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    Ultimate Guide to Ten Frame


    You may wonder, is ten frame what your toddler needs to get started to have a better understanding of early math skills? I am a firm believer in the power of exposure especially when it comes to learning at home in early years.

    Ten frames are a great way to teach toddlers about number sense and our wooden ten frames definitely add an element of fun, making it more exciting for little human’s.

    What is a ten frame?

    A ten frame is a rectangle separated into two rows with 10 equal spaces, hence the name ten frame. A ten frame is a magical early math tool that helps a child develop number sense at a concrete level.


    As a mom and an educator I am a big fan of ten frames, it is a powerful visual tool that helps to lay a strong foundation in early numeracy skills such as counting, understanding numbers,  corresponding one number to one hole on the ten frame, sorting, noticing patterns, adding and subtracting numbers. A ten frame will grow with a young child’s developmental needs. Our wooden ten frame collection not only has a traditional ten frame but several other variations of ten frames making it more appealing and exciting for young children to learn with an element of sensory play.

    How does a Ten Frame grow with a child’s developmental needs ?

    To start with a ten frame can be set up in a play -based environment with several different manipulatives such as loose parts, wool balls and so on. This gives a young child the opportunity to explore with the play material and understand the concept that only one manipulative can fit into the hole in the ten frame. Learning through play is always a good idea.

    As their understanding of numbers increases, a toddler will start counting and acquire the understanding of one to one correspondence. This gives young children the chance to work with the numbers and not just memorize them.

    Ten frames are great for developing fine motor skills, our wooden ten frame set comes with a pair of tong and 10 felt wool balls. The wool felt balls are great from the point of view of sensory play as they are rich in texture. Furthermore, a ten frame also gives an opportunity to do various pattern matching activities which is great for familiarizing a young toddler to  sequencing.

    A sorting activity is also a good idea while working with a ten frame, you can choose two colours and get your toddler to work on developing sorting skills. Choosing and working with only two colours does not overwhelm a young child and lays a good foundation of colour perception.

    Lastly, the ten frame is a perfect tool for a young child to learn simple addition and subtraction. For eg – 1 + 1 = 2. It gives them a visual understanding. Ten frames can also be used to learn number bonds up until 10 and by working with it they gradually develop their skills of subitizing which is the ability to know the physical quantity without counting.

    The preschool years are for learning through play. There is a multitude of research and evidence that backs this up.  Here’s a typical ten frame paper worksheet that you see a child using at school to work with versus our wooden ten frame. Our wooden ten frames are not only more engaging, hands on, concrete and fun-filled but also keeps a young child intrinsically motivated to learn because of its shapes and the fun element it adds to learning. A paper worksheet sadly does not give that opportunity.  

    As an educator, working with worksheets should actually be the last piece of the puzzle. In the early years its crucial to build love for learning which in turn builds their concentration.

    Common Questions/ FAQ

    What makes the Mentor Mom Ten frame different?

    Our variety of ten frames are created and designed keeping little humans in mind. Our range of ten frames are made with various shapes and colours adding a fun element to each of them in its own ways. The ten frames also give a sensory touch as it can be used with salt or sand to trace numbers. Mentor Mom play materials are rich in texture which encourages them to use many senses as possible to learn.

    The last thing you need to know as parents.

    “What the hand does, the mind remembers”. – Maria Montessori