Grade Levels: K-3

In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about basic addition. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Basic Adding topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.

Classroom Activities for Teaching Basic Adding

Count On Me

As a kinesthetic activity, gather all your students in a group. Together, come up with addition problems and use students as “counters” to solve. For example, to model 3 + 2, have three students stand in a group and have two more join them. Then have everyone count the students to find the sum.

As an extension, you can write addition word problems on the board and have students model it. For example, you can write, “Five students wearing blue do jumping jacks. Three students wearing red do sit ups. How many students are exercising in all?” Students can take their turn acting out or saying addition problems aloud.

Add Tens

Write different numbers on flash cards or slips of paper. Put them in a hat or a box and have students draw a number. Then have students add multiples of tens to their numbers. Students can write addition sentences on the board and show their sums. Encourage them to verbalize their addition strategies as they solve the problems. Point out how the ones place remains the same but the tens place changes.

Giant Number Line

Together with your students, create a giant number line along a wall of the classroom. Write different addition number sentences on the board and have students use the number line to solve. Then have students make up their own addition number sentences in their notebooks or on the board. Other classmates can solve them by using the number line. Students can also write word problems that feature addition. You may wish to model examples for them and review key phrases used in addition word problems such as “in all” or “all together.”

Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching Basic Adding

Ruler Line

Together with your child, use a ruler as a number line to add. This provides a terrific opportunity to measure in metric or customary units while using basic math skills. Measure the length of an object at home and then practice counting on 1, 2, or 3 units. You can then measure other objects and add different lengths together. Encourage your child to write down the number sentences in his or her notebook and solve using different adding strategies.

Bean Counter

Write down different addition sentences and have your child use dried beans to model the problem to solve. Be sure to use addition sentences that feature doubles or multiples of tens. Your child may come up with his or her own strategies to solve the problems, or you may wish to practice the strategies introduced in the movie. After your child is comfortable using counters, have him or her solve by using a tally chart. Have your child explain why tally charts make counting easier or harder for them.