Christmas Tree Math Make Ten





Christmas Tree Math Make Ten


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  Mental math is a struggle for a lot of kids but memorizing math facts help children to process the calculation of math problems faster.

PJ and I have worked on memorizing facts that make 10 for weeks.  And I really needed to find a teaching tool that would make those facts STICK with him.

We repeatedly used worksheets that drill and I made flash cards, too.  We sang a song, watched a few math videos..He just wasn’t remembering it.


You have seen this at some point in your child, I’m sure.  They aren’t interested or have already given up trying to learn something because its extra hard for them.  They stare at you with a blank face. No matter how many times you go over it, it just isn’t go to stick in their memory or they fail to understand.

Sometimes you have to dig to find something that will help them because you are just as puzzled as they are as to how to help them.  image

Well this is how I felt each time I’d quiz PJ on his Math Facts That make Ten.  I desperately wanted to help my struggling son!


So, we pulled out his paints and worked on a fun craft he could be proud of in more ways than one!



  • Paints 
  • Cardboard Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Paint Brush optional
  • Ruler
  • Pencil and Paper (we used white card stock)


PJ was failing to see the patterns in the math facts that make ten: They can be counted up and down. When kids have a mental picture of these math patterns they can draw from memory more easily.  Even if they don’t know a particular addend, they can count forward or backward using a math fact they already know until they have reached the math fact in question.

0 + 10 = 10

1 + 9 = 10

2 + 8 = 10

In PJs case he knew 5 + 5 = 10 every time I quizzed him.  

That math fact would be the math fact he could count up or down from to find the sum of other math facts to make 10 .

I asked PJ to make a Christmas picture using his paints and the TP rolls. (My idea was to write the math facts inside the painted TP roll circles of his picture.)  He wanted to make a Christmas tree! 

He asked me to help him draw a Christmas tree so I suggested he use a ruler to draw the outline of the tree.

Math Facts that make ten Christmas Tree





He drew an A shape tree without a bottom or trunk.

Math Facts That Make Ten Christmas Tree










PJ chose to paint the edges of the TP rolls with a paint brush rather than dipping them in paint.


 I told him we were going to write the numbers of the math problems we had been practicing in the painted circles.  He stamped the outline of a Christmas tree with paint and the TP rolls. We let the picture dry.



 Mental Math

I explained to PJ that he could remember other math problems that equal ten by starting at the one problem he already knew. “Let’s start with what you know, 5 + 5 = 10.”  We practice counting backwards and forwards from 5.  Then, we recited all the other math facts that make ten by starting with 5 + 5 = 10 going forward and backward.

Looking For Patterns In Math

PJ was ready to write all the math facts down and see  how the addends for each fact either increased or decreased by one.  He wrote 0 + 10= 10 in the very top circle.


 Then, I asked him to write a number 1 in the left circle and number 9 in the right circle just under the first math fact.  He saw that 1+ 9 = 10











PJ also saw that the numbers on each side of the Christmas Tree was either increasing or decreasing by one and both sides met at the doubles math fact, 5 + 5= 10.  He had created a picture pattern of his math facts to always remember!!

When I turned his picture over and asked him to tell me ALL the math facts that make 10, he recited them without a mistake for the first time!!  Happy Dance!

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂


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Hi! My name is Crystal. I am a mom of two. My daughter is 18. My son ,who attends public school, also needs a little extra help afterschool. This blog is all about how we keep learning fun at home as an extension of his school day and during school breaks.

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