How to Use Ten-Frame Math Manipulatives with List of Free Printables and Activities

Ten-frame manipulatives are great resources for teaching early math due to the fact that they are hands-on and help kids get a visual on number relationships, place value, counting, and in learning to add and subtract quickly (mental math).  I’ll be sharing some ways you can use teach math concepts with ten-frames using Learning Resources’ Ten Frame Treasures math manipulative set, which was sent to me by the company for review.  So not only will you be learning about ten-frames in general and how they can be used in this post, you’ll also get my honest opinions on this learning product!

DSC_0009Ten-Frames and Preschoolers

My son Isaac can count to about 30 but it’s pretty much just something he’s caught on to while listening to his older sister, so the actual counting of objects is what we’re working on lately.  Ten-frames can be used for beginning number sense using these activities:

–  Count with your child out loud as they place the counters in the frames, helping them recognize each counter represents a number.

– Ask your child to fill the frame from top left to right so that the first five spots are filled first, then the next five.  This will reinforce the “10 is two 5’s” concept later.

– Ask your child to put a certain number of counters in the frame, and/or you put counters in the frame and ask how many.  Counting practice!

– Begin very simple adding (1 + 1 = 2).

– Play this super cute printable number matching game with your little one.

I think free play is important at the 2/3/4 age, so introduce these simple concepts but don’t drill him or her too much yet.  Kids are very smart at this age and can retain a lot!  If it doesn’t seem like they’re catching onto something, come back to it later.  :)

Ten-Frame Activities for Early Math

–  Use them to teach counting by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s.  Here Emma was filling the frames with coins in the hopes that it would take me awhile to count them (making a “hard” problem for mom)… then expressed her disbelief at how quickly I was able to count them because I counted by 10’s (which she knows how to do).  I told her, “See, there was a reason I was teaching you to count by 10’s!”  ;-)


– When teaching addition, use gold for one addend and silver for the other.  This is a great way to show number relationships and how different numbers add up to the same sum, too (like 2+3 and 3+2).  Here Emma is completing math problems from a dollar store addition and subtraction workbook (entirely her idea!) using the ten-frames.


– Mental Math: Ask students to add the number 8 to a frame, then make it show 5 instead.  You can use multiple frames to make this harder.  In the beginning, they might clear the whole frame and start over, but soon they’ll figure out they need to take 3 away to make 5, etc.

– Begin a pattern with the coins and ask your child to continue the pattern. (Example: Silver, Gold, Silver, Silver)

– Here’s an activity Emma really liked:  Without the child seeing, fill a frame with a number of counters.  Show it to the child for just a moment and then hide it with a piece of paper.  See if they can remember the number and write it down.  If it helps, they can always recreate it in a different ten-frame and then count that number.

– Fill in the missing addend math:  Here’s a great visual for how to do this with your child using a ten-frame.  Also, Lory’s Page has a free printable math worksheet that you could easily laminate and use dry-erase markers on, creating your own problems.

More Ten-Frame Activities & Free Printables:

Addition Practice Activity
Addition/Subtraction Ten-Frame Game
Ten-Frame War Cards & Game
Ten-Frame Games to Play Online
 Printable Greater/Less Than Game
Ways to Make 5 Bingo Game
Simple Number Recording Sheet (1-5)
Number Recording Worksheet (0-20)
Deal Out a Ten Game

Product Review: Ten-Frame Treasures by Learning Resources

 Now for the Ten-Frame Treasures set review!

 What I initially liked best about Ten-Frame Treasures is the fact that it is both a pretend playset and math manipulative. Both my kids loved this right away and enjoyed playing with it by themselves as well as with a little more direction from me as we played some of the games or completed the activities mentioned above. The materials are a sturdy plastic and both the chest and coins are nicely detailed with the chest and ten-frames made to look like wood and the coins featuring double-sided raised images (like real treasure!).  When you open the package you receive:

The treasure chest
4 ten-frame trays
40 gold coins
40 silver coins
An activity guide with great ideas on how to use the set with your child


All of the pieces fit nicely inside the chest, so it’s easy to store the pieces.  The set is recommended for ages 5 and up but my 2-year-old enjoyed playing with it, too – and it’s honestly one of our favorite sets to practice counting with so I would recommend it for preschool age (supervised, of course).

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ten-Frame Treasures if you’re looking for a hands-on ten-frame set.  We really love this one!  You can find Ten-Frame Treasures at Learning Resources and  It retails for $27.99.

For more creative hands-on math ideas, check out my Pinterest board!

Disclosure:  My thanks to Learning Resources for providing the prizing for this giveaway and for sending me the bundle above so that I could share my thoughts and experiences with my readers!  The opinions I have given are 100% mine based on my experiences.  My amazon affiliate link is embedded in this post.



7 Responses to How to Use Ten-Frame Math Manipulatives (With List of Activities/Printables) PLUS Learning Resources Ten-Frame Treasures Review/Giveaway

  • I ike riddle moo and trifacta because my children are diff ages and both love all the LR products.

  • I have never even heard of a Ten-Frame! I must be living in the dark ages or something… LOL It looks like a neat learning “toy,” though! :) My boys would like it just because it comes in a treasure chest! haha!

  • I like the Magnetic Time Activity Set because my little one is learning to read time!

  • I also like the Gears! Gears! Gears! Lights & Action Building Set. My son is into building and taking things apart.
    It would be perfect for him.

  • I really like the teaching cash register. It reminds me a lot of the cash registers they had at my son’s preschool. It seems like all the kids really flocked to them.

  • I really like the teaching cash register. Not only is it a teaching tool, but it’s a lot of fun to play with.

  • I like the Teaching Cash Register. My 8 year old son has autism, and has been struggling to learn math and money skills. A toy like this would be a fun, interactive way to help him learn!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for updates and freebies!

More from Kindred Spirit Mommy
Must Read!