Easiest hands on activity for kids learning math addition
We’ve become increasingly fond of Montessori style activities, where learning is tailored to a child’s current interests and developmental needs. The philosophy is “help me do it myself” is what encourages learners to become self-sufficient, independent critical thinkers.
Our eldest rascal turned 5 a few months ago. She’s developed a love of numicon pieces and loves to count. She has become curious about the concept of addition, hearing me and other children talk about it, and becoming familiar with it from some of the educational cartoons on TV. She had started to recognise the plus sign and asked questions about what it meant.
I’m a big believer in learning by seeing and doing, so I wanted to provide her with a real tactile activity that would allow her to see addition and most importantly carry it out herself. We have a pretty big collection of small seashells. I purchased them from out local $2 store for small world play and crafting. The girls love playing with the shells, any time we go to the beach they love collecting them too. I figured we could use some of these shells as a beginning addition activity.
As you know I’m a hoarder of cardboard. I fished out some cereal boxes and cut them up into small rectangles, large enough for me to make numbers using our stencils (another item in our craft cupboard I love to use!!) I made numbers 1 through to 10, and a plus and equal sign. I thought this would be a good place for our little mathematician to begin investigating the concept of addition.
I introduced her to the idea of the activity by placing some low number cards down to arrange a simple addition equation. I then asked her to choose and place the shells below the number cards, explaining that she would then count up all the shells on the first side of the equal sign to find out the total that would be placed on the other side, then she could choose the correct number card to represent the answer.
I liked how this hands on activity allowed her to gain autonomy in her learning. Once we had practiced a couple together, she felt confident to continue trying out further equations on her own. Through practice and repetition, she was able to master adding together different numbers and correct her own errors, giving her an immense sense of pride in her own learning.
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