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Games to practise number bonds to 10 (or any other maths skills)

(12 Posts)
Galena Sat 22-Mar-14 10:26:57

So 4yo DD needs to learn by heart the pairs of numbers that make 10. I would prefer non-electronic games to play which will encourage her to learn these by heart. She can work them out pretty quickly using her fingers, but I want her to learn them so she knows them properly.

I was thinking a pairs-type game where you make a pair with 2 numbers which total 10, but that gives her plenty of time to use her fingers to work out the answer.

Any ideas?

mamachelle Sat 22-Mar-14 11:25:26

we have sung the number bonds song that i saw here a while back:

9 and 1 are number bonds,
8 and 2 are friends,
7 and 3,
6 and 4,
5 and 5 are twins.

this is to the tune of row the boat.

and we also made lots of flash cards with each number on and play random card games, snap, pairs and dominoes with them.

iseenodust Sat 22-Mar-14 15:35:32

Shut the box is the game you need.
For ease with numbers generally Top Trumps are great, look for one of the sets aimed at younger children they have smaller numbers & larger print.

Galena Sat 22-Mar-14 15:45:44

Thanks... I also found some printable games on the mathsticks website which she's enjoying...

Neverhere Sat 22-Mar-14 16:11:35

Another song (tune of frere a Jacque - sp?)
Ten and zero
Ten and zero
Zero and ten
Zero and ten
Put it altogether
Put it all together
That makes ten
That makes ten
(Continue until 5 and 5)

Also under the rock game:
Get 10 (or any other number bond) items (eg peas, blocks)
One player turns away and the other puts some under the bowl. Player uses the objects they can see to work out how many are "under the rock". Use a timer to increase speediness.

PastSellByDate Sat 22-Mar-14 16:12:02


Use ordinary deck of cards. Leave out Jack/ Queen/ King. Ace = 1.

Version 1:

Shuffle cards and place face down. Flip the card and shout out the number added to that card which makes 10. If you get it right you keep the card.

Flip the card - say it's 3. First to say number to make 10 (so shout out '7') gets the card.

Version 2. Same thing with deck but get two different decks of cards.

Shuffle cards and place one deck in front of player 1 and one deck in front of player 2. (If playing with more than 2 people - place one deck in centre and take turns flipped deck 2 cards).

Flip card in deck 1. then flip card in deck 2. If the two cards add up to 10 shout snap. If doesn't = 10 - then

in VERSION 1: the person with deck 1 flips card. If that card + old deck 2 card = 10 shout snap, if not the person with deck 2 card flips card, and carry on until total = 10 and someone correctly shouts snap.

Whoever shouts snap gets all flipped over cards.

spice it up by insisting that if you shout SNAP incorrectly, all your cards are forfeit and return to the centre for the next SNAP collection.


SNAKES & LADDERS - play with 1 die for practice moving up to 6 spaces and two dice for practice up to 12 spaces.

Allow them to count on fingers or count out spaces at first but then ask them to move in intervals of 2 (so if they roll a 5 - counting 2/ 4/ 5).

Then when good at making small jumps encourage full jumps.

(can be played backwards for practice with subtraction).



Draw a 10 square hop scotch (chalk on pavement fine!) - any layout you like. Number squares 1 - 10.

Throw rock to a square (say you throw onto 7).

They have to guess how many hops to make 10 (or have them do it if they aren't sure).

Physically gets them used to moving about over 10 spaces and how many more moved needed to make full 10.

Also can be played backwards for take away one.


When you're good with ten bonds - the next logical step is adding 10 to a number (may help to work with 100 number square - e.g. -

Now as you walk to school/ playground/ friends/ etc... - play a game where you guess what the address will be if adding 10 (you'll most likely count by 2s as roads tend to have even and odd sides) - so good practice doing this in jumps of 2s.

If you get particularly good at that - spice it up by having them add different numbers to 10 - to the address: so 138 + 5 would give us? Which side of the road will that be on - the even side or the odd side?


Ferguson Sat 22-Mar-14 19:03:32

The following might help with numeracy; I send it to different age groups, so ignore whatever isn't relevant in your case:


Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths work, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other

etc, etc

then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

I am sorry it seems complicated trying to explain these concepts, but using Lego or counters should make understanding easier.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :


Galena Sat 22-Mar-14 19:24:04

Thanks both.

She has a scarily good understanding of abstract maths - counts up and back confidently in 2s, 5s and 10s over 100 and can readily say which number comes before/after another in the pattern (so 2 more than 22 or 5 less than 60, for example)

She knows how to work out pairs of numbers which make 10 but I'm trying to get her to develop the quick recall - she has it for 10/0, 9/1 and 5/5 - it is the others she needs to practise.

I think it is just a case of practise, practise, practise...

simpson Sat 22-Mar-14 22:07:50

Agree with shut the box.

Check out the squeebles apps. DD (yr1) loves the maths bingo one.

I forget all the settings on it but the easiest setting is numbers to 10.

thestylethatdecadesforgot Sun 23-Mar-14 14:01:28

Galena, can I ask please, is this reception as your dd is 4? Just wondering what to expect to be covering myself!

Galena Sun 23-Mar-14 14:15:01

She is Reception but doing Y1 maths.

Ferguson Sun 23-Mar-14 19:53:35

If she can do abstract mental maths, it seems strange she can't 'visualize' and continue on from 9/1, decreasing the first digit, increasing the second. Obviously it 'balances' at 5/5, then reverses, so it's the same digits, but reversed (if you see what I mean).

As she is only Reception age, I'm sure she will 'get it' before too long.

But DO try it with 'blocks': 10 one side, none the other. Draw a thick line down middle of piece of paper, to separate the two sides. Or use two table-mats or coasters, and move blocks one at a time, so the first pile gets smaller as the other gets larger.

If she SEES that pattern emerging I'll be surprised if she can't quickly learn to recall it. (Unless she's 'playing dumb' for some strange reason, but that seems unlikely.)

There used to be a string of ten beads resource, that you slide along to illustrate it - called 'SUMthings' I think - not sure if they are still around.

Don't labour it too much, in case she starts to fret about it.

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