One of the things that has been so helpful is to “see” how math works, instead of just memorizing flashcards.  So here is how we make our life size 10-frame.


  • 5 Large Recycled boxes (pizza boxes are the best for this project) or more 
  • OR the inside of paper bags 
  • 2 different colors of Acrylic or Tempera Paint (you can use crayons or markers, but the color won’t be as even as the paint)
  • Paint brushes
  • Pencil 
  • Scissors

Step 1:  Carefully open the boxes.

Try not to bend them when you are opening them, but you can cut them on the sides, if you need to.

Step 2:  Trace 2 large circles.

Find something to help you draw 2 large circles, one on each side of the pizza box. We found that large lids for pots and pans worked well.  They even had a handle to hold on to! Trace the lid carefully with a pencil.

Step 3:  Paint the circles with 2 very different colors.

We painted one side of the pizza box orange and one side blue.  We carefully trimmed out the edges and then painted in even strokes back and forth until the circles were filled in.  We used a medium rounded brush, which looks like a teardrop and comes to a point, to paint the edges and a large flat brush to paint the inside of the circle.  Paint will work the best, but use what you have if you don’t have paint: crayons, markers, or colored pencils.

You can use recycled lids for paint and don’t forget to carefully wash and store your brushes upright!

Step 4:  Cut out the circles.

Cut out all the circles neatly until you have at least 10, 5 of each color.  It would be great to have 10 of each color, so have your kids can spend a rainy day painting circles! 

Step 5:  Chalk your 10-frame.

Our circles ended up being 10 inches in diameter.  We made our chalk 10-frame with 18 inch blocks so the outer rectangle is 7 feet 6 inches wide and 3 feet tall.  We drew a long line and then made little tick marks for each 18 inches. You can use string to keep your lines straight or a yardstick.

Step 6:  Start with math facts!

Someone calls out a math fact and another fills the chalk 10-frame with the right amount of circles. Visually, your child will quickly learn that if they fill in all of the top row it will be equal to 5. And if they fill in the whole frame, it equals 10.

5 + 5 = 10

5 + 1 = 6

3 + 4 = 7

Have your child fill the top row first and they will learn that it is equal to 5 and then count on to the bottom row (5, 6, 7).  Or visually they will begin to see when the top row is full and the bottom row has 2 more, it is equal to 7. The more they play, the more they will understand the associations (1 + 6, 6 + 1, 2 + 5, 5 + 2, 3 + 4, and 4 + 3 all equal 7!)

Feel free to send in your pictures or subscribe for other ideas!

Posted by:Karen Riley

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