Who doesn’t love an easy and inexpensive project that will help teach your kids to count and group by tens?
All you need is three containers and 100 popsicle sticks. You can use any kind of container — coffee cans, small baskets or canning jars work great. I’m using three aluminum pails we already had from the dollar store.
Label one of the pails as “ones”, the next as “tens” and the next as “hundreds.” If you would like to use the place value chalk tags in the picture above, you can click on the link at the bottom to print your own.
And that’s it! You’re all set to start counting. Each day, have your child put one popsicle stick in the ones jar until she reaches 10. After she adds the new stick every morning, have her count all of the sticks in the jar. When she reaches the first 10 sticks, let her put them in the ones jar as usual. But then show her how to band all of the sticks together and put the bundle in the tens jar. Now she has one 10.
The next morning, she will add another popsicle stick to the ones jar and then count together: “10 (pointing to the bundle in the tens jar) plus 1 (pointing to the lone stick in the ones jar) = 11.” Or just “10 (pointing), 11 (pointing).” My kids actually like to lay out all of the bundles and loose sticks each morning as they count.
When you’ve reached the 10th bundle of tens, band all the tens together and place it in the hundred pail. And then, you celebrate! We love to celebrate the 100th day of school with lots of fun 100 day activities. Here are some 100 Day ideas on Pinterest.
We usually give the daily counting job to the youngest child in our family still learning to count to 100 or learning about place value. My kids have loved keeping track of how many days we’ve been in school and always look forward to the 100 Day celebration.
This activity is great for any family with young kids. It would be fun to do together with as an afterschool activity to reinforce place value or to do with preschool children just learning to count to 100.
As you add a stick each morning, ask your child some questions. How many more popsicle sticks until you reach the next 10? What day will it be when we reach the next 10? An older child can practice mental subtraction by calculating the number of days until you reach 100.
If you’d like a copy of the printable place value chalk tags, please feel free to print them here: place value chalk tags. You are welcome to share with others.
And just one more note. You can use this to count to 100 for any celebration. A hundred days until a birthday or 100 days until Christmas. Enjoy!