This super simple math activity from Everyday Mathematics was the game that finally got the concept of place values to "click" for my five-year-old.
Bundle up some craft sticks in groups of 10 (I did 3 bundles) and leave 9 sticks loose. Make up some quick number cards or tags and mix into a pile to pick from, then have them display the chosen number with the sticks, through place values- the first number being how many tens they need, the second number how many ones.
Hooray for hands-on ideas, and for seeing the "Aha!" light trigger on. She was a pro after just a few minutes, when prior to this, explaining place values on paper was getting us nowhere. Even using the manipulatives before in a similar way with toothpicks, shells, etc. wasn't keeping her interest. Once it was a game, where she got to pick the number and make it, that was just enough element of fun to make it work.
What games or activities have given you success in math concepts? Share, please!