Are your students bored or lacking the motivation to practice adding numbers? Make addition fun in the classroom, or even at home, with these engaging, fun, and easy to prep activities. I've tried to include a variety of ideas. Some work well for the early years, while others suit older students. From preschool to fifth grade, there's something in this post to teach, challenge, and motivate.
1. Addition (NEar Doubles) Snap Card Game
This addition 'near doubles' snap card game gives students an opportunity to practice their mental addition skills in a fast pace game. This game can be used after discussing the near doubles strategy, as an early finisher math activity, part of your math centers, or as a math mental warm up before commencing a math lesson.
•Shuffle the cards face down and give out cards evenly per player.
•Each player is to keep their pile of cards faced down in front of them.
•Players take it in turns to turn over a card from the top of their pile and place it in the middle pile (which is equal distance for all players)
•If the card the player turns over is a number that equals the sum of the previous card (or if they turn over a sum that matches a number of the previous card) they need to quickly put their hand over the pile and call ‘SNAP’.
•Other players may also quickly jump in to call ‘Snap’ if they work it out first. First person to do so with their hand on the pile gets to keep all of the cards in the pile. They will need to add these face down to the bottom of their pile.
•Other players are to check that the SNAP pair go together.
•Once a player has run out of cards in their pile they are out of the game.
•The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the WINNER!
2. Addition APP for Adding ONE
This app 'Tiggle Chef' is colorful and fun for the early years learning addition. Requiring counting skills and following directions, the chef will voice the concept of adding one as an ingredient is added to the pot.
Ideal for preschoolers, check out the video game play example below:
3. Addition with Lego
Using Lego bricks and sticky notes, set up some addition sums like in the picture above. Students write the equation on a piece of paper first. Then, join the Lego blocks and count to find the answer. Students record the answer on the blank sticky note or on their paper.
4. Addition with Play-Doh
Grab some Play-Doh, cookie cutters, and sticky notes to set up some cute picture addition sentences as a math center. Create your own before the math session, or invite students to make their own addition sentences this way for an open-ended math task. A fun alternative would be to make it a challenge such as, show how many ways to make '5.'
5. Addition Bug Boost Board Game
This FREE addition 'Bug Boost' board game to download requires a little bit of prep, but once done, it will make addition practice fun! This one is particularly useful for addition word problem practice. Works best for upper Elementary students as the numbers can get a bit high on some of the cards. Alternatively, you could select which cards to include in your game set (there are 60 different word problem cards in the set).
Roll, move along the board and see where your player piece lands. If it says to pick a card, then the player must select a word problem to solve. Answer the word problem correctly to 'collect' the reward given on the card. The aim of the game is to collect all four different 'bug' tokens and make it to the 'finish splat' section on the board first.
For the player pieces, you can use any item that you have available, such as counters.
Download this item for FREE HERE. More detailed instructions are included in the packet.
6. Go Shopping - Role Play
Role play shopping is not only a fun way to practice addition, but it also shows a real-life application of the skill. Keep it simple with low and whole numbers for the young ones, increase the numbers to add a challenge, or introduce decimals for the older grades.
You will need:
Students are given an amount of money and go 'shopping' for the items on display. Before visiting the cash register, students add up their bill to make sure that they have enough money. At the checkout, each student presents what they want to buy, and say (or show on paper) what their bill should be. To check at the register, add up the items to show if the total bill on the 'calculator checker' equals the same answer. If correct, give students more pretend money to go shopping again (otherwise require them to put the items back and pick different ones to try again.). To increase the challenge, say that they must purchase three items with $x amount (adjust amounts as needed).
7. Addition Math Mysteries
Add some mystery to addition practice time with these print and go math packets. There's something for the easy addition skills 1-20, and for the more challenging addition skills in the 5th grade packet where adding with fractions and decimals is required. Easy prep and fun, practicing addition will mean so much more than just a regular 'drill' worksheet.
Math mysteries can be used in multiple ways:
Use a clue or two per session, add to your math centers, set as an early finisher task, or give as homework.
8. Simple Dice Addition Game
A simple partner game that requires some dice and paper.
Partners take turns to roll the dice to create two numbers and then add them (like in the picture below) on a piece of paper. Each round, whoever's total is the greater number wins a point for the round. Rinse and repeat. Whoever has the most points at the end wins.
Differentiate by adding more dice and requiring larger numbers to be added, or reduce the dice to be single digit numbers to be added.
Fun for a math center or an early finisher partner game.
9. Number Tumbler Addition Game
This is a challenging game, with the added pressure of a timer!
Players must connect the number squares to equal the number give in the target box.
Play this game for free here to check out!
Use as a math center on a tablet or computer, or as an early finisher task.
10. Potion Groceries
This 'Potion Groceries' activity would be a fun addition math center or use as a whole class warm-up activity. The theme works particularly well around Halloween.
Set up some small jars with colored water. Label them using some strange ingredient names that might be used in a potion. Set your price tags for each ingredient.
Differentiate by changing the prices to suit numbers for your class.
Looking for this activity in a quick print and go format? Something that is also already differentiated? Grab it for FREE from my TPT store HERE.
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A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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