Whether you are homeschooling or your kids or helping with homework at some point you will come across a resource that is called Base 10 or Dienes Base 10 Sets. Throughout primary, in the UK they are used to help with place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Most sets are made from plastic and geared towards use in schools. However, it’s really easy to make your own Place Value Base 10 Set using some wooden blocks. We’ve got full instructions on how to make your Dienes Base Ten set as well as How to Use the Base 10 Blocks with your children.

Pinterest image for the instructions on creating your own Base 10 set for maths using wooden blocks.

How to Make your Own Base 10 Set at Home

This is a relatively simple craft to make to create your own math manipulative. My own daughter much prefered them over the plastic blocks that she had used in school as they natural material felt “nice” in her hands as she did the maths. They also have the advantage of not being bright colours something that can help some children with learning (although feel free to paint the ones, tens and hundreds if you wish).

Materials needed to make your DIY Base 10 Set

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1cm Wooden Cubes

Elastic Bands (rubber bands)

PVA glue – White Glue

Paint Brush

How to Make your DIY Base 10 Counters

  1. Count out 20 single blocks and set asideCreate your own Base 10 Set for mathematics at a fraction of the cost of a bought set and made from natural materials too. Use the set of place value work, partitioning, addition and subtraction. An ideal DIY Math Manipulative for homeschooler, homework or in the classroom.
  2. For each 10 you make take a block glue one end and attach the next one.Create your own Base 10 Set for mathematics at a fraction of the cost of a bought set and made from natural materials too. Use the set of place value work, partitioning, addition and subtraction. An ideal DIY Math Manipulative for homeschooler, homework or in the classroom.
  3. Continue so that you have 10 in a row.Create your own Base 10 Set for mathematics at a fraction of the cost of a bought set and made from natural materials too. Use the set of place value work, partitioning, addition and subtraction. An ideal DIY Math Manipulative for homeschooler, homework or in the classroom.
  4. Now Place the elastic band around them to hold in place until the glue dries.Create your own Base 10 Set for mathematics at a fraction of the cost of a bought set and made from natural materials too. Use the set of place value work, partitioning, addition and subtraction. An ideal DIY Math Manipulative for homeschooler, homework or in the classroom.
  5. Remove the elastic band and you are ready to go.

You can create 100’s as well by joining together 10 of your 10’s into a block and the same with making 1000’s in that you make a cube.

Create your own Base 10 Set for mathematics at a fraction of the cost of a bought set and made from natural materials too. Use the set of place value work, partitioning, addition and subtraction. An ideal DIY Math Manipulative for homeschooler, homework or in the classroom.

When we first started using these we only used the 10’s and 1’s but I have since made a couple of hundred blocks as well.

Using the Base 10 Counters

homemade wooden tens and units blocks being used with a white board to do some addition with a home educated primary child

Apart from our number lines, these are probably the most used resource that I used in the classroom for number work and for homework with my own kids. The set that I had in my classroom was made of plastic so this wooden set is much more environmentally friendly and natural.

I use these sets with place value work, partitioning, addition, and subtraction as well as when we started with multiplication.

Using your 10’s and 1’s to show place value

using place value blocks to explore 10s and 1s in numbers

Using our basic number cards to teach place value I provided the set of 10’s counters and unit counters and then let my children show the place value. First saying the number Fifty Six and then identifying the 10’s and counting out 50 and the 1’s and counting out 6.

separating 56 into the 50s and 6s using place value wooden blocks made at home
homemade base 10 blocks used for partitioning 56 into 5 10s and 6 ones

Using the Homemade Base 10 to Work on Partitioning

I love simple resources for working on partitioning and in the past we have used post-it notes which work really well.

wooden base 10 counters used for addition problems in ks1 and ks2 maths for a home educated child

With partitioning, it’s breaking the numbers down into the individual 10’s and 1’s and then using them for addition. Find instructions on how to do this on our Post-it Note Partitioning Post and instead of using the post-it’s switch out for the base 10’s or use them as well as the post-its.

Addition and Subtraction with Base 10

Probably the way that we use the set most is with addition and subtraction as they work through getting to grips with this. I find using the block set like this also helps with recognising number bonds as you can see how the blocks add up to 10 and then switch out one of the 10 sticks instead of a set of 10 blocks for that number.

combining base 10 with a white board for hands-on math for homeschooling and homework

With the number sentence written down take the first number and count out the number of 10’s.

wooden homemade math manipulatives for addition and subtraction with a white board showing the sum 33+24=

Add in the units so that you have the full number of blocks for the first number.

addition with base 10 blocks the sum is 33+24 and there are 5 tens and 3 ones the last 4 ones need to be added

Do the same for the second number in the number sentence.

number sentence work with base 10 blocks for homework and homeschooling

Now combine to get your total.

addition problems solved using base 10 blocks at home

More DIY Math Resources for Homeschoolers to Make

maths fact triangles for reversible equations like multiplications and division or addition and subtraction
homemade chalkboard dice for learning, use them for all subjects and change them as you need
shape sticks for constructing 2d shapes for learning

Maths Fact Triangles

Chalkboard Dice

Shape Sticks

pinterest image for base 10 craft to make your own set for addition, subtraction and place value work
Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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