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Easy Games for Making 5

One of the most critical relationships that young children can develop as they begin their mathematical journey is the idea that numbers can be composed and decomposed in different ways. In Kindergarten, most standards refer to this as knowing all the combinations for the numbers to ten. In other words, understanding that five can be made by combining 2 and 3 (composing) or that 5 can be broken into 2 and 3 (decomposing), but also that 5 can be composed and decomposed in many ways: 0 and 5, 1 and 4, 2 and 3, 3 and 2, 4 and 1, and 5 and 0.

Building this understanding is a journey! We start with smaller numbers and provide lots of concrete experiences. Today, I have several games for making five. Two of the activities use the same cards, so that means even less prep time.

Roll for 5

making 5


  • recording sheet for each player
  • number cube with the 6 replaced by a 0 ( put a small sticky dot with a 0 over the side of the number cube with a 6)
  • Two different colors of pencils or crayons


  • Player 1 rolls the number cube and finds the row that uses that number to make 5. For example, if I roll a 2, I look for the 2 + __ = 5 row.
  • Using one color, fill in dots on the 5-frame for the number rolled. In my example, I would color in 2 circles.
  • Using the second color, fill in the rest of the dots.
  • Complete the number sentence.
  • Play passes to Player 2.
  • If, on your turn, you roll a number you have already used (for example, if I roll another 2), you color in a smiley face at the bottom of the recording sheet. The object is to get as many combinations for 5 as you can before coloring in the three smiley faces.

For fast finishers, put blank 5-frames in the workstation with 2-color counters. After students play the game once, they can continue to practice combinations for 5 by rolling the number cube and using the 5-frame and counters to show the combination. For example, if I roll a 2, I would put 2 counters of one color on the 5-frame and 3 counters of the second color.

making 5

Make 5 Memory


  • One set of Make 5 cards
  • Counters (to support kids who might need to use the manipulatives)


  • Mix up the cards and lay them face down in a 3 by 4 array.
  • Player 1 turns over two cards. If the cards make a 5, the player keeps the cards. If they don’t make a 5, the players turns them back face down in the same spot. Matching cards can be two numerals, two dot cards, or a numeral and a dot cardโ€”as long as they make 5.
  • Play continues until all matches have been claimed.

Make 5 Go Fish


  • 2 sets of Make 5 cards (24 cards total for two players)
  • Counters (to support kids who might need to use the manipulatives)


  • Mix up the cards and deal 5 cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down in the “pond”.
  • Players look for matches (combinations of 5) in their hands and lay down any matching pairs. As with the Memory game, pairs can be two numerals, two dot cards, or a numeral and a dot card.
  • Players take turns asking the other player for a card that would match a card to make 5. For example, if I am holding a 2 in my hand, I might ask, “Do you have a 3?”.
  • If the asked player has the card, they must hand it over. The player receiving the card lays down the match and takes another turn.
  • If the asked player asked does not have the card, he/she says, “Go fish”, and the asking player takes a card from the pond.
  • The game ends when one player runs out of cards. The player with the most cards wins.

You can download the game materials using this link!

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