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Computation…it all Adds Up!

Teaching addition can be as easy as 1-2-3! Why? Well, because to a young child, addition is simply an extension of counting and so the more counting activities you do with a Kindergartner, the easier it is to move to teaching addition. Makes sense, right?

Let's get started by explaining what addition means to a Kindergartner by demonstrating the process visually and kinesthetically.

The Process

Gather up some small objects like Legos or little counters. Put three in your left hand and two in your right. Show them to your child and open up one hand saying,

"Look here. I have three (bears) in my hand."

Then, open up the other hand and say,

"I have two (bears) in my other hand."

Now, bring your two hands together and ask,

"How many (bears) do I have altogether?" Together, you can count the (bears) to get the total.

Explain that when you have two groups you can put the two groups together to make one BIG group. To find out how many are in the big group, just count!

three bears
two bears
bring your hands together

Try this with different quantities in each hand. Have your child do this as well and make it into a game by challenging your child to quickly find the quantity of two groups. When he/she seems to 'get' the idea, then you can move on to the next step…the written or abstract concept!

The Written/Abstract Concept

If you have followed along with the KindergartenSOS method of counting and using the Tens Frames, then this next step will be easy (and, make lots of sense to both you and your child!).

To make the connection between the concrete idea of adding (combining the objects in your hands) to the abstract or written (paper and pencil), it is easier to transition a young child very s..l..o..w..l..y. So, we make a 'bridge' of sorts by combining the two; incorporating a bit of the concrete with the abstract. Just like with the Let's Count activities, it is now time to go out and get some yummy treats (aka, Cheerios or Froot Loops) for this activity.

Materials: Cheerios, pencil, and Cheerios Addition-A

In this activity, the steps are basic:

  1. Place a quantity of Cheerios into a small container in front of your child
  2. Place the worksheet and pencil in front of your child
  3. Say, "We are going to work on adding using Cheerios. "
  4. Sitting and working WITH your child, have your child look at the first addend (number) that is shown on the worksheet. Your child counts and places a Cheerio onto each picture,
  5. Then, he/she counts and places Cheerios onto the second addend.
  6. Ask, "How many Cheerios are there altogether?" and have your child count the quantity of Cheerios there are altogether.
  7. Direct your child to the bottom of the page, where the little green math monster is. Have him/her place a finger on the little math monster.
  8. Starting at the number 0 (zero) and counting UP, have your child count ("0, 1, 2, 3,…) until he/she finds the number that correspond with the number that goes with the quantity to match the total of the Cheerios counted. This number is traced and then written as the sum (the total) in the box.
  9. Continue with the other problems on the worksheet.

Download additional worksheets for practice purposes as your child becomes proficient at addition!

Cheerios Addition-B

Cheerios Addition-C

Cheerios Addition-D

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