What is Number Sense?While the sole focus of elementary mathematics used to be arithmetic and computation, that is no longer the case. With the advent of calculators and computer technologies, the need for skill and precision in computation is not as great.
What is much more necessary and important is developing number sense in our kids, especially in the early years.
So what exactly is number sense?
Generally, number sense can be described as, “fluidity and flexibility with numbers, a sense of what numbers mean, and an ability to use mental mathematics to negotiate the world and make comparisons.” (source: Keith Devlin at The Huffington Post)
Kids who possess strong number sense understand how to put together and break apart numbers to solve mental calculations, recognize unreasonable answers, use math to solve everyday problems, make connections between operations and make reasonable estimates.
Number Sense Roll and Cover Games:So as I seek to develop number sense in my kids (kindergarten and first grade), as well as play more games, I created a set of games that has been a fun addition to our math time.
Skills covered in this set of printable math games:
- Number recognition
- Subitizing (recognizing the quantity of a set at a glance, without counting)
- Counting on
- Addition to 10
- Addition to 20
- Mental math skills
Number Sense Games included:This download includes 5 different games for kindergarten and first grade.
- The first 3 games focus on counting and number recognition.
- The first is played with 1 die and focuses on the numbers 1-6.
- The second uses two dice and focuses on the numbers 2-12.
- The third uses three dice to focus on the numbers 4-18.
- The last two games focus on addition skills within 10 and 20.
These games require covering the missing number to make ten or make 20, as opposed to covering the number that was rolled.
How to Play:All you need to get started are a set of dice and some markers to cover the numbers on the game board. We used two different colors of unifix cubes to cover the spaces, but you could use two-sided counters, beads of different colors, etc. Anything will work, as long as you can tell your pieces apart from your partner.
To play, roll the dice and count the total number.
Number Recognition games - simply cover the number that you roll.
- For example, if you're working on the three dice game and roll a 4, 6 and 2, you would cover 12 on the game board.
- If the number you roll is already covered, you lose your turn and play continues to the next person. Play continues this way until the board is covered.
- The person with the most spaces covered wins!
Addition Games - you still begin by rolling the dice and adding up the total. Then you cover the number that would be used to make ten or make twenty.
- For example, if you roll a 3 and a 4 your total is 7. So you would need to cover 3 on the game board to make ten.
- Or you would cover 13 on the addition to 20 game board.
- Again, play until the board is covered, and the player with the most spaces wins.
Possible Variation:Depending on which game you choose, and how many dice you're playing with, the game can get a little long towards the end. The odds of rolling certain combinations are much lower, so it can get tedious waiting for the one last number!
If this is the case, you may want to adapt the rules. Sometimes when we're playing with two dice, we allow two rolls per turn. Then you can choose to keep one number and re-roll the other, or re-roll both.
However you play, I hope this gives you a collection of fun and super simple ways to practice important skills, and build number sense in your kids!
And if you'd like to learn more about resources and printables from Math Geek Mama, simply click here for resources for all ages.
FREE First Grade Math
- Hungry Caterpillar Days of the Week
- First Grade Mad Minutes
- Addition Mini Book
- Hundreds Chart Activities
- Deck of Cards Subtraction
- Skip Counting Mazes
- Princess Addition Flashcards
- Robot Money Practice
- Telling Time Puzzles
- 12 Math Pictures books that Teach
- Solve & Stamp Math Worksheets with Hidden Pictures
Download Number Sense Roll & Cover 5 Math GamesBefore you download your free pack you agree to the following:
- This set is for personal and classroom use only.
- This printable set may not be sold, hosted, reproduced, or stored on any other website or electronic retrieval system.
- Graphics Purchased and used with permission
- All downloadable material provided on this blog is copyright protected.
Bethany is the mom behind the blog, Math Geek Mama, a website dedicated to making math fun and engaging, while building a strong conceptual understanding of mathematics. When she's not playing with numbers, she is exploring with her four little ones, drinking way too much coffee, or soaking up the chaos of everyday life. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.