Place Value Puzzles to Understand Large Numbers {FREE!}

Help your kids understand place value, expanded numbers and large numbers using these printable place value puzzles with helpful visuals. Print once and use again and again!

It’s often difficult for students to make the connection between the numbers 0-9 and place value. At first, children learn to count and everything has a single value, i.e. 6 race cars. But eventually, as they build on that knowledge and begin to consider larger numbers, they must understand place value. Then, suddenly, they can have 6 tens or 6 hundreds and it’s not simply the number 6, but a much larger value. This set of printable place value puzzles will help kids begin to visualize larger numbers.

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Base Ten Blocks to Understand Place Value:

One way I have begun to teach my daughter to make sense of numbers this way is by using base 10 blocks to build the number, write the number, and say the number. We have also used the “number street” from Math-U-See.

Base ten blocks provide an important visual to help children see large numbers and understand that 6 tens is not the same as 6 ones.

Another way students can build on this number sense is by writing numbers in expanded form, i.e. 654 can be written as 600 + 50 + 4. “Expanding” the number helps remind kids of the place value of each digit.

This will help students to understand place value, and not just see them as individual numbers. Combining base ten blocks with the expanded form can help deepen their number sense as they develop their understanding of place value and large numbers.

Place Value Puzzles:

In order to help my daughter make the connection between these three forms (a number, the blocks and the expanded form) and understand that they are equivalent representations of the same number, I have created the following set of puzzles.

This download includes 15 different printable place value puzzles.

The focus of this set of puzzles is 3-digit numbers. If your kids are not ready for 3-digits yet, start building and writing 2-digit numbers with base ten blocks to work your way up to hundreds.

Prepping the Puzzles:

To begin, you’ll want to print all 15 puzzles. I suggest printing them on card stock paper, as this is thicker and more durable, making it easier to move around and use the puzzles.

If you want to prep these once to use year after year, you may want to laminate them as well.

Once printed (and laminated, if you want), cut out each puzzle. Each puzzle includes three pieces, so you’ll want to cut the three puzzle pieces apart as well.

This part is a little tedious, so you may want to gather some help from aids, parent volunteers or other students. 🙂

Once all puzzles are printed and cut into pieces, just mix them up really well and hand them over to your students!

To store them, keep all the pieces in a large zip lock bag and label it “place value puzzles.” This makes it easy to tuck them away and pull them out again when you have a student who needs review.

Another way to use them is to cut them out and then, once your child has completed the puzzles correctly, glue them to construction paper and hang as posters for a visual reminder of the different forms.

{Click HERE to go to my shop and download the number puzzles!}

However you decide to incorporate them into your classroom or homeschool, I hope you will find them useful!

Find more place value resources below:


  1. Thanks very much for sharing the expanded number puzzles. My students are going to enjoy using these.

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