Ten Frames

Ten frames are a fantastic way to help young children understand numbers. For a detailed description of what ten frames are and how to use them, go to our FAQ on this topic.

Just being able to count objects to 20 doesn't mean they understand those numbers. Take the number 7 for example. Children need to know know a lot more about 7 than just being able to count and write it.

Look at these ten frames all showing the number 7. What do they tell about 7 from these colored patterns?

p 7  red dom 7  5+2 b  4+3  7+3

Students need to know:

  • 7 comes after six and is before eight
  • 7 is made up of 3+4, 5+2 etc
  • 7 is 3 less than 10
  • 7 is odd
  • 7 is double 3 and one more
  • 7–4 is 3, 7–5 is 2 etc
  • 5 is 2 less than 7

If your students don't know all that about 7 they don't really know 7 at all! The flash cards in our eBooks, reveal instantly all those facts. No finger counting is necessary!

Here's why ten frames are a fantastic tool for the classroom:

Ten Frames:

Ten frames are a fool proof method for helping students "get" numbers. They:

  • allow students to subitize (visualize) numbers to 10: no counting!
  • show the relationship between the number and 10 (critical for operations and higher number thinking)
  • multi-colored dots on ten frames help students subitize addition facts that make a number
  • show its relationship to other numbers around it (8, 6 etc)
  • show a number is odd or even

How to use ten frames? Ten Frames are best used daily with young students. (See also FAQ)

  • students have their own blank ten frame (on a laminated card) with counters and create the numbers as requested by the teacher.
  • flash the card with a layout of dots on a ten frame and have the students  instantly recall the number
  • flash the card and ask the student what the number is one before the number shown (teacher prompt-cover one dot) - no counting!
  • flash the card and ask the student what the number is one after the number shown (teacher prompt-place an extra counter on it) - no counting!
  • flash cards with strategy based colored dots (e.g. 4 red and 3 blue dots 4+3=7) and ask for the addition or subtraction fact that is shown
  • find the missing number to make 10 (7: how many to make 10?)

Check out these aids to help you teach numbers to 10 (and beyond):

Ten Frame eBooks:


3 eBooks:

  • Ten Frame Flash Cards
  • Ten Frame Worksheets
  • Ten Frame Games

Flash Cards

TF Flash teen

All the flashcards you need all ready created, over 100 in total, including templates. Includes instructions on how to use them and lesson ideas. Learn More



30+ worksheets which assist students to make the connections with the written forms of the numbers. All your lesson are already prepared for you. Learn More


TF cards

Set of Dominoes, a 44 Deck of Cards, and board games Ten Frame Frenzy and Ten Frame Line-Up reinforce the recognition of the numbers taught. Just print, cut out and way you go. Learn More