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6 Best Place Value Games for K-2

Oct. 16, 2018

When it comes to acquiring lifelong math skills, mastering place value is a must! Kids grow their number sense and form a deep understanding of math just by conquering this necessary concept. Even before kids learn about decimals and fractions, they need to know how to recognize much larger numbers beyond those they learned in preschool. 

While first grade printable worksheets and flash cards are a great place to start, you might be wondering how your child can learn this critical concept in a more hands-on way. That’s why we’ve compiled some of our very best place value games for 2nd grade and below. Using simple supplies and worksheet templates that can be easily found online, the following activities will reinforce your child’s learning in an innovative new way. Let’s take a closer look at 6 intriguing games to bring place value to life, engaging your child with the math they practice! 

place value games for 2nd grade

Swat it! Place Value Game

For this fun-filled game, all you need are common household items and the floor in your very own home! Your kids will take turns swatting the numbers with a fly swatter as they call out the numbers placed on the floor! 

Supplies Needed: 

  • Fly swatter
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Markers 
  • Cardstock or construction paper

How to Play: 

1. Start by prepping the game area; form a grid on the floor using painter’s tape that contains 4 boxes. Using the markers, label the top of each box for its place value. For instance, reading from left to right, the first box should be labeled “thousands”, followed by “hundreds”, “tens” and finally “ones”. 


2. Make number cards by cutting the cardstock to the size of the boxes in the grid on the floor. On each card, draw a number between 1-10. 

3. If playing with one child, challenge him or her by quickly placing down four numbers to make a large number within the grids. Your child will call out the number, one number at a time, swatting the cards with the fly swatter. For example, if the number on the floor reads 3,598, your child will call out “three thousand, five hundred and ninety eight” as he or she swats each number. Go faster and faster to make the game trickier and more exciting!  

4. If playing with more than child, make it a challenge to see how many large numbers each can name the quickest! 

Place Value Uno War

This exciting math game on place value is perfect for 2nd graders because cards can be dealt in larger numbers! All you need is a deck of Uno cards, and this game is good to go! Play it with your child or watch friends or siblings compete in this fun, fast-paced game! 

How to Play: 

Deal the cards to each player until all the cards are gone. For beginners, start with numbers in the ones, and increase the number of cards used as children master larger numbers. 

1. For thousands, deal each player cards in 4 piles. For hundreds, deal each player 3-card piles,  and deal 2-card piles for tens. 

2. To begin, each player flips over the top cards in their piles. The player with the highest number takes possession of all the cards, including his or her opponent’s. The player then quickly moves those cards into a separate “prisoner” pile nearby of captive cards.

3. Repeat the game until all the cards have been captured.  The player with the most captured cards wins! 

Place Value Memory Game

Place value math games need not be complicated. Make your own memory game with this timeless, yet engaging strategy. Your child will learn and reinforce place value through a classic homemade memory game! 

Supplies Needed: 

  • Cardstock 
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Memory game printable numbers (optional) 

How to Play: 

1.Be sure to prepare the gameboard ahead of time by either making your own number cards, or using a printable, readily found online. If making your own, cut the cardstock into equal squares, and write 2 or 3-digit numbers on half of them, depending on the place value your child is currently learning. On the other half of the cards, write an equation that equals the numbers you wrote on the other cards. For instance, if one card says “345”, its match will say “300 + 40 + 5”. 

2.When the cards are ready, flip each face down in a randomized order, and let your child play the game of memory by flipping over cards to find a match. While working through the game, your child will challenge his or her place value skills by recognizing large numbers and the equations that make up each! 

Build a Place Value House! 

Learning place value isn’t only about filling out worksheets and counting base blocks. For this activity, use base blocks to construct a house, given specific parameters. This activity not only reinforces place value, but encourages important STEM engineering skills as an added learning bonus! 

Place value math games

Supplies Needed: 

  • A set of base blocks 
  • A large, flat area, like a sturdy table 

How to Play: 

1. Give your child specific place value requirements. For instance, tell your child that they can begin engineering their house with 4 hundreds, 6 tens, 5 ones, etc. 

2. After your child has built the house, offer up another challenge! Now tell him or her to subtract some of the blocks from the house. In order to do so, your child will have to reengineer their house to accommodate the new parameters. 

3. Build new houses using different values, and watch your child’s ingenuity come alive as he or she designs a newly engineered house every time! 

Rolling to 100!

100 charts are versatile charts that can be used to play a plethora of fun-filled learning games! In this place value game for 2nd grade and below, kids play to see who rolls the dice to 100 first! Perfect for early learners, this game requires no writing or recording skills to play. To start, get out some standard dice, and print out a 100 chart printable from the internet to use as a gameboard. 

Supplies Needed: 

  • 1- 100 chart
  • Markers, one different color for each player
  • Dice – 1 or 2 is recommended

How to Play: 

1. Using the 100 chart as a gameboard, each child takes turns rolling the dice to move spaces along the chart. For each number the player rolls, he or she will count that many spaces and color in the number. While coloring in the number, the player should name the correct number as they shade in the space. 

2. The next player takes his or her turn and repeats the same process. 

3. Keep playing until the first player reaches 100! That player wins the game! Print out a new 100 chart to start a new game!  

Place Value “I Have, Who Has…?” Game

Thanks to printable templates easily found online, setting this game up is quick and easy! Whether your child is playing with friends, siblings, in a school, or even at home, there are many ways to modify this exciting game to meet your child’s needs. 

Supplies Needed: 

  • Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • “I Have, Who Has” printable (optional) 

How to Play: 

1. If you’re making your cards at home without the printable, simply make flashcards using the cardstock. On the top half of the card, write the words “I have…” and draw out pictures of counters or base blocks that will equal a number found on another card. On the bottom half of the card, write “Who has…” and write a number that will match a drawing on another card. 

2. Continue making cards until your game cards are complete. Alternatively, you can find a template for this game online, and simply print on the cardstock, and cut. 

3. If playing with friends, give one card to each player and tell them to keep the number they have a secret. Each child will take turns reading their card aloud to the other players, while the friend with the matching card raises it to meet the first player. Each child will continue until they find all matches. 

4. If playing at home, shuffle the cards and lay them face up across the floor. Your child will then walk around the cards, matching each to its match. 

Place Value Bingo

A twist on the classic game, you will call out numbers as your child uses a game board full of base blocks to interpret the numbers! 

Child's toys

Supplies Needed: 

  • Base block bingo board printable
  • Counters or dried corn for game pieces 
  • Pieces of paper or cardstock for numbers  

How to Play: 

1. Thanks to internet freebies, place value bingo cards are available for free on a multitude of educational websites! Simply find a template that fits your child’s abilities to get started! Don’t forget to write out the numbers on pieces of paper or cardstock, and place them in a hate or bowl to draw them randomly. 

2. Deal out counters and bingo cards to each player to begin gameplay. 

3. Like other forms of bingo, simply draw a number from the bowl and call it out for all players to hear. For each number, your child will analyze the base block squares on their card and place a counter on top if it’s a match. 

4. The first player with four in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally wins! 

As you can see, place value worksheets for 2nd grade and under are easy to find and can be used in a hands-on way to play a multitude of fun games! Offer your child a mixture of resources and activities, like place value worksheets from Kids Academy, to encourage quick learning and mastery. Before long, your child will understand this critical concept, advancing from small number recognition to working with decimals and beyond, and enjoying every second of it thanks to fun-filled and engaging games like those above!

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