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Free printable place value chart (plus activities to try!)

Help your child get to grips with place value with these free printable charts. Plus there are some simple activities to try too!

Today’s post is all about place value. And in particular, place value charts.

Place value is such a crucial math topic for children to understand. They need to understand the place value in order to make sense of numbers and their value.

This post will show you what a place value chart is, and it will give you some ideas for a couple of place value activities you can do with your child at home.

Plus, you can grab your own printable place value charts at the end of this post.

But first…

What is place value?

When we write numbers we use a set of ten digits. Those digits are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

The value of those digits depends on their position in a number.

For example:

Number 4528 shown in place value chart

In the number 4528, the digit 4 has a value of 4000 because it’s in the thousands column (4 x 1000 = 4000).

The digit 2 has a value of 20 because it’s in the tens column (2 x 10 = 20)

Ours is a base ten number system. This means that each place value column has a value ten times bigger than the column to its immediate right.

So for example, if we put a 1 in each place value column we have the number 1111.

But, in the ones column, the digit 1 has a value of 1.

In the tens column the digit 1 has a value of 10.

In the hundreds column that digit 1 has a value of 100.

And in the thousands column the digit 1 has a value of 1000.

In order for children to be confident in reading, writing and working with numbers (particularly large numbers), they need to have a good understanding of place value.

(Psst! When you’ve finished reading this post, don’t forget to have a browse of my other free activities in the Free Printables Library!)

A word here about vocab…

If you’re helping your child with place value, you can help them get the vocab right from the get-go.

Sometimes there is a bit of confusion about digits vs numbers.

When we talk about digits, we’re talking essentially about a set of math symbols (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9).

We use these digits to construct numbers. So, for example the number 324 is a 3-digit number. It is made up of 3 digits: 3, 2 and 4.

The confusion arises with numbers to 9, where the number and the digit are the same. When we get to 10, it’s easy to make the distinction: 10 is a number. And that number is made up of 2 digits: 1 and 0.

Related post: Place value riddles (for 2 and 3 digit numbers)

What is a place value chart?

So, on to place value charts.

A place value chart pretty much does what it says on the tin! It is basically a chart which shows the different place value heading columns in order.

Usually they have space underneath where you can practise making different numbers.

The download at the end of this post has 4 different place value charts. You can use whichever suits the age/ability of your child.

The first chart is great if your child is just starting off with place value. It just has ones, tens, hundreds and thousands:


The second chart included allows you to construct large 7 digit numbers up to millions:


The third chart is a decimal place value chart showing thousands down to thousandths. This chart allows you to make numbers with up to 3 decimal places. It has the decimal point already on the chart:


The last sheet is a place value recording sheet. It has lots of space underneath the place value headings to record numbers.

You can trim down this chart to whichever columns you need as this chart has a very wide range (millions to thousandths!)


Place value activities to try!

If you want to help your child get to grips with place value and need some ideas for activities to try, here are a few suggestions.

You can do all these activities using one of the first 3 place value charts (which you can download at the end of this post). Just pick whichever place value chart is best suited to your child and their ability.

All you will need in addition to the charts is a set of digit cards. Just cut out 10 small pieces of card and write the digits 0 to 9 on the cards (like in the picture for below for activity 1).

Activity 1:

This first activity helps get children familiar with the different place value headings.

Describe a number to your child, by telling them which digit goes in which place value column. For example:

“This number has a 7 in the hundreds column, 8 in the thousands column, 0 in the tens and and 1 in the ones column”

As you describe the number, have your child build the number using the digit cards, like so:


When your child has built the number, have them read it back to you. (In our example 8 thousand, 7 hundred and one).

Activity 2

For this one, ask your child to build any number within a lower and upper limit. For example:

“Use your number cards to build a number bigger than 200 but smaller than 230”.

Obviously there are lots of numbers that they could build here (anything between 200 and 230!).

Get your child to tell you what number they have built (this is great practice for naming large numbers)

Activity 3

This activity is a version of ‘guess my number!’. Ask your child to build a number on their place value chart with their digit cards, but not to show you what their number is.

Then, ask your child questions about the number they have built.

As they answer the questions, try to work out what number they have on their place value chart (you may need a piece of paper and pencil to jot the digits down as you go!).

You can ask all sorts of questions, for example:

  • Is your number bigger/smaller than (……)?
  • Does your number have an even/odd digit in the tens column?
  • Is the hundreds digit less than/bigger than (…..)?

Don’t make your number too long (perhaps start with a 3 digit number), or you may be there all day trying to guess the number.


Before you go, don’t forget to grab your own copy of these charts:

Looking for place value math resources?

These resources, available in the Math, Kids and Chaos online store, will help your child (or students) develop their place value skills and gain confidence working with 2-digit numbers:

Place value puzzles for 2 digit number product cover

And there we have it! Thanks for reading today’s post about place value charts. Have a great day!

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