• English
    • English Pre-K
      • Unit 1: Early Literacy Skills
        • ABCs
          • Pre-writing Activities
          • Letter A
          • Letter B
          • Letter C
          • Letter D
          • Letter E
          • Letter F
          • Letter G
          • Letter H
          • Letter I
          • Letter J
          • Letter K
          • Letter L
          • Letter M
          • Letter N
          • Letter O
          • Letter P
          • Letter Q
          • Letter R
          • Letter S
          • Letter T
          • Letter U
          • Letter V
          • Letter W
          • Letter X
          • Letter Y
          • Letter Z
        • Phonological Awareness
          • Rhyming Words
          • Letter Sounds B, C, D, and F
          • Letter Sounds G, H, J, and K
          • Letter Sounds L, M, N, and P
          • Letter Sounds Q, R, S, and T
          • Letter Sounds V, W, X, Y, and Z
          • Letter Sounds A, E, and I
          • Letter Sounds O and U
          • Beginning Sounds
          • Matching Letters to Sounds
      • Unit 2: Vocabulary
        • Common Words
          • Sorting Words into Categories
          • Color Words
          • Verbs and Adjectives
        • Sight Words
          • Sight Words 'I' and 'Can'
          • Sight Words 'You' and 'Like'
      • Unit 3: Print Awareness
        • Parts of a Book
          • Working with a Book
          • Spaces Between Words
          • Text and Illustrations
        • Picture Books and Poems
          • Picture Book Text Features
          • Poem Text Features
        • Signs and Labels in the Community
      • Unit 4: Reading Literature
        • Questions About Stories
        • Discussing Stories
      • Unit 5: Reading Informational Texts
        • Retelling Details in a Text
        • Questions About a Text
        • Connections Between Events
        • Text Features
        • Describing Illustrations
  • Math
    • Math for Pre-Kindergarten
      • Logic and Geometry
        • Matching and Sorting
          • Same and Different
          • Which One Is a Little Different?
          • Objects That Go Together
          • Sorting by Color and Size
          • Sorting The Same Group in Different Ways
          • Patterns
        • Shapes
          • Shapes in Our Environment
          • Naming Shapes Regardless of Size
          • Making Shapes in Preschool
          • Comparing Shapes
          • Relative Positions
          • Sorting Shapes
      • Early Number Sense
        • Numbers 1–5
          • Counting to 3
          • Counting to 5
          • Arranging Objects up to 3 Objects
          • Arranging up to 5 Objects
          • Writing Numbers 1–5
      • Numbers up to 10
        • Counting to 10
        • Arranging up to 10 Objects
        • Number 0
        • Writing Numbers 6–10
        • Breaking Down Numbers 6-10

Breaking Down Numbers 6-10

An essential skill for preschool children to learn is composing and decomposing numbers through 10. What that means is they are able to look at a series of objects arranged in different ways and determine the number of objects. Another part of this essential math skill is “building a number by showing 2 smaller digits that compose it. 

One of the most engaging and fun ways to help your child gain understanding of this concept is by making it hands-on and concrete. When the abstract idea of numbers is first learnedand even later onit is best to work out examples with real objects before practicing with paper. A fun way to explore composing and decomposing numbers is with Lego blocks or any other type of building toy. Kids love Lego, and building different structures of the number 7, for example, is easier when the blocks interlock. Basically, children need the understanding that they won’t always be counting things in a straight line or a perfect row. The idea that 7 means 7 no matter how it looks is greatly important for mathematical success as your child learns more. 

Kids Academy provides a library of ready-made learning resources to help extend your child’s thinking to paper once a concept has been explored hands-on.


The snowman resource above can be helpful all year when practicing composing numbers.  Have your child count the different piles of snowballs to determine which ones contain 6. They should circle the piles of 6 they find. Then, you could ask them to build six with their Lego blocks.


Another resource you can find when you search the Kids Academy library of activities for preschool is this sheet which arranges groups of fun seahorses rather than easier objects to count, like circles or blocks. Again, have your young child count the groups and circle the ones that show 7. Then, they can build the number in a concrete way for you with blocks. 


Colorful petals can be counted too! This worksheet exposes learners to all kinds of different ways to explore number concepts. Understanding that 8 can look different, but still represent the same value is something this worksheet presents really well. It also asks your preschooler to practice those fine motor writing skills by placing a checkmark next to the flowers that have 8 petals. Have them show you 8 tally marks next to the flowers for added number composition practice. 


In addition to building numbers with blocks while practicing these concepts, you can also connect math to the real world by having your child switch to using coins. Begin to introduce the idea of the value of dimes to them, since 10s tend to be easy to work with. As the count the number of dimes shown, you count the cents for them and find the groups of 10. Notice how they groups that do not have 10 look different than those that do. 

Find more guided lessons on early number sense and other topics in our interactive catalogue!