6 Fun Activities for Teaching Teen Numbers

If the thought of teaching teen numbers to your precious kindergarteners gives you a little anxiety, you are not alone! While your students have mastered single-digit numbers, two-digit numbers bring a challenge all their own.

Not to worry! With a few clever activities and lots of practice, you will have your kindergarteners mastering teen numbers in no time. For now, take a deep breath, take it slow, and give your students opportunities to practice identifying, naming, and writing teen numbers.

Teaching Teen Numbers

6 Activities for Teaching Teen Numbers

After years of experience, I have found several strategies that work best to help my students learn teen numbers. I am excited to share a few tips and tricks with you to help make practicing teen numbers a breeze for you and your students.

Whenever I introduce a new concept to my students, I know they will be more successful if they practice it in diverse and meaningful ways. Because of this, I always do multiple activities for each new skill or concept. We also continue to review the concepts throughout the entire year. The activities below can be used any time of year to help your students learn, practice, and review teen numbers.

1. Hands-On Ten Frames

Hands-on activities are the key to success when learning any new skill, let alone a math skill. Math concepts can be difficult for our little learners because they are so abstract. By giving our students hands-on activities we help students “see” what math is all about.

Child using an abacus

Up until they start learning about teen numbers, our littlest learners have always been able to use their fingers to help them count, add or subtract to and from 10. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my students taking off their shoes to start counting toes when we get higher than 10. That’s why we have to give them some other ways to understand the concept of teen numbers visually.

Ten frames are a great visual for representing teen numbers. What I love most about them is that they are more than just a set. They are strategically set up using groups of ten which is an important part of our base ten number system.

As I teach teen numbers, I want my students to do more than recognize the number. For future math concepts, they need to understand the concept that a teen number is ten and some more. By using ten frames, students can quickly see that 14 is the same as ten and four more. This reinforces place value concepts and lays a foundation for the math operations, math fact fluency, and mental math skills which will all be built on our kindergarten foundation.

2. Teen Number Play Dough Mats

I love having students build teen numbers using ten frames. Play dough learning mats are perfect for a number-building center! The best part is that they can be used with more than playdough.

Number playdough mat for the number 14

Print and laminate these number mats so they are ready to use all year long. You can pull out the numbers that correlate with the numbers you are working on in class.

To keep math centers fresh and fun, I like to have students use these number mats in different ways! Here are some fun uses for ten frame number mats:

  1. Playdough
  2. Lego or other building blocks
  3. Mini erasers as counters (we find the best ones in the Target Dollar Spot!)
  4. Pom poms and tweezers
  5. Snack math (we count out our snacks before eating)

3. Movement Activities for Teen Numbers

Movement makes everything more fun! But that’s not all . . . movement is also proven to help make brain connections too! That’s right: By adding movement to our activities we can actually help our students learn faster.

hopscotch is a great way to get students moving and working with numbers

One of our favorite teen number movement activities is hopscotch. While a traditional hopscotch board uses numbers one to ten, I start with 11 and go to 20. Grab some sidewalk chalk and create some teen number games on the playground! If your school allows, you can also create them in the classroom or hallway using blue painter’s tape on the floor.

I know there are probably some real hopscotch rules out there, but this is what I use when we are working on teen numbers:

  1. Have the student toss a beanbag to a square. They say the number they landed on.
  2. Hop the number of squares to the beanbag, counting the numbers as they hop.
  3. Pick up the beanbag and hop back home!

What I love about this game is that students are practicing number identification and counting without even realizing it. Plus, hopping on one foot adds important gross motor skill practice!

4. Use Teen Number Songs

Ever heard a catchy jingle or tune and can’t get it out of your head? There’s a scientific reason for that! And while I don’t have the time or background to go into the science behind it, I can promise that music and rhymes are very effective tools for learning. Music, chants, and rhymes all have rhythm and pitch that differ from regular speaking, which makes them interesting to the brain and ear.

kids love learning with songs

There are sooooo many songs and videos available on teen numbers. A quick Google search reveals 328,000,000 search results. I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to comb through all of that!

YouTube is one of my favorite sources for classroom videos and songs. What I love about these videos is that they combine the power of song, and add a visual aspect for visual learners. (On a side note, make sure you preview all videos before showing them to your students. Using the words “for kids” at the end helps filter out videos that might not be appropriate and that have been marked as appropriate for kids by the creators.)

It might surprise you to know that I don’t use the same songs each year. With so many available, I let the personality of the class, the learning objective, and the music itself play a part in my decision. I like to use the same song repeatedly to help students really learn from it, but as our learning focus changes, so do our songs. We might start with a song that focuses on teen number recognition, then move to one with counting, and finally end with one that works on a problem area for that class.

Here are some of my favorite teen number songs and videos:

5. Teen Number Scavenger Hunt

Taking learning opportunities outdoors is another great way to help students learn, practice, and review teen numbers. Students love to be outside in the fresh air! Outdoor learning activities feel a lot more like play and less like learning, but we know the truth {wink, wink!}.

A teen number scavenger hunt can take many different forms. Here are some ideas that are easy to do:

  1. Look for the teen numbers out in the world. This could be done at school by searching the hallways, the cafeteria, the playground, or even the classroom.
  2. Have students look for teen numbers for homework. When they find one, have parents snap a photo of their child pointing at the teen number and email it to you. Then show the photos during your morning meeting or math warm-up.
  3. Search for teen number groups of items. On the playground, have students count out 13 leaves or 18 blades of grass. Make a circle with 16 small rocks or try to swing 14 times. Anything to get students counting those teen numbers!

6. Teen Number Practice Worksheets

fun and engaging teen number practice pages make a great math center, morning work, small group instruction or homework

And just when kids think they can’t have any more fun with teen numbers, help them pull it all together. These no-prep teen number practice pages will have your students moving from hands-on active learning to the next step of written work. They can take what have they learned with concrete activities and move to the more abstract.

On one page, students will be working on numerous teen number skills. In the first set, your students will:

  • Trace numbers 11-20 to work on correct number formation
  • Count and color the amount to create a set for each number
  • Show the number in a twenty frame

After students have completed set one, then it is time for some mixed review. In the second set, your students will:

  • Trace and write each number 11-20
  • Count the objects and color the number that shows how many
  • Show the number in a twenty frame
  • Add dots to dice to show the teen number
  • Identify and find matching numbers
teen number practice pages give students opportunities to work on recognizing, writing, creating sets and more for numbers 11-20

You can print these teen number worksheets to use for independent practice, morning work, a math center, or small group instruction. You could also save paper by sliding them into a sheet protector and having your students use dry-erase markers for repeated practice.

Low-Prep Printables for Teaching Teen Numbers

Are you interested in using these teen number printables with your class? You can find these teen number worksheets in my set of Kindergarten Math Number Sense Worksheets. Grab this set of print-and-go activities today and get your students on the road to mastering those tricky teen numbers!

Save These Teen Number Activities

Don’t spend valuable time searching the internet for ideas. Instead, pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly come back for these teen number activities and tips for how to teach teen numbers!

How to teach teen numbers - student is completing a teen number worksheet with blue marker