Welcome to the Bright Idea Zone!

One toy, many ways to play.

Discover a multitude of bright ideas for each placemat and keep the fun fresh. Designed by educational experts and sorted by age and ability, these activities help keep little minds engaged and growing.

For offline play, click to download the printer-friendly version of this page, as well as your bonus printable tools, and begin your learning adventure today!

We’ll give you a HUNDRED reasons why we love this mat! That’s right, literally a hundred (see that lovely chart?)! You and your child will find the purposeful organization of this mat both fun and easy to use while learning skills such as skip counting, addition of double digits and more. We’ve called in the math experts and think you’ll agree the activities on here are off the chart! Get it? Off the chart! Anywho, let’s have some serious fun!

A Hundred Little Reasons to Love Math - The 100s chart

  • Say a number out loud. Encourage the child to find the number on the 100s chart and then make the number in the place value chart using your D&J 123 Find & Fit puzzle pieces. 
  • Explore the tens place: Pick a number on the chart then add 10 to that number and show how in doing so you move down the 100s chart. Repeat with the same number until the concept resonates and then try with a new number.
  • Adding two double-digit numbers together: 37 + 56. Place a bingo chip on 37 move forward 5 tens and then 6 ones. 
  • How many more to get to the next “friendly 10”? With a D&J bingo chip placed on the number 52, the child counts how many more until they get to 60.
  • How many more to get to 100? Place a chip/object on any number and have the child figure out how many more to get to 100.
  • Skip counting: Show the child how you can skip count by 2, 5, 10, etc. with an object. Place clear discs on top of the numbers as you skip count.
  • Guess my number: Child or parent picks a secret number while the other person guesses. “Is it 57?”“No, it’s less than 57.” “Is it 31?”“No, it’s more than 31.”Etc.
  • Ask the child to count up to any number starting at a number other than 1. For example, “Start at 37 and count up to 57.” The child can reference the 100s chart to visualize. 

Location! Location! Location! Determining Place Value

Show the child the place value chart and use physical place value objects (connecting cubes, LEGOs, pipe cleaners/popsicle sticks tied together) to illustrate the values. For example, if using popsicle sticks, bundle together groups of ten sticks with a rubber band and use each to represent one group of ten. 


  • Put a chip on a number on the 100s chart, for example 32.
  • Have the child build the number using physical sets of ten and ones. If using the popsicle sticks, the child would show 3 bundles of ten sticks with 2 individual sticks. This can also be done using the printable ten frames.
  • Once the number has been built visually, place your D&J 123 Find & Fit number pieces in the place value chart to show the number.


  • Give your child bundles of 10 and ones (use the objects or place value printables).
  • Child counts the bundles of ten and ones and then puts D&J Find & Fit puzzle pieces in the place value chart showing bundles of ten and ones.
  • Find the number on the 100’s chart and place a chip on top of it.


  • Roll two dice to determine how many tens and ones, place the dice on top of the place value chart then build it using objects and D&J 123 Find & Fit puzzle pieces and identify the number in the 100s chart.

It’s Time To Talk Time! 

  • To introduce time, discuss how many hours are in a day, minutes in an hour and seconds in a minute.
  • Discuss the components of the clock - the hours and the minute (and second) hash marks.
  • Use pipe cleaners or pretzel sticks for the hands of the clock. Make sure the hours hand is substantially shorter than the minutes hand. Explain to your child the short hand points to the hour and the longer hand marks the minutes. Ask your child to represent different times. Start with round hour times (3:00) and progress to half hours (3:30) and then quarters (3:15) and then 5s (3:20) - reference the skip counting on the 100s chart here, finally single minutes using the larger markers as benchmarks. 
  • Using Post-it page markers label the minutes of the clock using skip counting by 5s.

Making Measurement Make Sense: Nonstandard measurement

  • Measure: select household items (fork, pencil) and measure how many paperclips long they are. 
  • Compare: Use the vocabulary, longer/shorter. “Do you think this pencil is longer or shorter than your green bean?” Then measure using the paperclips on the mat.
  • Estimating: “Do you think this fork is going to be more than 3 paperclips long or shorter than 3 paper clips long?”

Do You See What I See? Patterns/Skip Counting

Engage in some conversations about skip counting using the trim. What are some observations? Discuss how the bold number appears every 2nd, 3rd, or 4th number.

Provide some examples of skip counting using these patterns and additional practice/counting together:

  • Twos: body parts (legs, arms, eyes). Line up a handful of figurines, dolls, LEGO people and count the eyes on them using skip counting “2, 4, 6…”
  • Threes: using stop lights. Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light. When you are out driving with your child, skip count the total amount of colored lights as you pass under traffic lights “3, 6, 9…” 
  • Fours: wheels on a car, legs on animals. Line up a group of matchbox cars. Encourage the child to help you count the wheels on the cars using skip counting “4, 8, 12, 16.” This can also be done with animal figurines.

Extend the counting beyond the trim (26, 28, 30, 32, 34…)

Once the child is comfortable with the patterns, work to identify them on the 100s chart. Place a bingo chip on all of the multiples of 3 (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21).

There are other ways to get creative with the numbers on the edge (not related to skip counting). For example, you can pile coins on the bold numbers. On the number 10 a child can place a nickel and 5 pennies. On the number 18 they could place a dime, a nickel and 3 pennies.