If you are looking to enhance your math teaching strategies and lessons focused on addition concepts, here are some exciting ideas and activities to try in your kindergarten, first, and second grade classroom. Consider incorporating the hands-on addition practice activities into independent math tubs, morning workstations, or small group sessions to boost students’ confidence and foster addition fluency.
Engaging Ways to Practice Addition Math Skills
The best way to teach any math concept is through hands-on activities. We call this kinesthetic learning, and it allows students to manipulate objects they are learning about. Students will retain the information better by writing, moving, and discussing an idea.
In this post, you will find a wide range of hands-on activities to teach addition to 10 and 20 in a fun and memorable way. These activities are great for elementary teachers and allow kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students to learn in engaging ways that excite them.
Table of contents
- Classroom Scenario 1
- Classroom Scenario 2
- Fun Hands-On Addition Practice Ideas
- Helpful Strategies to Build Addition Skills
- Additional Math Resources
- More Addition Practice Strategies
Classroom Scenario 1
Picture this: Matt was in a kindergarten classroom with tons of worksheets and plain materials that didn’t interest him. He learned the basics but can’t apply his knowledge to new concepts without additional help.
Some classrooms are like that.
Adding enjoyable activities and interactive learning experiences can greatly enhance children’s day. By incorporating fun into their routine, kids are more likely to engage with the material and absorb the concepts being taught, often without even realizing they are learning.
Classroom Scenario 2
Picture this: Veronica loves playing the printed games her first-grade teacher made for math centers. She enjoys the ones that she can do alone in a quiet space and the ones she gets to do with her group. Instead of sitting at a desk filling in spaces, she and her peers learn through play!
That’s the best kind of learning.
Veronica will likely retain the information she is learning much longer than a student given just worksheets. Her knowledge of math topics will go beyond the papers in front of her! Through the use of games and hands-on activities, children can not only have a blast but also retain valuable knowledge.
Fun Hands-On Addition Practice Ideas
Math manipulatives are small objects like buttons, counters, or beads that students can use to count or solve math problems. These objects can be everyday household items or themed mini erasers to match holidays and make counting fun. They easily allow kids to learn in a hands-on way.
Try using these manipulatives during addition lessons:
- Ten Frames – Lay manipulatives on ten frames to create numbers to 10, numbers to 20, and beyond.
- Cubes – These are a useful tool to use when comparing numbers and amounts.
- Counting Bears – The small, colorful bears are great for sorting and patterns in the classroom. Use them on printable recording sheets to work on addition facts.
- Number Lines – Use items on a number line to learn to count and compare.
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Math centers and tubs provide an opportunity for kids to learn a concept in various ways. Instead of providing a worksheet or a textbook activity to complete, math centers give them multiple ways to learn and explore a concept. Kids learn differently, so having other hands-on choices available allows them to learn at their own pace.
Here are addition practice ideas for math centers:
- Playdough – As kids learn to add to 10, playdough provides a tactile way to create numbers and addition representation. Provide students with different colored playdough and number cards or written addition problems. For each problem, they roll out playdough balls to represent each addend, then squish them together to find the sum.
- Puzzles – Make your addition jigsaw puzzles by cutting paper into pieces with different numbers or arrangements. Students must arrange the pieces to create valid addition problems.
- Count and Clip Cards – Prepare addition clip cards with equations and multiple-choice answers. Students use clothespins to clip the correct answer while building fine motor skills.
- Bean Bag Math Toss – Make addition hands-on! Label containers with different numbers, and students toss bean bags to match the sum.
Addition Math Games
Whether store-bought or teacher-created, classroom math games are entertaining for reinforcing math skills. Simply rolling a die allows kids to practice subitizing. Moving spaces forces them to practice counting and adding. That’s just the beginning; games have hidden math skills all over!
- Mathopoly – Transform a traditional Monopoly board where properties represent different addition problems. Kids must buy and solve addition problems to win!
- Number Line Hopping – Create a human number line on the floor and invite kids to practice their addition skills by hopping forward to solve addition problems.
- Addition Bingo – Play Bingo to help kids solve addition math facts as they search for correct answers on their bingo cards.
- Addition War – This version of the popular card game is an easy way to practice addition fact fluency through play. Instead of the larger number winning the cards in each round, the largest sum after solving the equation wins.
- Race to Add – Design a game board with addition problems. Students roll dice, solve the problems, and move ahead. The first one to the top wins the race!
Interactive Addition Worksheets
While it might not always be the most exciting or the best way to learn, completing worksheets is sometimes necessary for practice. The key is having interactive worksheets that keep things engaging. Also, for teachers, worksheets are a handy tool to check how students are progressing.
Here are some interactive and fun ways to incorporate worksheets:
- Math Journals – Daily math journals are a simple way to help kids practice skills learned throughout the week. Use them in morning meetings, centers, or to wrap up the day.
- Color By Worksheets – These keep students focused on solving addition problems while adding an element of fun with coloring.
- DIY Partner Worksheets – Have kids create worksheets or questions for their peers to complete. Give them a straightforward template.
- Math Mats – These spiral review worksheets provide a variety of skills to practice on one sheet, keeping skills sharp throughout the year. Students will solve addition problems visually.
Math Crafts & Art Projects
Projects and art activities help reinforce math concepts creatively! Kids love art, coloring, and being creative, so it’s a win-win. Use these on Fridays or at the end of a unit to celebrate a job well done!
Here are some craft ideas:
- Fact Family Craft – Create fact family houses with this craft that has kids display their math facts for addition. Print multiple or laminate the houses so they can record multiple fact families.
- Paper Hand Cutouts – Have kids trace each of their hands and cut out. Glue the palms of the hands down, leaving the fingers free onto a sheet of paper. They can then use their fingers to count and solve addition problems they write down!
- Math Fact Bracelets – Have students create beaded bracelets where each bead represents a number in an addition problem. As they wear their bracelets, they can solve problems on the go!
Addition Fact Practice
Checking student progress with an addition fact fluency strategy is a straightforward assessment method. These strategies can double as exit tickets or engaging warm-ups!
Try these simple activity ideas:
- Sticker Book – Use a book that will allow students to track the addition facts they master and which they need to continue working on. It’s a great goal chart to keep them on track, and kids will love the addition of stickers!
- Flashcards – This one is self-explanatory, but flashcards are a great way to review quickly and see what kids know. Use flashcards to play addition review games during whole or small group instruction. Flash the cards and have students race to answer the facts!
- Fact Strips – Fact strips are pieces of paper with addition facts on them. Try giving students fact strips to solve quickly to build math fluency. The teacher can watch over their shoulders as they give the correct answer.
Helpful Strategies to Build Addition Skills
In your daily lessons, try a few standard classroom tools outside of the above ideas. These tools help reinforce the concepts learned in a fun and meaningful way. This allows students to learn from numerous sources in different ways.
- Using Math Picture Books – Incorporating adding into storytelling is a fun way to motivate students to learn. When they see addition happening on the pages of their favorite stories, they will understand its true importance. Here are a few fun titles:
- Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
- The Mission of Addition by Brian P. Cleary
- Mission Addition by Loreen Leedy
- Educational Apps and Online Resources – If you have a technology center, add these apps and websites to your list of rotations.
Using a variety of math worksheets, games, activities, crafts, printables, and digital tools will help kids develop a stronger understanding of addition concepts and build math fact fluency. Incorporate these activities in their daily math centers and routines to help build their confidence in adding.
Additional Math Resources
Math resources are great to have on hand for whole group lessons, extra practice, center materials, and independent work. Try using the Addition Math Fact Fluency Resource with students. This resource includes over 200 pages of worksheets, games, activities, centers, posters, task cards, certificates, and data tracking sheets to help kids learn math facts to 10 and 20.
If you want done-for-you lessons and engaging activities to teach addition concepts, you’ll love the Mindful Math program resources available for Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade! They come with many practice printables, math journals, math games, centers, lessons, and more.
Click below to see the comprehensive units up-close:
- Kindergarten Mindful Math Addition to 10
- First Grade Mindful Math Addition to 10
- First Grade Mindful Math Addition to 20
- Second Grade Mindful Math Addition (2-digit)
- Third Grade Mindful Math Addition (3-digit)
Free Addition Math Lesson & Activities
Try a first grade addition math lesson and activities in your classroom with this free resource. You will get a sample of activities to practice addition to 10 with your first-grade students. It’s also great for any kindergarteners who need a challenge!
Click the image below to grab a copy.
More Addition Practice Strategies
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