Simple, hands-on addition activities are the perfect addition (excuse the pun) to any early years classroom. Not only are they lots of fun, they are critical in helping young learners understand the foundation of mathematics.
My hot tips? Don’t reinvent the wheel! Use hands-on activities recommended to you and spend your time getting organised for your classroom. Have a selection of hands-on activities stored away.
You can use some cheap storage containers to store each activity. Then, at the beginning of the day, you will have a selection of activities that you can just grab and use. Not only will this save you precious time but it will be the perfect warm-up, consolidation activity or a time-filler with purpose!
Hands-On Addition for Kids
Here’s a quick video showing off five of these awesome hands on addition activities for kids.
Addition Card Game
Using a deck of cards, this game can be played with 2-4 players. Each player picks up two cards, they then need to add the two numbers together and give the answer to the sum. If they get it right, they get to keep the cards. If they don’t, they have to put their cards back to the bottom of the pile. The student with the most cards at the end wins!
Create an Addition Machine
Create an addition machine using a shoe box and two cups with the bottoms cut out. Students roll two dice and then use the machine to work out the answer by putting balls/counters through the cups to add the two numbers together. A great hands-on activity to consolidate the concept of simple addition.
Play Adding Jenga
Using Jenga blocks, write simple addition sums on sticky labels and stick a variety sums to the end of each block. Played just like Jenga, however the students must work out the answer to the addition sum before they can attempt to remove the block.
Beads and Cards Adding Activity
This activity can be varied to suit the resources you have available to you. We used a deck of cards, you could also use two dice depending on the skill level of your students. Students pull two cards from a deck of cards. They then thread the beads onto the pipe cleaner to show the two numbers. The students then have concrete objects to count to work out the answer to the number sentence.
Coat Hanger and Pegs Addition Machine
Another great hands-on activity to consolidate the concept of addition. Have students roll two dice and then place the pegs on the coat hanger to show the two numbers rolled. This provides them with concrete materials to then count the total.
Lady Beetle Addition Activity
Using our lady beetle adding template, laminate and cut out the black dots and number cards for a great addition activity. Students can roll two dice or pick two number cards to create a number sentence. They then place the black dots on the lady beetle to show the answer to the addition number sentence.
Addition and Fine Motor with Pom-Poms
Here’s another cheap and easy idea to store away in a container to use again and again.
Write simple addition equations in the bottom of patty cakes. Students then use tweezers to pick up the pompoms and put the correct number of pom-poms in each patty cake.
I have seen this used as a morning activity. As soon as your students come into the classroom, they have to work out four simple addition sums using the pompoms! A nice way to ease them into the school day.
Finger Template Activity
Children using their fingers to count is always a heated discussion among teachers.
In my opinion, what’s the difference between using their fingers and using manipulatives such as, paddle pop sticks or blocks to help them work out mathematics equations? Which is why I absolutely love this idea… The perfect hands-on addition activity for students to keep and use again and again.
You may like to use our hands and numbers template to re-create this activity.
Using a beach ball, write simple addition sums on the ball. Students throw the ball to each other and pick a sum close to one of their hands to answer. As a fun alternative, play a class game of catch, time how long it takes for every student to catch and answer a sum.
Tree Adding Activity
Using our tree adding activity, laminate and cut out the apples, number strip and number flash cards (if you don’t want to use dice). Students can roll two dice or pick two number cards to create a number sentence. They then place the apples on the tree to show the answer to the addition number sentence they have created.