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Number Deck

Create your own special decks of cards for use in other BA Playground activities.

Ages: 3-10 (with help)
Players: 1
Time: 20+ Minutes
Type: arts and crafts
Location: tabletop
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Ages: 3-10 (with help)
Players: 1
Time: 20+ Minutes
Type: arts and crafts
Location: tabletop

Instructions

Admittedly, making these two decks of cards will take some time, but the payoff is worth it. Several of our Playground games and activities for younger learners use these cards. These can be fun to create together, so let your child help with the stickers and the coloring!

(Note: If you prefer, you can download our printable Number Deck and 0-20 Deck. Be sure to print it on thick paper! Or you can print a black and white version of the Number Deck or 0-20 Deck and color them in yourself. You can also purchase decks that would work for these games. See links below in Variations.)

You'll need 44 index cards to make these two decks. (Plus a few extra... mistakes happen!) You'll also need at least 4 colors that are easy to tell apart of marker, crayon, or colored pencil. And you'll need a pencil, scissors, and, optionally, some small stickers.

Markers, stickers, index cards, a pencil, and scissors

First, cut your index cards into a 3"x3" square piece and a leftover 2"x3" rectangular piece. A simple way to do this is to trace the width of a card with a pencil, then cut several cards at once.

Index cards lined up on top of each other
Drawing a line using the top index card as a guide
Cutting along the line on the index card

Set aside the rectangular pieces (you'll need them a bit later). The square cards will be used to make a deck of four "suits." Each suit will have 11 cards, representing the numbers 0 through 10 in different ways.

Suit 1: Dots
Use stickers to make these dot patterns. Don't forget a blank card for zero. You can also just color dots in these patterns if you don't have stickers.

Cards with blue dots on them indicating the numbers 0 through 10

Outline each card with a marker, crayon or colored pencil to match your stickers, or use the side of a crayon to shade the card a matching color. (Note: if you use a marker, check to make sure the color doesn't bleed through the index card. If it does, that could make it a bit tougher to play games like Memory.)

Drawing a blue outline around the outside of the dot cards

Suit 2: Tally Marks
Draw these with a marker, and use the same marker to outline the card. Don't forget a blank card for zero!

Cards with red tally marks on them indicating the numbers 0 through 10

Suit 3: Numerals
"Numerals" are the way we usually represent numbers. Outline the card in a matching color. Underline 6 and 9 so they'll be easy to tell apart, even if you draw a card and don't know which way is right side up.

Cards with green numerals on them indicating the numbers 0 through 10

Suit 4: Ten Frames
A ten frame is a 2 by 5 rectangle with dots filled in to represent the numbers 0-10. Draw the dots with marker, then outline the cards with colors to match the dots.

Cards with purple ten frames on them indicating the numbers 0 through 10

Give yourself a moment to admire your work, but not too long. There's more to do! Set aside your square number deck and grab the 2"x3" rectangular pieces. These will be used to make a deck of two suits, each numbered from 0 to 20.

The first suit is red. Write the numbers 0 through 20 in the upper left corner, then rotate the cards and write the same number in the opposite corner of each card. Repeat this process to make a second suit in blue. (The colors aren't really important, as long as they can be easily distinguished.)

Cards indicating the numbers 0 through 20 in both blue and red

Don't forget: it's Beast Academy Playground, not Beast Academy Study Hall. Change the rules, be silly, make mistakes, and try again. The Variations and Learning Notes are here for you if you want to dive deeper, but not all of them apply to learners of every age. The most important thing is to have fun.

Variations d

Printables:

Download and print your own Number Deck and 0-20 Deck. Be sure to print in color and use thick paper. We also have a black-and-white version of the Number Deck and 0-20 Deck that you could print and color in.

Purchasables:

There are some card decks available to buy that could be used for our games. The downside is they won't be your own one-of-a-kind creation. The upside is they'll be easier to shuffle. Here are some options we have found:

  • Number Deck: The Tiny Polka Dot game has 6 suits, but any of our games could be played with 4 of the suits.
  • 0-20 Deck: This deck is for classroom use, so it comes with 6 full decks of cards. Any 2 suits from a single deck would work for our games.

Stampables:

Use LEGO bricks to create your own ten frame stamp. First, find 10 small 1-stud lego pieces. Put these together on the bottom of a larger piece, so that they form a 2 by 5 rectangle.

Ten LEGO bricks
LEGO bricks put together to form a 2 by 5 grid

Use a stamp pad to stamp your ten frame onto cards. Then color in the dots with marker.

A ten-frame stamped with LEGO bricks

Card-Carrying Monster:

Take a look at our Hungry Monster game for a fun way to keep your cards together when you're not using them.

Classroom Tips d

Make, print, or buy these (see Variations below) so you have them on hand for Playground activities that need a Number Deck or 0-20 Deck. (Your class may need only the Number Deck, or only the 0-20 Deck.) If you make them or color them, let students be creative, and don't miss the chance to ask questions as they work.

Discussion Questions

  • Which suits make it easiest to recognize numbers quickly?
  • Are there numbers you can recognize in the Dots suit without counting?

Alignment with Beast Academy Curriculum

  • None (until BA Level 1 is released!)

See Variations and Learning Notes for more ideas on how to adapt this activity and incorporate it into your classroom.

Learning Notes d

Counting:

Even something as simple as the creation of a number deck can be used as a jumping-off point to ask mathematical questions. How many cards are in a 0-20 suit? Some may guess 20, but others will recognize that, because 0 is in the list, there must be 21 entries. Counting lists of numbers can be tricky! How many numbers are in this list: 10, 11, 12, ... 28, 29, 30? It's easy for kids (and adults) to mistakenly think there must be 20 numbers in the list, since 30 - 10 = 20. To see the answer, change the list so that it starts with the first number we count with: 1. To do this, we would have to subtract 9 from each number in the list. The 10 becomes a 1, the 11 a 2, and so on, until the 30 becomes a 21. We can see that there are 21 numbers in the list 1, 2, 3, ... 19, 20, 21.

Which Is Missing?:

Choose one of the decks, shuffle it, then remove a card. Give the remaining shuffled cards to your math beast and ask them to find out which card is missing. What kinds of organizational strategies (if any) do they use? Can they find the card faster next time?

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Materials
  • 3x5 index cards
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • markers
  • stickers (optional)
Learning Goals
  • writing numbers
  • counting
  • recognizing number
  • measuring
Common Core Standards
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Ready to level up?

Keep problem solving with Beast Academy’s full math curriculum for students ages 7–13. Check out our captivating comic book series and immersive online platform.

LEARN MORE

Bring problem-solving to your classroom

Keep your entire class engaged with a full book and online math curriculum, for students ages 7–13. 98% of teachers say they’re satisfied with Beast Academy.

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