Posted in Calculating, Conceptual understanding, Games, Strategic competence

Subtract from 10

Here’s a game to practise subtracting numbers from 10.

subtraction game

You need:

  • A game board (download here)
  • Counters for each person (we made some with pictures stuck on milk bottle tops)
  • A dice or pile of digit cards 1 – 6

Take turns to:

  1. Throw the dice;
  2. Subtract the dice number from 10, find the answer on the board and place a counter on it.

If you cannot place a counter, do nothing. You cannot put a counter on a number that already has a counter on it.

When all the hexagons have been covered, the winner is the player who has placed more counters.

Use full sentences and correct mathematical language as you play the game.

I have thrown a 2.  10 subtract 2 is 8.

I have thrown a 2. 10 take away 2 equals 8.

Subtraction is not just take away. Learners find the concept of subtraction as difference between more difficult than take away, so play the game using the language of difference:

I have thrown a 2. The difference between 10 and 2 is 8.

Use bottle tops to illustrate this.

difference between
The difference between 10 and 2 is 8.

Also explore subtraction as counting back. Use jumps on a number line to show this.

number line -2
I threw a 2.  10 count back 2 equals 8.
Posted in Easter, Games

Race to the eggs

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are playing a game. Why don’t you try it?

Easter game

Race to the eggs – a game for two players

You will need:

The game board (download here), a dice (or a pile of 1 – 6 digit cards) and 6 counters for each player. We made counters from milk bottle tops.

To play:

Take turns to throw the dice, say the number thrown and move a counter along the track.

If you land on a paw print, say the number that should be there.

Once you have moved your counter, choose one of the boxes on the side of the board. If you choose:

  • Double – double the number on the dice.
  • Make 10 – say the number that goes with the number on the dice to make 10.
  • 3 – think of 3 ways to make the number on the dice e.g. if you threw a 4 you could say 3 + 1 = 4, 5 – 1 = 4, 2 + 2 = 4.
  • More – say a number that is more than the number on the dice.
  • Less – say a number that is less than the number on the dice.

If you get the answer correct you can put one of your counters on the rectangle.

The game continues until one player gets to the eggs but you cannot be the winner until you also have a counter on each of your 5 boxes.

Posted in Calculating, Conceptual understanding, Easter, Logical reasoning, Problem solving

Two eggs left

Digit Dog has been eating his Easter mini eggs.

He has 2 eggs left.

Calculating Cat is wondering how many eggs he could have had to start with and how many he could have eaten to be left with 2.

two eggs left

How many eggs could he have had at the start? What if it was 6? How many would he have eaten to be left with 2?

What other numbers could he have started with?

What number do you know he couldn’t have had at the start?

How many different solutions can you find?

How did you work it out? Explain your reasoning.

Can you record your solutions?

Can you put your solutions in order?

What if………..

……………he had a different number of eggs left?

………….he was eating bones not eggs?

……… made up a problem like this about your Easter eggs?

Posted in Easter, Logical reasoning, What's the same / different?

Compare the Easter eggs

Helping children to notice similarities and differences in everyday life helps them to spot patterns and to use their reasoning skills. Spotting patterns and logical reasoning are key when learning mathematics.

Ask children “What is the same?” “What is different?”

Then ask them to explain what they notice, this improves their language and thinking.

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are playing “what’s the same and what’s different?” with their Easter eggs.

same different eggs

same different eggs W

Look at the two eggs and find similarities and differences. Any answer is acceptable. Encourage children to keep looking for more. Make a list that can be added to.

What can you say about the two eggs? What do you notice?

Can you think of anything that is the same?

I can see that both eggs have Peter Rabbit on them.

Encourage and model the use of full sentences.

Anything else?

Both eggs are made of chocolate.

Both eggs are in a box.

Can you think of more things that are the same?

What about the differences? What is different about the two eggs?

I can see that one egg has creme eggs in it and the other has mini eggs.

Any other differences?

The boxes are different colours.

Use your own Easter eggs to play this game.

Posted in Counting, Easter

Fill the egg

How many objects can you fit in the egg?

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are trying to fill their plastic eggs with as many objects as they can.

Try this out for yourself – each person needs an empty plastic Easter egg or any small container to fill with as many objects as they can. The one who collects most objects is the winner.

fill the egg




Fill the egg Cy

Count the objects to see who has the most. Organise your objects so that you can see how many there are without counting in ones.

Do this by:

  1.  Organising the objects into tens.  How many do you have?  “I have one ten and eight”.

Screenshot 2018-03-23 08.27.30

Screenshot 2018-03-23 08.27.39

How many objects does Digit Dog have? Don’t count in ones.

Does he have more or fewer objects than Calculating Cat? Explain how you know.

2. Putting the objects on a 10-frame (download here).

Calculating Cat
Digit Dog

Who collected the most objects? How do you know?

How many more objects does Calculating Cat need so that she has 20? How can you work it out by looking at the 10-frame?

3. Putting the objects in egg boxes.

Calculating Cat
Digit Dog

Who was the winner? Who had more objects? Who had fewer objects? Can you quickly count the objects? Make a chart to show how many objects each person collected.



Posted in Calculating, Logical reasoning, Making totals

Making totals

Digit Dog and Calculating Cat are using 4 bottletop bugs (or you can use digit cards) to make different totals.

make totals with bugs.png

They have got the 2, 3, 4 and 8 bugs.  They have made two totals already and are wondering how many more they can make.

What totals can you make? Which bugs are you using?

How are you going to record what you have done? With a drawing? With a number sentence?

Can you make these totals:







How will you know when you have found all the possible totals?

Can you record your work in a systematic way?

What if…………

…………you choose a different 4 bugs / numbers and do the same thing?



Posted in Additive relationships, Counting, Easter, Games

Easter Race to 10

A game for any number of players.

You will need:

  • A 10 frame each (download here)
  • A dice with numbers 1 – 3, or a set of digit cards (download here double sided to have Digit Dog on the back) that are placed face down in a pile and then the top one is turned over for each turn
  • 10 eggs for each player (cut out eggs here or use mini chocolate eggs)

Take turns to throw the dice. Count the number of eggs and put them on the 10 frame. The first person to get 10 eggs wins.

As you play describe how many eggs you have:

“I have ……… eggs. I need ……….more to make 10”.

During the game take time to look at each other’s frames and talk about the numbers of eggs on each frame.

Use the sentences like Calculating Cat:

“I have ……… more eggs than you. You have …….fewer eggs than me.”

“I have …….fewer eggs than you. You have ……..more eggs than me.”

race to 10 eggs

How many eggs does Digit Dog have?

How many eggs does Calculating Cat have?

Who has fewer eggs? How many fewer? Explain how you know.

Who has more eggs? How many more?

How many more eggs does Digit Dog need to make 10? What about Calculating Cat?

Now play Race from 10

Start with 10 eggs. Throw the dice and take away that number of eggs. The first person to have no eggs is the winner.



Posted in Calculating, Conceptual understanding, Easter

Making ten with eggs

Digit Dog has got 10 mini Easter eggs and two baskets. He puts some eggs in one basket and the rest in the other. He’s trying to find out how many ways he can do this.

Try this yourself – if you don’t have eggs and baskets you can use any objects and containers you can find.

eggs in basket

eggs in basket Welsh

Let children try out some different ways of organising the eggs. Say:

I have ……..eggs in one basket and ……..eggs in the other. I have 10 eggs altogether.

…….. plus ……… is equal to 10.


How can you record what you have done? Children might take photos, draw pictures or write a number sentence.

How will you know you have found all the different ways? Can you explain how you know?

Do you notice any patterns?

What if………….

……….you put the eggs in the two baskets, then one person closes their eyes and another person takes away some eggs? Person 1 opens their eyes and works out how many eggs are missing. How did you work out how many were missing? Explain your thinking.

………you had three baskets?

…… had more than 10 eggs?