Find the Missing Digit Activity

3.5 based on 17 ratings
Updated on Nov 13, 2014

Okay, identifying place value isn't as fun as eating ice cream, but with a few index cards and a competitive spirit, it can be disguised as play! This game, which challenges your child to find the missing digit in a four-digit number, will strengthen your kid’s understanding of thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones. After a few rounds of play, your child will be identifying place value like nobody's business!

What You Need:

  • 40 index cards. Use them to create four cards for each digit from 0-9 (for example, make four cards with the number 0, four with the number 1, etc.)
  • Place value chart showing Thousands, Hundreds, Tens, and Ones

What You Do:

  1. Give each player a set of 20 number cards. Make sure each person has two of each number. Review the place value chart with your child.
  2. To start playing the game say a 4-digit number aloud. Take three of your number cards and place each of them in the corresponding place value square. One square will be empty. The point is that your child will have to figure out which one is missing. For example, if you say the number 1,236 and place cards in the thousands, hundreds, and one positions, she would have to figure out that the 3 was missing from the tens position.
  3. Say the number again. Have your child complete the number by placing one of her number cards, the one showing the missing digit, on the empty place value square. Have your child read the place value of the missing digit. Ask your child to read the complete number. For every missing number she finds, she gets one point.
  4. Switch roles.
  5. After you’ve played this game a couple of times with only one digit missing, try gradually increasing the number of missing digits. Before long, your child will want to supply all four digits--prepare to be happily trumped!
Sally is an experienced educator, with over 14 years of teaching experience. In addition to teaching, she has also created educational materials, including ancillary, textbook, and test items, for Grades K-8 for major educational publishers.

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely