Printable Place Value Chart & Games
In our homeschool, we like to start each morning with math games. I first got into the habit of morning math games 17 years ago when I used Saxon Math with my oldest. Saxon encourages a morning meeting where you discuss the date and weather or the time or measurement, or some other math concept, prior to beginning the days assignment.
As a mom of a large family, I don’t have the time (or the inclination) to teach everyone individually, so my kiddos mainly learn independently — I’m just available for questions. But I try to have a fun and interesting gathering activity (we call it morning time) to get everyone to the table cheerfully each day. Half the homeschooling battle is getting everyone to the table, and when the kids come cheerfully school is a hundred percent better!
Math games are hands-on, fun and interesting (my kids especially love them when we use edible counters like jelly beans or skittles). They help kids become familiar with the language of math, which is so important! We only spend about 15 minutes on the games, but even that amount of time goes a long way toward reinforcing difficult concepts.
One thing we bring out almost every morning as we play math games are our place value charts (free printable below), because they are so helpful. No matter how big the numbers get, a place value chart will help. We leave them out on the table as we complete our math assignments.
How is a Place Value Chart helpful?
When my three-year-old has to describe a huge number, she just says, “a thousand, million, gazillion hundreds” and calls it good.
Have you ever looked at a gigantic number and felt tongue tied? Like you didn’t immediately know whether it was something hundred millions or something else entirely? Just imagine how you’d feel if you had just learned how to count and were new to big numbers altogether.
In fact, when I made the place value chart included in the printable below, my middle-school-aged daughter asked if I’d make her one, too. A place value chart can be very helpful in comparing the place value of the digits in large numbers. It can help students understand the difference between place value and period value.
Place value is a foundational math concept and is necessary for addition, subtraction, exponents, long division, fractions and pretty much every other math operation. In the decimal, or base ten, numbering system, the position of each digit in a number determines its value. For example, a 3 in the ones place just represents 3, but a 3 in the hundreds place represents 300, or 3 groups of 100.
Building number sense by understanding place values is an important early math skill, and these place value charts provide a way to break down or decompose numbers. Most kids understand place value best when they work with the numbers themselves.
I have two different styles of printable place value charts for you today — a basic, flat chart and a flip chart (look for the blue button at the bottom of the post for the free printable place value chart). My older kids prefer the basic place value chart and my younger kids prefer the flip chart.
Basic Place Value Chart
The free printable place value chart includes variations for whole numbers only, up to the hundred billions, plus decimal numbers. I included commas, separating the groups into their periods. One of the charts can be folded in half to stand up on the table, another is narrow enough to fit inside a textbook and be used as a (rather large) bookmark. Because these are just reference tools, they work great printed on cardstock, though you could laminate them if you prefer.
Place Value Chart with Worksheet
The second ‘Place Value Chart’ style includes a place to write the number along with boxes for the standard form, the expanded form and the word form of the number. I usually prefer to laminate things so they last longer, but that doesn’t work very well for the printable place value chart with the worksheet, just because it’s difficult to write small enough with marker to fit everything in the box.
Place Value Flip Chart
The flip chart is a little more hands-on than either of the other versions. This Place Value Flip Chart is easy to make with the free printable (look for the blue button at the bottom of this post), a pair of scissors and a stapler. It comes in two versions — the one pictured below that goes up to the hundred millions, and one that only goes up through the hundred thousands but also includes three decimal places. My kids like to challenge each other, taking turns thinking up super tricky numbers and letting the other player build the number on the flip chart.
3 Games to Play with Your Printable Place Value Chart
1. 20 Questions
A fun game to play with this printable Place Value Flip Chart is twenty questions. Both players should have a flip chart to work with. Players should sit across from each other stand a book or something in between the charts. One player creates a number of his choice. The other player has twenty chances to ask yes-no questions and trying to recreate the number on his own flip chart.
Take turns looking up the hugest numbers you can imagine and challenging the other player to build the number. For instance, I might look up the diameter of the sun and challenge my child to build it on his place value chart. Then it would be his turn to look up a huge number and I’d have to build it on my place value chart. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- 1,391,000 kilometers – The diameter of the sun.
- 7,917 miles – The diameter of the Earth.
- 24,901 miles – The circumference of the Earth.
- 252,088 miles – The furthest distance between Earth and the moon.
- 35,800,000 miles – The distance between Earth and Mars at the closest point in Mars’s orbit.
- 3.72 quintillion gallons of water (estimate) in the Earth’s oceans. Just kidding! Your place value chart doesn’t go that high!
- 1,436,889,047 – Population of China as of January 2020.
- 7,759,093,974 – World’s population as of January 2020. (This is a FUN site to check out!)
3. Play Store
Money is a very practical application of place value, both for whole numbers and decimals. Your kids can easily use one, ten and hundred dollar bills to understand how digits can represent groups of something. Dimes and pennies are an excellent way to introduce your child to decimals. Explain that one dime is worth one-tenth of a dollar, and show your child that it matches the label in the first decimal column. Playing store is a fun way to practice these concepts, especially if you have a few things your child can actually purchase and keep. I usually just round up a couple of snacks and a small toy or two, give them ‘prices’ with little stickers, and have your child transfer the price to his printable place value chart before figuring out what bills and coins to use to pay.
I hope these free printables help you in your place value studies!
Pin these free printable place value charts for later!
Don’t forget to grab your FREE printable Place Value Chart right here!