Space ten frame counting mats are perfect for helping preschoolers learn to count. They could very well become your little learners’ favorite math activity! They are wonderful for working on number sense.
If you are doing a space theme for preschool, this is the perfect space math and counting activity. Take a peek at our space songs to incorporate even more fun learning.
Related: Farm Animal Ten Frames
Space Ten Frame Counting Mats
There’s a delicate balance when teaching math to preschoolers. You want to use counting activities that kids are interested in, but teach effective preschool math skills that you can see at the same time.
What I love about these ten frame mats is that children are learning number sense, how to read a number line, and how to create the quantity at the same time! We’ve also differentiated these for both preschool and pre-k math.
The Magic of Ten Frames for Preschool Counting
Learning to count may seem like an easy skill, but that’s not necessarily true! There are actually 9 developmental stages of math learning that children go through before they ever get to subitizing! Subitizing is a fancy word for being able to look at a number and automatically recognize that number without needing to count (when we see 5 on a domino, we know that it is five without counting).
Related: All About Subitizing
Subitizing, one-to-one correspondence, and cardinality can all be easily taught with ten frames. It’s also great to teach with dominoes and dice. Young children need lots of repetition and practice and these ten frame counting mats do just the trick!
When children use ten frames to count, they can learn that an entire ten frame has ten, and half of that has five. Then, you can expand it to two ten frames to help them learn to count to 20.
This is a process that can take months (or quicker if they catch on to math really easily) so give it time and be patient. But once it sinks in, that child will be able to use this foundational math knowledge for the rest of their lives.
That’s actually one of my favorite parts about teaching preschoolers. We are teaching them life lessons in these early years. And as someone who has older children myself, I can see what happens when we really help children understand these important math skills and how it sets them up for success later on.
Space Counting Mats for Preschool
These out-of-this-world ten frames are a free space counting printable we are offering to all of our amazing subscribers. And when you subscribe, you’ll absolutely love all the other goodies that pop up in your inbox!
Your freebie will have two sets of space counting mats. The first set is for children who are just learning to count. The astronaut will already be in the ten frame with the correct number.
First, show the child how to count to that number by slowly touching each astronaut. Then, have the child do it after you so that you can assess any areas that they might need help with, whether it’s counting or following their finger. Or just going too quickly.
There is also a number line on the space ten frame counting mats where the correct number will be marked. This is a great way to reinforce that this number has significance. It’s not just a number we’re talking about. It has a special spot on the number line, and there is a value assigned to it.
Using Manipulatives with Space Counting Mats
In the build-it section, use any type of math manipulative. It could be mini erasers, LEGO Duplos/bricks, links, snap cubes, counting bears, pom poms, etc. Whatever you have on hand or anything your little learner loves will do just fine! Have the child build vertically or horizontally to create that number. Feel free to let them use sets or to make patterns. Whatever makes their heart happy to learn about math.
A great teaching tool is to have your little learners slide those manipulatives off the ten frame(s) and into the build it/make it section. This helps to build conservation of number – understanding that there is no need to recount the manipulatives. That number stayed the same since I did not add more or less to the amount.
On the “Make it or Write it” section, this is a great way to make the number with dice or dominoes. If your little learner already loves writing numbers, feel free to have them write it in. If the child needs extra support in handwriting, I would probably hold off on this. We want to focus on number sense, not handwriting. It’s important not to introduce too many skills at once because that can quickly overwhelm or frustrate a child.
Space Ten Frames for Pre-K
The pre-K version of these space counting mats is slightly harder. If a child breezes through the first set, then they’re ready for this next set. This is really more about skills and less about age though.
The pre-K ten frames are left open for your student or child to fill in with any manipulative that you have around. These are perfect for mini erasers, gems, pom poms, and the like. I personally love something that I can grab real fast that’s already in the classroom or house.
The second set of ten frame counting mats are also more advanced on the number line. Have your little learner circle the correct number. I make these into a dry erase surface by laminating them or putting them in a dry erase pocket. This number sense tool will help get your preschoolers ready for kindergarten math.
And there you have it — preschool math made fun! Your kiddos will have an astronomically good time as they build confidence and build their essential math concepts.
Grab both sets of the space ten-frame counting mats, for both preschool and pre-K, by filling out your information below!
Space Lesson Plans
Need more awesome outer space activities? These counting mats are a perfect addition to the space lesson plans in our preschool store and toddler store! They’re full of hands-on learning activities, books, crafts, games, and printables!