Olive Tree Prep Blog

Dice Games to Develop Number Sense

My kids love playing games! Because I am a homeschool mom, I am always looking for ways to make them educational. One of the easiest ways to build number sense is by playing with dice. Counting the dots on dice is a great way to learn 1-1 correspondence. With practice, kids will quickly recognize dot patterns. This skill is known as “subitizing.” Subitizing is when a child can quickly recognize the quantity of a set of objects without counting them. For example, when you roll a 6, you do not have to count the dots to know it is 6. You see 2 rows of 3 and know there are 6 dots. Frequent exposure to dice helps children develop this important skill. The following games can be played with 1 or more players. They are simple and fun. Most of all, your little one is going to start building their number sense without even realizing it! I recommend playing each of these games with 1 die until your child has mastered subitizing 1-6. Then play them again with 2 dice for a new challenge.

Roll and Color

Materials: 1 or 2 dice, paper, crayons, Printable Roll and Color Holiday Worksheets

Draw a simple picture on a piece of paper. Write numerals 1-6 or 2-12 inside each shape of the picture. Or print the Roll and Color Holiday Worksheets. Have the child roll 1 or 2 dice depending on what numbers you are focusing on. Count the number of dots that are face up and color one shape with the corresponding numeral inside. Continue until the entire picture has been colored. This game works with 1 player or more. If you have more than 1 player, take turns rolling and coloring.

Roll and Fill the 10-Frame

Materials: 1 or 2 dice, 10-frame, counters

Have the child roll the dice and place that number of counters on the 10-frame. If you are using 2 dice, you will fill two 10-frames. Keep going until the 10-frame(s) are full. Extend the child’s thinking by asking questions. “How many do you have?” “How many do you have now?” “How many more do you need to fill the 10-frame(s)?” Repeat as many times as your child would like.

Roll and Fill the Cup

Materials: 1 or 2 dice, plastic cups, small blocks, or Legos

This game works best with 2 or more players. Each player needs 1 plastic cup. Player 1 rolls the dice and counts the number of dots on the dice. Next, they put that quantity of blocks into their cup. Now it’s player 2’s turn to roll the dice, count the dots, and fill the cup. Continue taking turns until the cups are full of blocks. If you would like the game to be competitive, the first player to fill their cup wins. If you would like to play for fun, keep going until all players have filled their cup and start again.

Roll and Build

Materials: 1 or 2 dice, Legos, or blocks

Have the child roll the dice, count the dots, and then build a tower of Legos or blocks with that quantity. Keep going until you have an entire city. Ask questions to extend the thinking, “Which tower is the tallest?” “How many blocks does it have?” “Which tower is shortest?” “How do you know?”

Roll and Cross Out

Materials: 1 or 2 dice, paper, marker

Write the numerals 1-6 (playing with 1 die) or 2-12 (playing with 2 dice) on a piece of paper in order. Have the child roll the dice, count the dots, and cross out the corresponding numeral. If the numeral is already crossed out, roll again. Keep rolling and counting until all the numerals have been crossed out.

Roll and Work Out

Materials: 1 or 2 dice

This activity is great on a cold or rainy day when your little people have tons of energy! Call-out an exercise. Have the child roll the dice and count the number of dots. Have the child do the exercise that many times. The whole family can join in and work up a sweat with this one! Exercise ideas include sit-ups, push-ups, run in place, jumping jacks, cherry pickers, touch your toes, squats, knee raises, windmills, and arm circles. Repeat until exhausted!

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Jackie Dearman Olive

Jackie Dearman Olive

Jackie Dearman Olive earned her bachelor's degree in early childhood education from the University of North Texas. She has over 10 years of teaching experience. She loves teaching, but her true passion is being a mom. She has a 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old boy/girl twins.

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