Place Value Worksheets

Place Value Riddles

Do your kiddos gripe and groan and act as if their lives are over when it comes to math?

Math games to the rescue!

When worksheets and textbooks are agonizing, math games can increase engagement and motivation. Games actually activate psychological triggers that push kids to desire mastery of skills and to work towards those skills autonomously.

Place value is one of those complex, abstract skills that can be difficult for kids to grasp. A desire to solve a riddle and complete a game can make the work to accomplish the understanding seem enjoyable instead of drudgery. These place value riddles can help your kiddos better understand place value.


What Is Place Value?

Place value is an incredibly profound math concept. Simply put, place value is the numerical value a digit has by virtue of its position in a number.

As simple as it is, it can be a very challenging concept for young minds to grasp. One minute you’re teaching your child that the symbol 2, the word two and two  plates all meant the same thing. And the next minute you’re telling him that 2 in the one’s place means 2, but three in the ten’s place means 20 while 2 in the hundred’s place means 200.

No wonder he’s confused!

Number correspondence is pretty concrete. But the concept of place value can feel abstract. It’s your job as the educator to present it in a more concrete way, and that’s where these Place Value Riddles and all of my other Place Value games come in.


Why Teach Place Value?

The reason the concept of Place Value is so critical is that it’s the foundation of arithmetic, which is the foundation all other math concepts are built on. Kids who don’t understand place value will struggle with every other math concept going forward. They’ll live in the dark place of relying on procedures and algorithms instead of being able to truly understand and apply concepts.


How to Teach Place Value with These Riddles

These place value riddles are pretty self explanatory. The free printable includes five different riddles for your child to solve. All your child has to do is translate numbers from standard form to expanded form to solve each riddle.

Expanded form is an alternate way for kids to write a given number, focusing on the value of each digit. For example, 387 in expanded form is 300 + 80 + 7. Expanded form is great way to reinforce the concept of place value, because it forces kids to see each digit as its full numerical value instead of just a digit.

It’s pretty common for kids to struggle with the meaning of zero in multi-digit numbers, confusing a number like 503 with 5003. Another common struggle is very large numbers and many kids also struggle with place value of decimals.

Expanded form forces kids to look closely at each component of the number and really make the connections between values and how those values differ according to placement. Understanding and being able to connect the different forms builds number sense and lays a good foundation for further math concepts, like fractions and decimals.

You could laminate your place value riddle worksheets if you wanted to make them reusable.


Concepts Explored With These Place Value Riddles:

  • standard from
  • expanded form
  • composition and decomposition of numbers
  • place value




Don’t forget to grab your FREE Place Value Riddles!







Pin these FUN place value riddles for later!



What’s your favorite resource for teaching place value in your homeschool?


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  1. I am thankful for free help as I homeschool my Gson. and my income is limited.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      I’m glad these free math games could help!

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