in general tends to come very easily to both of my children (thank you engineering hubby!); however, that does not mean that we do not hit walls every now and then when it comes to building on our math skills. Lately, my daughter Elizabeth has hit a road block when it comes to working on the place values of ten thousands and hundred thousands. I could tell that my daughter needed a more hands-on learning approach to get over this hurdle. This month, my focus for the Hands-On Activities for Kids Monthly Link-Up is going to tackle this topic for every family that is experiencing a learning hurdle with place values to help each other out with useful ideas, tips, and tricks.
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This month I came up with this place value game to make learning place value a hands-on and visual learning lesson. My daughter is a very visual hands-on learner so I figured this was right up her alley and would help her overcome her hurdle with the ten thousand and hundred thousand place values. I have found that more often than not with Elizabeth that she hits a wall and then becomes so focused on that wall that she cannot see past it (or simply will not see past it since she can be rather stubborn to say the least).
To make your own DIY Pumpkin Place Value Game you will need the following materials:
- Felt (orange, green, and brown)
- Puffy Paint (we went for glow in the dark to make the pumpkin theme even more fun)
- Felt board
- Craft glue
- Fiskars scissors
- 1-2 dice (I pulled mine out of a board game box)
- White Erase or Chalk Board and something to write with (or paper works too)
First you will need to hand draw a pumpkin onto a piece of paper. Then carefully cut out your pumpkin shape to use as your template for all of the pumpkins. Then use a pen or pencil to trace the pumpkin shapes onto the orange piece of felt. You will need a lot, so make sure to get them close to economize the amount of felt you will need.
Once you have all of the pumpkins traced, carefully cut out your pumpkins using your Fiskars scissors . Normally I do not mention a specific pair of scissors to use but when cutting felt or fabric I highly suggest investing in a super nice pair of scissors to help make cutting not only easy but to give you a lovely finished product. I also do not use this scissor for any other purpose to keep it sharp. Once you have all of your pumpkins cut out, lay out all of your pumpkins on a table and grab your puffy paint, a favorite from my childhood days, and start numbering away. I made 10 of each number, zero through nine. I let the pumpkins dry completely.
Now it is time to create your pumpkin patch fence to act as your place value lines. Cut out strips from your brown felt to make fence lines and fence posts. We found some gold sequins and placed them on the front of the fence to make it look like screws. Then cut out vines with leaf shapes out of the green felt. Once completed the fence posts will act as the comma positions and each leaf will be a place values of each number component. This will give a visual guide when playing the game for children. Then, finish the fence off my gluing all the fence pieces together and allowing it to dry.
To play the DIY Pumpkin Place Value Games assemble all your pumpkins, the fence game board, and your dice. This game can be played in many ways, so here are a few suggestions:
- Basic Game – Draw place value lines vertically on your white erase board, chalk board, or paper and label them at the top with the place value headers from ones to millions, based on what you want your child or students to learn. Then, hand them one die. The child or student them rolls the die once for each place value. They are to write the number in the place value on their chart and then find a pumpkin matching the number and place it on the pumpkin patch fence in the proper place value position. Repeat for as many repetitions as you want them to complete.
- Speed Game – Play the basic game for a number of minutes that you wish for them to play and see how many different numbers they can create correctly.
- Millions Game (Basic) – Hand your child a write erase board, chalk board or paper (with a writing implement), once set of pumpkins from zero to 9, and two dice. Have your child place the pumpkins from the right to left on the fence with one in the ones place value and 0 (to represent 10) in the millions place value. The child or student them rolls the dice, adds the two numbers together, then subtracts one and write the names of the place values in order for the rolled number from the ones to the millions place values. So, if a 2 and 5 were rolled it would be added together to be 7. Then, subtracting one would be 6. So they would answer ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, and hundred thousands. They can use the pumpkins to visually see the place values as well. Repeat for as many repetitions as you want them to complete.
- Millions Game (Reinforcement) – Hand your child a write erase board, chalk board or paper (with a writing implement), once set of pumpkins from zero to 9, and two dice. The child or student them rolls the dice, adds the two numbers together, then subtracts one and write the names of the place values in order for the rolled number from the ones to the millions place values. So, if a 2 and 5 were rolled it would be added together to be 7. Then, subtracting one would be 6. So they would answer ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, and hundred thousands. The child or student then places the pumpkins from the right to left on the fence with one in the ones place value and 0 (to represent 10) in the millions place value. Repeat for as many repetitions as you want them to complete.
- Race to a Million Game – Play either of the Million Games until they have randomly rolled the millions place value at least once.
Hopefully this DIY Pumpkin Place Value Game will be fun for you to not only create as a craft, but will also be a fun way to teach, reinforce, or practice your child or student’s place value skills.
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