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12 Hands-On Activities to Teach Addition

Addition can be a tricky concept for kindergarteners. After all, they may have just learned how to identify numbers and are still building a foundation of number sense. Now, they are putting numbers together to make new ones. It makes sense that this can be tough for kids. However, with these hands-on addition activities in your back pocket, you can help your students master this concept in a more real-world, concrete way. 

12 Hands-On Activities to Teach Addition

#1: Sticky Note Addition

For this whole group hands-on addition activity, the teacher begins by writing numbers on the whiteboard. These numbers will serve as the sums for the activity, so you can differentiate them by writing numbers to 5, 10, or beyond.

Next, the teacher passes out sticky notes with addition sentences written on them. Taking turns, students read their addition sentence aloud, find the sum, and stick their addition sentence over it to complete the equation. 

#2: Addition to 10 Boom Cards

This addition activity is a 2-for-1 when it comes to learning fun as it’s both hands-on AND digital! These Addition to 10 Boom Cards allow students to practice various addition equations up to 10. Students will count the ladybugs in each jar and use the digital number tiles to build the equation.

They get 30 different digital task cards to practice with. That’s not all, though. They are self-checking, too. Students get instant feedback and you save time grading. What a win! 

12 Hands-On Activities to Teach Addition

#3: Addition Towers

This hands-on addition activity requires nothing more than plastic math cubes and sticky notes or notecards. Simply prep the sticky notes or notecards with addition equations. You can even use the same sticky note equations from activity #1 above. Students will draw an equation and model it using 2 colors of plastic math cubes. 

Another way to do this activity in a small group is by laying out all of the sticky notes and having students choose an equation, model it, and place their cube tower on the equation, working together until all of the equations are covered.

#4: Flip and Solve

Addition practice mats offer a variety of ways to solve addition problems. Students can use various manipulatives and number lines to model equations. You can make your own addition mats out of colored card stock or grab these done-for-you flip and solve mats.

Flip and Solve is jam-packed with hands-on learning opportunities. There are a variety of mats included, giving students different ways to model and solve equations. Students will flip a card, solve the equation using either manipulatives or a number line, and complete the addition sentence using a magnetic number tile. Recording sheets are also included for students to practice.

12 Hands-On Activities to Teach Addition

#5: Ten-Frame Addition

The next of the hands-on addition activities is a great whole group game. You’ll need painters tape and 2 colors of paper plates (like the ones from the party section). Use the tape to make a giant ten-frame on the carpet. Start by making the outside perimeter, then do a long strip down the middle, and then smaller strips to make the 10 sections.

Next, write addition sentences on notecards and turn them over face down. Call a student up to pick a card. They will read their addition sentence aloud and use the colored paper plates to model and solve the addition sentence on the ten-frame. While the student is solving, the other students can write and solve the problem on dry-erase boards and compare their answers.

#6: Grab and Add

This hands-on addition activity is a great math center idea for students. Simply fill 2 containers with different types of objects. You can use anything! Plastic math cubes, counting bears, mini-erasers, or even marshmallows and chocolate candies. Students will reach in and grab a small handful of each object. They’ll count the objects and write the addition sentence and sum on this FREE recording sheet or a dry-erase board.

#7: Crack the Code

What kid doesn’t love a good mystery? Your students are going to have a blast with this crack the code addition game! They’ll use the secret code at the top of the page to build addition and subtraction sentences. There are 15 no-prep pages each for addition, subtraction, and mixed practice. These can be used for small groups, centers, morning tubs, etc. Hello math detectives!

12 Hands-On Activities to Teach Addition

#8: Addition War

To play this addition game, all you need are regular playing cards. Remove the face cards from the deck. You can use the Aces as 1’s or remove those as well. Students will play with a partner. They both flip one card, laying them side by side. The first player to add the numbers correctly wins the round and gets to keep both cards. The first player to collect all of the cards wins the game.

#9: Addition Story Problems

Story problems require a lot of practice and problem-solving. Students must learn how to solve story problems in a variety of ways. These 40 pages of addition and subtraction story problems to 10 will help them do just that! Students will solve 1 problem per page in a variety of ways, helping them practice multiple problem-solving strategies with one fun, no-prep activity. 

#10: Dice Addition

For this hands-on addition activity, students will roll 2 dice. The jumbo foam dice are fun for this and aren’t so loud! The students will write the addition equation and solve it on a dry-erase board. They can also record their addition equation on this FREE recording sheet. This is a fun small group or math center game. 

#11: Domino Addition

Need an engaging addition game for your morning tubs or independent practice centers? Domino Addition is perfect for that. Simply write numbers 1-10 on notecards or use any number card you have and line up the cards. Students will draw a domino from the pile, add the dots on each side, and find the number card that matches the sum, placing the domino on top of it. 

#12: Addition and Subtraction to 10 Bundle

If you are craving even more hands-on addition activities but aren’t craving a ton of prep, look no further than the addition and subtraction to 10 bundle! This bundle includes 9 different addition and subtraction resources, all designed to help your students practice these math concepts in a hands-on way. From games and activity mats to mystery worksheets, your students will enjoy practicing all year long!

Addition practice doesn’t have to be a drag. Spice up your curriculum with these hands-on addition activities and watch those magical light bulb moments come alive!

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