Hands-On Math Games for Counting to 1,000

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Hooray for the day when the kiddos are ready to count to 1,000!  We had a 100’s chart, so why not a 1,000’s chart? This turned out to be a great hands-on learning experience. Hands On Math: Thousands Chart

Process Over Product

For days, when my younger kids were sitting at the table snacking or drawing, I’d sit down next to them and fill out my thousands chart, saying each number out loud as I wrote it. I didn’t ask them to pay attention or announce what I was doing, but each time, they would stop  and watch me intently. Often they counted along.

At one point, my daughter grabbed paper and markers and began making her own chart. She was delighted when she figured out the pattern the numbers were making.

Making your own chart gives your child a chance to hear you say each number out loud and watch you write it, a concept I love from Jenny at Playdough to Plato, who does this with a hundreds chart.

If you look closely, you’ll see that I made some mistakes on my chart. When I did, I pointed them out, “Oops, I wrote the wrong number. That’s okay.” I’d fix it the best I could and move on. I have kiddos who tend to get very frustrated with even the tiniest mistakes, wanting to give up or start over, so this was a great opportunity to model not doing things perfectly.

Benefits of making a Thousands Chart

  • Gives kids the opportunity to discover patterns in numbers.
  • It’s a hands-on way to learn higher counting skills, by circling numbers, writing on the chart, and playing games.
  • It’s a highly visual way to see how place value works.

{This post contains affiliate links, which earn me a small commission and offsets the costs of this blog, helping me monetarily contribute to my family. Thank you.}

How to Make a Thousands Chart

Print the charts. You can find the free printable  forms from Kerrie Sherrell from the Who’s On First? blog on Teacher’s Pay Teachers.  You will need to sign up for a TPT account, if you don’t already have one, but it’s free.

Laminate your chart. {I heart my  laminator. Isn’t it lovely? I really do just adore it.}Best laminator ever!

Laminating the chart allows us to write on it with  dry erase markers (washable, of course).

Games for counting to 1,000

I used a bit of packaging tape on the back of the charts to hold the laminated pages together and keep them in order.

Games to Play

We made our own number dice with wooden blocks from the craft store. My daughter rolled the dice, then found the number on the chart and circled it with a marker.

1000 chart dice

We also circled numbers as we came across them throughout the day. We finished a book with 169 pages, so we circled that number. We went to visit a friend, whose house number was 740, so we circled that number.

Finally, we began counting by 5’s and 10’s and 50’s, coloring in the blocks with our dry-erase marker as we went. Again, noticing the patterns was the point of this game, and soon, she was coloring in squares quickly, without counting, but by noticing the pattern on the page.

I am sure we will discover many more games to play with our Thousands Chart. Do you have some ideas? We’d love to hear them in the comments at the end of this post.

Thousands chart for hands-on math games.


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