Home » Math » One Fun Way to Review Place Value (FREE Pirate Game)

You can get this free download at the bottom of the post by clicking on the blue button.


“Hey mom, what’s 24 x 7?”

I glanced up from the computer, recognizing that this question could lead to a teachable moment.

“Well…the 2 represents 20 and 20 x 7 = 140…..” I began.

I continued to work through the problem out loud, asking questions when I knew he would know the answer. Finally he proclaimed,  “Oh wow, there are 168 hours in a week.”

He turned back to the TV and quickly became engrossed in his show, but the short conversation reminded me how far my math skills have come.

Place Value

Before I began teaching an incredible program that stressed place value, I would NEVER have been able to solve that problem in my head. I would have had to grab a pencil and paper and work it out with the traditional algorithm. As I begun understanding and teaching place value, I was amazed that I could now perform mental math. My math skills grew by leaps and bounds my first year of teaching as I followed a curriculum designed to build number sense.  Through this, I began to respect the importance of teaching place value.

Ruth Rumack from Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space Blog states, “ Once a child has a good understanding of place value, he or she will have an easier time with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, expanded notation, etc. Place value is the “why” behind the basics of mathematics; it teaches beyond memorization and repetition.”

*This post contains affliated links at no extra cost to you.


Place Value Pirates Game

Did you know September 19th, is talk like a pirate day? Well in honor of this fun day, I decided to bring a little fun to place value and create a game with a pirates theme.

Set Up

You can make this game simple or you could add in some extra “Arrrgh” to it by adding pirate sensory bins and burying the cards in the bins. Fun A Day has 10 great pirate sensory bins or you can grab this cute pirate chest and sand from Amazon for an almost no prep sensory bin. Either way, the extra fun will definitely get your children saying, “Me Hearties” as they play.

Set up is simple:

  1. Print off enough game boards for each player, and one set of game cards
  2. Cut out the game cards, and laminate if your little ones will be digging for them in a sensory bin.
  3. Pull out the sums (the cards with pirate hats on) and place them to the side. Make a stack of the addends or bury them in your bin.

Play Time

  1. Give three sums to each player. The players will then place a sum after each equal sign.

This does require some strategy. It may not be best to place the sum of 64 where the equation only has room for two addends. Placing a 22 there, maybe a little easier to make.

2.  The players take turn pulling addends. If they can use the addend they pulled, they place it on their sheet. If not, they place the addend in a discard pile. If a player draws a coin, they may grab two more cards. Did they grab a picture of a pirate walking the plank?? Whoops! They just lost their turn.

3.  The game ends when a player has filled in all their squares and they have three correct equations.


If your lads and lassies understand place value, they have truly found the booty. Mental math becomes much easier, and that is a treasure worth finding. Don’t heave hoo a whole lot of worksheets at them to develop this precious skill though. Grab this freebie, and get your pirate talk on!



Continue your place value work with this Pirate Coloring Game. They are in my Teacher Pay Teacher store.



Get the Pirate Place Value game with 100 and 1,000’s at my Teacher Pay Teacher’s Store.





3 thoughts on “One Fun Way to Review Place Value (FREE Pirate Game)

  1. Can I ask what program it is that emphasized place value that you referenced?

    1. rachelpeabody@yahoo.com says:

      Yes, my first year of teaching, my school adopted Everyday Math. I loved it, and when it was time to purchased a math curriculum for my children, this is what I choose. I seriously couldn’t do any mental math before I started working with that curriculum. I will admit that some people don’t like it, since it teaches different ways to add and subtract. For example, they teach students to add using place value. 12 + 23 would be added like 10 + 20 = 30 and 2+3 = 5. Hope that helps!!

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