Garden-Themed Chinese Ten Frame Printable + Activities

Now that we are back stateside for the time being, the kids have enjoyed surprising me with the treasures they find outdoors. Little scavengers they are—I love it. They are usually pleasant surprises like leaves and flowers, with the occasional item that causes me to say, “umm that’s nice, but let’s put that back outside”. 

Today’s surprise was especially nice though—they found that the tomato vine in the back yard has yielded a lot of fruit! What?!!?? When was the last time we even watered back there? 

The little tomatoes were so cute that I was inspired to create a garden themed Chinese number recognition and counting activity for the 3 and 5 year olds.

Using a ten frame is a great way to help young children learn to count to ten. It helps them to understand the values of the numbers 1-10 rather than just reciting the numbers in sequence. 

The free printables are available at the end of this post.

Pre-writing Activity

To keep to a garden theme, you can use blueberries, flowers, seeds, beans, leaves, green or brown playdoh, flower-shaped legos, etc. as the counters. It may be a good idea to laminate or use dry erase pockets if you intend to get a little messier with your choice of counters.

The child can begin by saying the number, followed by tracing the character with his/her finger and orally count while placing counters in the ten frame. This process help the child make sense of the number values. 

Writing Practice

You can laminate or simply use a dry erase pocket like what I have done today and use dry erase markers to promote writing practice. Depending on the writing progress of your child, you could either have him/her only practice tracing the number character and make dots or shapes in the ten frames, or have him/her practice writing all of the number characters in the ten frames. I know that for my 5 year old, writing any Chinese right now is a battle, so I find a happy medium of tracing the number in Chinese, but writing the romanized numbers in the ten frames. The moral of the story is to follow your child’s pace. This “pace” will change in a couple of months, so I can always take these ten frames back out for more writing practice. My rule of thumb is to only make a printable if I plan to use it a few times. 

Now on to the bonus activities you can do with your ten frame cards (it would be best to print them on card stock or laminate them for durability):

  1. Use them first as flash cards to practice recognizing the numbers.
  2. Pre-fill or mark the ten frames with either the correct or the incorrect amounts and ask your child whether the number matches the ten frame.
  3. Have your child put the cards in sequential order.
  4. Compare two cards and have your child determine which one is greater/less than the other.
  5. Have your child sort the odd and even numbers.
  6. Print two sets of cards and play the Memory game.
  7. Pre-fill the ten frames. Cut to separate the top of the card from the ten frame. Mix the tops and bottoms separately and have your child match them together.
  8. Match two cards to make ten.
  9. Use these (perhaps the 5 or the 10 ones) as sticker reward trackers.
  10. Think “outside of the box” and make this a multi-sensory ten frame activity. Rather than write in the ten frames, you can have your child 1) make sounds according to the number on the card 2) use edible counters and eat-count the numbers 3) use especially tactile counters like velcro dots or finger paint, or while we are on a crazy roll here, 4) make each frame smelly: a) dip a Q-tip in something fragrant like essential oils and dot the ten frames b) scent cotton balls/pads to use as the ten frame counters so your child can sniff each spot. We JUST did a “guess the smell” activity with scents and cotton balls, and that was a real hit with my 3 year old. 

How do you use ten frames to help your child learn math?

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