Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Why don't we say 'eleventeen'? This was a question one of my students asked me at the start of a lesson on teen numbers. 'ummm interesting question!' I replied. I realised then that every early years lesson is also a lesson on vocabulary too!
Teaching teen numbers is one of my favourite types of lessons though, because there is so much scope for fun activities!
Fun = Engagement = Learning
So here are my favourite 10 fun ways of teaching teen numbers to kindergarten students.
1. MAKE A NUMBER WITH TEN FRAMES
Hopefully, you have already introduced ten frames to your students in their work from 1-10. Now you can build on this by adding in another ten frames and build on their existing knowledge. Place ten frames side by side or one on top of the other to reinforce array counting. Don't forget to mix up the number word and numeral options for making teen numbers. The rule with this is to 'count on' from 10 already in the first frame.
Use counters, play dough or blocks to build the number.
2. FOLDING TEEN NUMBERS
This is a clever activity for showing students how we can add 10 to numbers they already know to make the teen number. Print the number sheet, trim and fold the numbers along the dotted lines. This helps reinforce the idea that two parts make the whole (which you can build upon later). Ask students questions 'which two parts make 18?' and let them show you with the foldable strips.
3. MATCHING ACTIVITIES
You can create any type of matching activity with objects you have around the house or the classroom. These puzzles can be found in the Fun with Teen Number pack but you can use bottle tops to match bottles, pieces of card cut into squares or play dough shapes. If you're using cards or puzzle pieces like this, turn them face down on the table and mix them up. This is a great one for small group work with a teacher aide or parent to help. Set matching items such as numerals, number word, objects or dots on a card, ten frames or tally marks.
4. INSECT PARTS OF THE WHOLE
Ultimately you want to work towards the concept of parts of the whole, something you will build upon later when students do fraction work. But part part whole or number bonds are a great way to segment and add together the teen number parts. Butterfly wings make a great tool for the two parts. Simple write the teen number on the butterfly and get students to write in either number name, numerals, dots or tally marks (or all of these) on each of the wings to show the two parts that make the whole teen number. Then hang these around your classroom for a great display on teen number learning.
You can use ladybugs too!
5. FLASH CARDS
Do you remember in the 'old days' when teachers used a lot of flash cards? They worked! Flash cards are a great tool for 'see and say' activities. They don't always need to be used in that way though. Place cards with the number word, numeral or ten frame on the board and arrange in order, remove one and hide it, set them backwards. There are so many ideas for making these cards interactive for students. Place random cards across the board with blu-tack and ask students 'Which number is missing?'. This makes a great warm-up activity for teen number work.
Try it with MAB blocks too!
6. COUNTING ACROSS THE FLOOR
This activity is a fun warm-up and gets students so excited! My Prep students loved it when they came back from break! Set numbers to 20 across the floor in two lines. Then divide students into two groups. Roll a dice (a big foam one work best) across the floor and then the student has to walk forward that number. So if they roll a 6 they walk forward to the sixth spot. Then the other team has a go. On their next throw, they roll again and have to add this number to the 6 they already walked to. So if they roll a 2, for example, they add 6 + 2 and walk to the number 8. They keep doing this turn about until one reaches 20. It doesn't take long for one of them to reach 20 and then another student can have a go. It's such a fun way to practice adding on and they get SO competitive!
7. SEQUENCING NUMBERS
Sequencing activities are so important and they really help solidify knowledge. They also help to demonstrate what a student knows and understands. Sequencing teen numbers is a fun way to bring another sequencing activity into your classroom. Use numerals, number words or objects (such as these raindrop cards). Mix the cards up on the table and let the student turn them over, place them in the correct position in the row and select again for another card.
You can find these activities and more in the Fun with Teen Number pack here.