FREE Spring Counting Game (Numbers 1 - 20)

Monday, March 13, 2017

FREE Spring Counting Game (Numbers 1 - 20)

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One of the trickiest concepts for Kindergartners to master is a deep understanding of the numbers 11-20. While they may be able to count all the way to 20 (and usually very proudly and enthusiastically), they may not truly understand them. So I hope this Numbers to 20 Game will not only teach your children to recognize the numbers 11-20 and their names, but also deepen their conceptual understanding.
FREE Spring Counting Game to help Kindergarten age kids practice numbers 1 20 (math games, math centers, homeschool)

Where does the challenge with the numbers 11-20 come from?

The first challenge is in understanding one-to-one correspondence. This means they need to recognize that the number corresponds to the quantity of what’s being counted. That the last number spoken answers the question, “how many?”

Even more challenging, though, is a place value understanding of these numbers, which is made even more difficult by the English language. The words for these numbers do not correspond to the place value like larger numbers do.

The numbers twenty and beyond use the suffix ‘ty’ to mean tens. So twenty-four means, “two-ty four, “ or “two tens and four ones.”

But eleven? What? This doesn’t describe the number as one ten and one one, and so on.

Understanding these numbers as “Ten and…”

This is why the goal of this game is to help young kids understand these numbers as representing a quantity that is “one ten and some ones.”

Then as they play, count and recognize the numeral, the other pieces of understanding will come as well.

For another visual model of these numbers as “a ten and some ones,” see these interactive counting pages.

Another model that is using sticky notes to display the numbers.

Numbers 1 20

Spring Numbers Counting Game

Setting up the Game:

To get started, you will need to print the game board and the question cards. I suggest printing all of these pages on card stock and laminating them for durability.

I would also suggest printing two sets of cards so that you have plenty and aren’t constantly shuffling and restarting the card pile.

Then cut out the cards, shuffle them and place them face down next to the game board.

Spring Numbers Counting to 20 Game

How to Play:

To begin, all players place their game pieces at start.

Then the first player draws a card from the pile. Each card will either say, “Move ahead…” or “Move backward…” by counting something on the card.

They then count the quantity shown on their card and move to the nearest number (either forward or backward, depending on what the card says) on the game board.

For example, if their card says, “Move ahead to the nearest number by counting the spots,” and the bugs show a total of 12 spots, they move forward to the nearest twelve.
math game for kindergarten perfect for math center, homeschool, math practice

Or if it says, “Move backward…” and the total number of spots is twelve, they would move backward to the nearest twelve.

Players then take turns drawing a card, counting and moving their game piece accordingly around the game board.

The first player to land on the “Finish” space is the winner!

Spring Counting Game

Variations or Extensions:

If you have an older child who has mastered their understanding of the numbers 11-20, you can use the game board to practice addition within 20.

Simply grab a deck of cards and remove the face cards. Take turns drawing two cards and add the numbers together. Then move forward to the correct number.

Or you could change the rules so that you move to the closest number, even if it’s backward. For instance, if you are on twelve and the sum of your cards is eighteen, you’re actually closer to the eighteen behind you than moving forward to the next eighteen.

However you decide to use this game with your youngest mathematicians, I hope it will provide ample practice with a variety of important math concepts.

Kindergarten Math   [Kindergarten Page]

Spring Numbers to 20 Game Cover

Download Spring Counting Game (1-20)

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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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.
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  1. Thank you so much for all of the fun activities that you make and share! I wanted to say that this board game is great for my 4-year-old who is working on learning his numbers. What I didn't expect is that this is also great for my older kids to practice spelling their numbers. I have them write out the word for the number they are landing on with their lap chalk board, and it is a fun, fairly painless way to practice their spelling. WIN!