2 minutes reading time
Basic Number Grids Make Math Easy
Simple number grids are a great math tool for young children. Grids allow children to clearly see numbers they are adding or subtracting, as their finger “jumps” from one number to the next. Grids consist of rows (across) and columns (up and down.) Using the number grid allows young children to add and subtract large numbers, without having to know about borrowing and carrying.
Often young children get “lost” on the grid by not continuing to the next sequential row. Color-coding is an easy way to correct that problem!
To better understand the following game directions, print and reference the basic number grid from our “Print and Use Tools.” Our grid has already been color-coded for you.
Here are some fun and easy math activities to practice on the grid with your child.
- The main functions of the grid are “plus” (+) and “take away.” (-) Jumping “forward” in a row (to the right) is a plus function. Jumping “backward” in a row (to the left) is a minus function. I always tell my students that you don’t start to count until you make that first jump!
- Ask your child, “If you start at 5 and you make 7 jumps forward (to the right) where do you land?” “Twelve, that’s correct,” Then write and show them the number model, (5+7=12.) Continue with more addition problems.
- For subtraction ask your child, “If you start at 25 and make 8 jumps backwards (to the left) where do you land?” “Seventeen, that’s right!” Again, write the number model (25-8=17.) Continue with more subtraction problems.
- Once your child is comfortable with the “forward and backward row” (right and left) functions of the grid, introduce the up and down columns on the grid. “Down,” (top to bottom) on a grid column is a plus ten function (+10.) “Up,” (Bottom to top) on the grid column is minus a ten function. (-10.)
- Ask your child, “If your finger is on 23 and you make three jumps down where do you land?” “Fifty-three, that’s right!” Write the number model 23+30=53. Continue with more jumps "down" in different columns. (Adding by 10)
- Vary the activity with jumps “up” for subtraction by 10. Ask your child, “If you start on 78 and make 4 jumps “up” where do you land? “That’s right 38!” Write the number model, 78-40=38. Continue with more jumps "up" in different columns (Subtracting by 10)
Number grids make math meaningful and fun. The more your child uses the grid, the better their addition and subtraction facts will be!