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Addition and Subtraction with Ten Frames


These ten frame activities help kids learn addition and subtraction up to 20. They’re a fun addition to kindergarten and first grade math centers.

Ten frames are one of my favorite teaching tools for math. I use them all the time! There are a few ways you can use them:

Counting – Using ten frames for counting can help kids to develop one-to-correspondence. It also helps them to develop an understanding of a “ten”.

Place Value – I often put the ten frames in a vertical orientation to teach kids about teen numbers and place value. One ten frame represents the tens and the other ten frame represents the ones.

Addition and Subtraction – Ten frames are also great for teaching kids how to add and subtract. You can check out some examples below.


Addition Activities

I am so excited about these new addition and subtraction activities because I LOVE unicorns!

Preparation – You’ll need some counters in two colors, sum cards and the work mat. You can choose from addition up to 10 or addition up to 20.

How to Play – First the kids need to choose a sum card and place it on the mat. They need to show the first number of the sum with one color and the second number with another color. After that the kids can record the sum on the recording sheet or a mini whiteboard.

Tip – Two sided counters are great for this activity (the red and yellow ones). But any counters work fine as long as you have two colors. I opted to use pom poms, which are also great for helping kids to develop their fine motor skills.




There are also a variety of worksheets which help kids add with ten frames. The one shown above is really fun to do with Q-tips. Kids will need two colors to show the numbers in each addition sum.


Subtraction Activities

– You’ll need counters or playdough, sum cards and the work mat. You can choose from subtraction up to 10 or subtraction up to 20.

How to Play (playdough version)-  Kids need to read the first number in the sum and then make that number of playdough balls. Place the balls on the ten frame. After that the kids need to read the second number in the sum, which tells them how many to “take away”. Now for the fun part… the kids get to squash that amount to represent the taking away. The number of balls left over tells them the answer. The kids then need to record the answer on the recording worksheet or a mini whiteboard. Then it is time to play again!



There are a variety of subtraction worksheets too, which help kids practice subtracting with ten frames.

<<Learn more about these fun math activities here .>>


Free Teacher Ten Frames

Preparation – You’ll need the ten frames printed on white paper and the counters printed on two different colors. You may also need magnetic tape and velcro (hook and loop).

How to Make- After you’ve laminated the frames and counters, cut them out.  For mine, I attached some magnetic tape to the back of the ten frame so it can stick to the whiteboard. Then I added some velcro to each square of the frame and the backs of the counters. If you have circle shaped magnets, they can can be used instead of the printable counters.



You can grab your free teacher ten frames by clicking on the download button below.




I hope the kids enjoy these fun unicorn ten frame activities.

Happy teaching! :)


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