25 Activities to Teach Place Value


Have you ever noticed that once you introduce place value to your students that it continues to spiral back into your lessons almost every week?  I believe no matter what math curriculum or scope and sequence you may be utilizing in your classroom, we are all in the same boat together… trying to find new and engaging place value activities.  

Yes, place value is so important that it needs to be reviewed, retaught, and practiced.  Why?  The concept of place value assists with so many other math concepts.  If your students have a good grasp of the concept of place value, they will apply it to other lessons like number identification, multi-digit addition, multi-digit subtraction, greater than/less than, ordering numbers, and more. 

Alright, so I have a little confession to make.  I didn’t come up with this topic on my own. Each and every week, Education to the Core asks our Teaching Trailblazers in the Fearless First Grade Facebook group what they are teaching the following week?  This way, ETTC can ensure we are sharing the blogs and resources that will make your lives easier, help you plan quicker, offer you less stress, and have a better work/life balance.  I’ve noticed the last couple of weeks in math so many trailblazers are teaching or reviewing place value.

So I’m like okay… myself included, we teach and review place value a lot.  Perhaps some of our activities or lessons may be getting a little redundant.  Here are 25 Activities to Teach Place Value to add to your already great lessons!   #1, #7, and #21 are my favorites! 

Place Value Activity 1 – Write the Room

I am a huge supporter of getting my students up and moving as much as possible.  My students absolutely love this Education to the Core resource!  Write the Room is a great option as students are working at their own pace individually as well as this resource lends itself to appropriate social distance while working.  Both Kindergarten and First Grade Write the Room offers numerous skills-based task cards in the areas of ELA and Math, just like this place value activity.

Activity 2 – Morning Meeting Routine

Do you count the number of school days you’ve attended?  Or how many days to go?  Either way, consider also having a space to draw the base ten blocks.  As part of my morning meeting routine, we keep track of the days we’ve been in school as well as a countdown!  Part of our morning routine is also drawing those numbers in base-ten blocks.  I have whiteboard paper (aff) up near our morning meeting space in order to draw the place value.    

3 – Lego Block Place Value

Teach Me Mommy has this great idea that I saw using lego blocks.  You only need big building blocks and a dry-erase marker. Each block presents a place: ones(units), tens, hundreds, or thousands.  This hands-on approach will sure to build those learning blocks in their minds as well as their hands.

Place Value Activity 4 – File Folder Games

Do you feel your students need additional practice with place value? How about a fun and engaging “play” option?  Yes, I did say play because with these file folder games your students won’t even know they are learning because they are just so much fun!  Alongside this “Place Value Race“, File Folder Games have 74 Math and ELA games to play.

Activity 5 – Paint Swatch Place Value

Have you walked past the paint aisles in Home Depot and Lowes wondering… “hmmm…. I could use those for something”, but wasn’t sure what?  Here is the answer!  Place Value!!  Color coordinate your ones column, tens column, and hundreds column to help students identify place value.  What a cool way to make sure everyone is looking in the correct column based upon the background color!

6 – 1:1 Math Centers

Do you feel you are spending hours putting together your Math Centers?  Don’t worry, Education to the Core has you covered.  Provide your students with hands-on skills practice in Math and Literacy while saving yourself hours of center Prep with these NO PREP Math Centers.  Focus on Base Ten alone, like this Base Ten 5 in a Row game, or even better check out the entire Bundle of No Prep Centers!  So great that there is a Volume 1 and a Volume 2

Place Value Activity 7 – Base Ten Monsters!  (Or Robots)

Since you just provided your students with their own manipulatives from #6 1:1 Math Centers, let’s put those to a different use.  Allow your students to play with them!  Yes, play.  Have your students create a monster or a robot using manipulatives or cut-outs of hundred blocks, ten rods, and units.  Students count up the total of their robot creations when finished. Allow them to create two robots and see which robot will win “the battle” (greater than/less than). 

Activity 8 – Place Value Names

Differentiation Station Creations has the coolest idea of bringing in some literacy skills into your place value lesson!  Allow students to create letters using base ten blocks.  Create a capital letter and its lowercase letter counterpart.  Count up the base ten blocks and compare which was is greater than?  How about allowing your students to build their first name or last name?  Add up the base ten blocks that it takes to create their name, sight word, or spelling word!

9 – Monthly Packets

I love a theme!  I tend to plan my lessons around a certain holiday or topic that can easily align all my lessons that they naturally become cross-curricular.  Education to the Core must have been reading my lesson plans because they’ve created the perfect resource for people like me! I mean look at this “winter-themed” Hot Cocoa: Identifying Place Value Worksheet! Practice phonics, fluency, comprehension, writing, grammar, math, science, and social studies skills in a “monthly themed” style. Whether you are still looking for some great February fun or planning ahead for March…you’re covered!

Place Value Activity 10 – Place Value War

Use number cards, playing cards (numerals only – no face cards), or even Uno number cards for this activity. Deal the cards for an equal number of players.  Divide your pile of cards into two or three (depends if you want students to play using two-digit numbers or three-digit).  Players flip over one card from each pile to create a two-digit or three-digit number. The one with the larger number wins all the cards played.  Playing continues until a player is out of cards.  


Activity 11 – Place Value Read Alouds

Another passion of mine in my classroom is incorporating texts into cross-curricular lessons.  I love a good read-aloud, so I made sure I included some children’s books to incorporate into your next place value lesson!

12 – Place Value Math Packet

This Place Value Packet alone could fill this entire blog post!  It is that comprehensive and jammed-packed!  With 22 activities all you need to do is print and go. These activities are designed to give you the ability to not only differentiate between the needs of each individual student but also give you different ways to teach the concepts!  Love it so much that you’re looking for more math topics like “What’s the Value?” below? ETTC has a cost-effective bundle for you!

Place Value Activity 13 – Rolling for Place Value

In partners, students will roll a dice (or two dice).  Take that amount of unit blocks.  When the student gets over 10 unit blocks, they must exchange those units for a ten rod. The same rules apply when the student earns 10 rods, exchanging those for hundred blocks.  This game continues until one person reaches 100, 200, or any number that the teacher chooses. 

Activity 14 – Place Value Yahtzee

While you have those dice out from #13, think about allowing your students to play this FREE Yahtzee GameGames4Gains has several options to print off with this game making it truly differentiated for you and your students’ needs.  Rules and materials are included with this free resource!

15 – Color By Number

Ready to brighten up these cold winter days?  K-1 and 2-3 Winter Color by Number has 40 pages (20 per grade) that cover a variety of grade-level-appropriate ELA and Math skills!  Let your students show off their place value skills when they color the wintery scene according to the place value code included! With each season covered, Education to the Core is truly showing that Color By Number is Academic

Place Value Activity 16 – Pool Noodles

Have some pool noodles (aff) lying around?  If not you are going to be on the hunt for them to complete this activity because it’s so cool! Cutting ones/units and tens/rods out of pool noodles, students can create a whole group two-digit number. Prior to this activity cut small circles out about 2 inches thick for your ones/units.  Then cut about a ruler length portion of the noodle as your tens/rods. Have two long wooden rods or broomsticks where students can place the units and rods onto the appropriate pole.   Count up the base ten noodles to find the mystery number.

Activity 17 – CORE Binder

I can’t seem to get a hold of my organization skills this year. My desk has turned to the “Which pile is it in?”  Honestly, my students’ desks aren’t much better. The CORE Binder is the ULTIMATE resource that covers daily activities from classroom routine, math, and ELA.  These Classroom Organizers and Resources for Education also include social and emotional tools too.  The Place Value mats are perfect for daily use and individual practice. All you need to do is print and add manipulatives!

18 – Place Value Hopscotch

Draw a large hopscotch playing field or grid on the sidewalk with chalk.  Next, fill in each block with random multi-digit numbers.  Finally, allow your imagination to run wild!  Have students hop to the correct number with a verbal prompt: “Jump to the number with a 3 in the tens place”.  Mix up the actions to crawl, crab walks, skip, hop on one foot, etc.   You can also create other place value games using the same board.  Consider hopping in numbers from smallest to greatest.  Jump onto the playing board with your feet in different boxes.  Which foot has the bigger number?

Place Value Activity 19 – Snowball Place Value Toss

Besides a good theme and texts, I also love to incorporate hands-on gross-motor activities.  Marcy Bernethy: Saddle Up for 2nd Grade shares a bean bag toss to use with your place value lesson!  Since I am all about the theme, don’t be afraid to mix up the materials you’re tossing!  Create snowballs with crumpled paper for a wintery theme or if you have snowball pom poms lying around too?  Small inflatable beach balls would work too as summer approaches or wanting to warm up a bit.

Activity 20 – I Have, Who Has?

Here is another easy prep resource for educators (sensing a theme here?)!  Remember, I love getting my students moving and interacting with each other.  However, this “I Have, Who Has?” resource is so adaptable to any classroom and lesson expectation.  With 45 skills covered, students will have a fun whole-class or small-group game to play! This Place Value activity is an interactive activity PERFECT as a warm-up, practice, or review!  However, my favorite piece of this resource is that it encourages students to focus and listen closely to hear their numbers! 

21 – Place Value Nuts and Bolts

The Measured Mom has the perfect hands-on and fine motor activity!  Also, I’m a little jealous that I didn’t think of this one first!  Wow, talk about an engaging hands-on lesson!  Use nuts as your ones/units and the bolts as tens/rods.  This activity is PERFECT for exchanging ten ones to make a rod/ten!

Place Value Activity 22 – Ping Pong Challenge

On a ping pong ball write the word: ones, then another ball write tens, another is hundreds (you can continue with additional ping pong balls for whatever lesson you are planning).  Have students bounce the ping pong balls into numbered containers.  Whatever ping pong ball bounced into the numbered cup is the number to write in that place value.  Identify what number you created. Extend this lesson by having students write the expanded form of the multi-digit numbers that they create. 

Activity 23 – Weather and Seasons Unit

Would you believe me if I said that the Weather and Seasons Unit covers more than just the weather?!?  With over 50 cross-curricular adventures this resource has it all!  I just love the weather-related base ten cards that my students can manipulate and create their own addition, subtraction, or comparing numbers problems!  Remember, I love a theme!  Bonus because the hands-on science experiments in here are just amazing!

24 – YouTube Videos

Do your students LOVE watching video clips?!  Here are some great supplemental videos to add to your next place value lesson!

Ones, Tens, Hundreds, Thousands Place Value for Kids – Homeschool Pop

Place Value – Brain Pop Jr. 

Place Value Song For Kids – Numberock (my personal favorite on this YouTube list)

Ones and Tens: Place Value for Kids – Ones and Tens – Kids Academy

Ones, Tens and Hundreds: The Place Value of Numbers – Learn and Play

Place Value Activity 25 – Rainbow Place Value

With spring quickly approaching, let’s combine spring with food!  Using three different pipe cleaners (I would suggest cutting them at various lengths ones smaller, tens medium, hundreds large). Provide students with a number to build.  Using fruit loops or cheerios, students can thread the food onto the appropriate pipe cleaner.

If anyone ever walked into my classroom, I’m not sure what they would think.  They will see students out of their seats, some kneeling on their chairs leaning on their desks, and some sitting on the floor.  However, one thing I can promise you is that they are all engaged and on task.  Don’t be nervous to incorporate some movement into your lessons.  It is all about your stated expectations and practice.  Practice the transitions you want to see and practice how to get in and out of groups if needed.

Does this list of 25 Activities to Teach Place Value hit that sweet spot you were looking for?  I was afraid of letting my place value lessons become stale, but not anymore!  Which ones are you most excited about trying in your classroom?  Do you have a fun lesson or activity to share with us to include on this list?  Don’t be afraid to reach out and let us know!  We can only grow stronger together!

Written By – Christopher Olson

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