A couple of years ago, I began to think more about how I could help my daughter grasp a number sense that was conceptual and not just skill-based. I started with a calendar when she was two years old. It was great for number order, recognition, and literacy. However, the numbers changed positions monthly, making it difficult for her to see number patterns and relationships. Over the years, I have found that if I were to post anything in my home or classroom to help young mathematicians beginning their journey, I would post a hundreds chart.

Many children begin as concrete learners and seeing a hundreds chart posted on the wall can help them begin to conceptualize how numbers are related. Diagonal, horizontal, and vertical patterns can be easy to spot on the chart. It provides a stepping stone to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. A hundreds chart can encourage young mathematicians to create a mental image of how numbers can be grouped.

There are fancy hundreds charts from teacher supply stores you can purchase. While this is handy, I do like to take the time to write out the numbers in ten rows of ten for these reasons:

1) My daughter can see how the numbers are formed,

2) she can hear each number as I write them,

3) she can anticipate the next number, and

4) we can write on them!

We’ve used both a whiteboard and a chalkboard. Our chalkboard looked like this:

If your child can identify numbers 1-10 well and is starting to become familiar with numbers up to 100, try this activity with your young mathematician:

### Introducing numbers 1 to 100

Begin writing numbers 1 to 100. Count each number out loud as you write it. After a short while, invite your child to join in. Your child doesn’t need to know how to say higher numbers like 38 or 52. What really matters is that they are *hearing* you say it and *seeing* how it’s written at the same time. What they need right now is visual and auditory modeling of the patterns.

The higher it gets, the more challenging it will seem to your child as they are trying to count with you. But don’t give up, just assure your child he/she can just listen and join in when ready. Over time, he/she will catch on to the pattern, realizing that the ones place goes up to nine (ie. 29) and then it starts back over again but with a new tens place name (30).

{When writing out 1-100, I tried my best to align the ones and tens column in each row so that my daughter would begin to see the difference between one and two digit numbers.}

After your numbers are written, have your child circle numbers you know he/she can identify successfully: their age, how many people are in their family, etc. In this picture, I asked my daughter to add up how many fingers she has on both hands.

Keep this chart out and every now and then come back to it to count together or circle more numbers. You could have them find and circle how old their sibling or pet is or how old Great Grandma is. We just had my daughter’s Great Grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration so she could recognize 90 because it was written everywhere at the party.

Having a hundreds chart available will become a way for your child to associate the number with its written form. There are so many ways to use this. Happy counting!

### Say “Hello”

There are a myriad of ways to interact with a hundred’s chart. Stay tuned for a few more hundreds chart activities. What are some ways you use it with your child? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

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Great post. I like how you’re finding lots of different numbers – relatable numbers for your child to find. In my classroom, I’ve cut up hundred charts into jigsaw puzzles, played ‘what number am I?’ with older students and ‘where does my number go?’ with younger students by covering most numbers up with post its. Filling in a cross box with the number above, below and left/right helps build confidence too. I would then keep writing up to 120 – lots of children who can work with numbers 1-100 then stumble at 101, 102 and again at 110. I like the Montessori hundred chart app too.

All great ideas, Nichole! I love the filling of the cross box with the numbers above, below, left and right–excellent activity! I bet that really helps young students to notice relationships between numbers. And how valuable to do in a group setting. You are right about 101, 102…oftentimes, students are surprised that it starts all over again adding ones to the hundred bundle. I’ll have to check out that Montessori app-thank you!

We have a hundreds chart on our wall and everyday we count just one number higher than the day before, then we add a little toothpick to a cup under the chart. When we get to 10 toothpicks we wrap a rubberband around them and move them to a second cup.

I really like your point of watching how the numbers are formed in filling out the hundreds chart in front of them. That is something I’m going to have to incorporate into our weekly plan.

Thanks for the ideas!

Hi Suzy! Your toothpick bundles are a great hands-on way to teach children about tens and ones! And your continual, gradual release method is wonderful. What a great way to involve the child and have it as a short and sweet routine each day. I bet your young mathematician looks forward to moving those toothpicks!

Hi there,

I am just wondering what the pen is your daughter is using? Is it chalk? Where did you find it?

This is such a great post! I’m a preschool teacher and have gotten some lovely ideas from this.

Thanks so much!

Megan

Hi Megan! I have both the Uchida Bistro Chalkboard pen set and the Popart Fluorescent Wet Liquid Chalk pen set-both from Amazon. I recommend the Uchida Bistro pens for chalkboard writing. It’s got a nice tip and you can wipe it off with a wet wipe. Just make sure you prime your chalkboard

verywell by rubbing chalk all over your board…as messy and covered as you can get it :). Chalkboards are very porous so if it’s not primed well, the chalk ink will be difficult to wipe off. Hope that helps! And have a wonderful school year!I love your reasoning for writing out the chart yourself. I never thought of that. Love this post. I’m featuring it on The Sunday Showcase this weekend. Thank you for linking up. 🙂

Thanks, Allison! Can’t wait to see your Sunday Showcase!

I love this idea! My 5yo daughter is counting to 100 pretty good but I think this visual tool could just cement the whole thing for her. Pinning now!