Home » Math » Don’t Take My Blocks – A Free Subtracting With Regrouping Game

Do your students need a little more work on subtraction with regrouping. This subtraction with regrouping game is fun and perfect for extra practice with subtraction.

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My boys love games. Even though we took off a few days for spring break, when I mentioned a game they came running.

My 6-year-old had done the file folder activity on subtracting with regrouping earlier in the week. This activity helped him understand what was happening when we regrouped while subtracting, but I wanted to further this activity by playing a game.


As always, my four year old joined in. I knew he wasn’t ready for subtracting yet, but we have been working on using base ten blocks to represent numbers up to 50. I knew that we could practice this during the game, and I would just model the subtraction. Even though he is nowhere ready for subtracting two-digit numbers and having to regroup, I’m building background knowledge for him. I believe that this knowledge will make this much easier for him when the time comes for him to tackle this area.

What you need to play

Anyway, the boys decided they wanted to use their LEGO men for game pieces, and I grabbed the printable, base ten blocks, and die.

Teacher Created Resources Foam Base Ten Set (20617)Teacher Created Resources Foam Base Ten Set (20617)Set of Assorted 1Set of Assorted 150 6-Sided Dice | 16mm | 5 Colors50 6-Sided Dice | 16mm | 5 Colors


How to play Subtraction with Regrouping Game

The game is simple to set up, and just as easy to play. Each player places 8 tens or longs in front of them. They then roll a die and follow the instructions on the space they land on. Some of the spaces have you adding tens or ones. Others have you subtracting.

The tricky part comes in when they reach that first subtraction problem, and they don’t have any ones to subtract.

I’m not always as consistent as I need to be, but my goal is to always ask my boys what they think they should do…not tell them.

My six year old remembered our lesson from the other day and knew he had to exchange a long for 10 cubes or ones. What I found out though was that he is still struggling with is understanding that when he took away that ten to exchange it for ones that didn’t count as subtracting a 10.

For example, if he had to subtract 28, he only wanted to take away 18 after he regrouped. We had to have a lot of discussion on that, and I know that this is something we will cover again once we get back to classes next week.



What happens when you run out of blocks

My four year old landed on a series of subtraction problems and before long didn’t have enough blocks to subtract. The consequence is to go back to the beginning, BUT you get to add 6 tens to the blocks you already have. On his second time through he ended up landing on a ton of add block spaces. Don’t you love the smile on his face as he is counting up his blocks? He TOTALLY knew that he had won the game because he had more blocks than his brother.


The second board game is played the same way, except not kiddos are subtracting using hundreds and they get to start with 500 blocks or five flats.

Enjoy a chance to play a fun game with your kiddos, and help them tackle this often daunting task of subtraction with regrouping.


Grab all my subtraction with regrouping activities by clicking on the picture.

Or get our new e-book with 60 Adding and Subtracting Activities. It is on sale today for only $10.

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You’ll find it under the Adding and Subtracting section!



7 thoughts on “Don’t Take My Blocks – A Free Subtracting With Regrouping Game

  1. Mother of 3 says:

    What a fun game! I love when we can cover math concepts using a game instead of the workbook pages.

    1. rachelpeabody@yahoo.com says:

      Thank you! My children definitely prefer the games to a workbook page too!!

  2. Ericka says:

    for the file folder activity …. where do you get the cards they flip on the board?

    1. rachelpeabody@yahoo.com says:

      The ones I used in the picture are Rook Cards (aff). But any regular deck of cards will work. Just take out the king, queen, ect. Hope that helps.

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