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5 Activities and Games About Place Value That Kids Will Love

written by: Lisa King • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 9/19/2013

If you are stumped when it comes to teaching your students place value, why not try these place value activities that students will love. Pumpkin Place Value, Picking Pickles, Cookie Stand and interactive online games make learning about place value a breeze.

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    The Value of Saving a Place

    Learning Math Learning place value is essential for students to help them add, subtract, multiply and divide big numbers. Teaching with place value worksheets is fine but hands-on and interactive place value games give children the opportunity to use it in a real life setting. The best way to teach place value is by reviewing it often and using a variety of activities and games.

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    Pumpkin Place Value

    This fall use pumpkins to teach place value. The teacher will give each student two pumpkin printouts. Instruct students to write tens on one of the stems and ones on the other stem.

    The teacher will write a number on the board such as 43. Ask children to write the numbers on the correct pumpkin with their pencil. For instance, the number four should be written on the pumpkin with the tens stem, and the number three on the pumpkin with the ones stem.

    Repeat with several different numbers. This game can also be incorporated to fit into other seasonal lessons. Chicks, eggs or flowers could be used in the spring and snowmen or penguins in the winter to replace the pumpkins. The game may also be used to teach hundredths, thousandths, etc., depending on the students' level.

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    Picking Pickles Game

    Primary students will pucker up while picking pickles to learn place value.


    • Several pickles cut from green construction paper
    • A plastic jar
    • A place value mat for each student
    • Black Marker

    How to Play:

    Teachers write the numbers 1 to 9 on approximately 50 pickles using a black marker and then place them in the plastic jar. They print a place value mat for each child or have them take a piece of white paper and divide the paper into three columns: ones, tens, and hundredths.

    Explain to students that they will be trying to get the highest number. Students take turns picking three pickles - one at a time - out of the jar and deciding which place on the mat to put each number in order to have the highest number.

    For example, John picks the number 7, and he decides to put it in the hundredths place. Next he draws 3 and decides to put it in the ones place, and finally, he draws a 1 and has to place it in the tens place. John ends with a score of 713.

    Cindy draws next and picks a 3, which she puts in the ones place. Next she draws a 5 and puts it in the tens place, and finally she draws a 9, which automatically goes in the hundredths place and gives Cindy a score of 953.

    Continue until all children have had a turn. The winner is the person who ends up with the highest number. Make the game harder by adding higher place values.

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    Cookie Stand

    Purchase ten Girl Scout cookie boxes and write “ten snicker doodles," on each box with a black marker. Cut-out nine single cookies from construction paper and place them on the cookie stand.

    Two students at a time will play at the cookie stand. A student will request a certain number of cookies and the other child must give her the correct amount using the boxes and single cookies. For example, the student may ask for 67 cookies. The Girl Scout would hand the customer six boxes and seven individual cookies. Continue until all students have had a chance to buy and sell the cookies.

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    Interactive Online Games

    The Internet is a wonderful tool to teach educational skills, and there are many different fun, interactive place value games online. Family Learning has several place value games ranging in difficulty. Some include Place the Penguins, Shark Pool, and Place Value Darts.

    Zoodles has many games for every subject including place value games such as the Tens of Marshmallows game. Zoodles does require registration, but it is free and the games are individualized by age and grade level.

    If your kids are into pirates, they will love Place Value Pirates along with the other fun games at Mr. Nussbaum. Games encourage learning and hold children's attention

    Instruct students to grab a pencil and piece of paper and take a walk around the neighborhood. Look at mailboxes and have the students copy the numbers from the mailbox and label each number with ones, tens or hundredths or take turns saying out loud which number is in each value bracket. Learning place value doesn't have to be difficult; as a matter a fact, it can be a lot of fun when it is taught with the right games and activities.

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    Activities by Lisa King all rights reserved.

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