Don’t Take My Blocks

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My boys love games. Even though we took off a few days for spring break, when I mentioned a game they came running.

N, my 6 year old, had done the file folder activity on subtracting with regrouping earlier in the week. This activity helped him understand what was happening when we regrouped while subtracting, but I wanted to further this activity by playing a game.

As always, C joined in. I knew he wasn’t ready for subtracting yet, but we have been working on using base ten blocks to represent numbers up to 50. I knew that we could practice this during the game, and I would just model the subtraction. Even though he is no where ready for subtracting two digit numbers and having to regroup, I’m building background knowledge for him. I believe that this knowledge will make this much easier for him when the time comes for him to tackle this area.

Anyway, the boys decided they wanted to use their LEGO men for game pieces, and I grabbed the printable, base ten blocks, and die.

The game is simple to set up, and just as easy to play. Each player places 6 tens or longs in front of them. They then roll a die and follow the instructions on the space they land on. Some of the spaces have you adding tens or ones. Others have you subtracting. IMG_2605

The tricky part comes in when the reach that first subtraction problem, and they don’t have any ones to subtract. I’m not always as consistent as I need to be, but my goal is to always ask my boys what they think they should do…not tell them. N, remembering our lesson from the other day, knew he had to exchange a long for 10 cubes or ones. What I found out though was that he is still struggling with is understanding that when he took away that ten to exchange it for ones that didn’t count as subtracting a 10. For example, if he had to subtract 28, he only wanted to take away 18 after he regrouped. We had to have a lot of discussion on that, and I know that this is something we will cover again once we get back to classes next week.

Poor C landed on a series  of subtraction problems and before long didn’t have enough blocks to subtract. The consequence is to go back to the beginning, BUT you get to add 6 tens to the blocks you already have. On his second time through he ended up landing on a ton of add block spaces. Don’t you love the smile on his face as he is counting up his blocks. He TOTALLY knew that he had won the game because he had more blocks than his brother.


Enjoy a chance to play a fun game with your kiddos, and help them tackle this often daunting task of subtraction with regrouping.

Want more resources for teaching subtracting with regrouping?? Try out some of these.

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This file folder activity is perfect for teaching children how to subtract with regrouping. Get it HERE.

original-2485115-1Quick and fun assessment once subtraction with regrouping has been learned. Get it HERE.

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Another opportunity to practice subtracting with regrouping, and a great resource if you don’t have any base ten blocks. Get it HERE.

Download your FREE game HERE.

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