How to Teach Addition to Kindergarten Students

Addition is the first step toward mathematical literacy and reasoning and is usually used by teachers and parents to start learning math with children.

This post will walk you through some strategies on how to teach addition in such an engaging way that your kindergarten students will love.

How to Teach Addition to Preschoolers

If you’re looking to teach your kindergarten students addition, here are sure tips for doing it successfully.

Step 1: Define the Concept of Addition

Your students will need to understand the concept of addition before they proceed with additional lessons, and you should find an age-appropriate way to explain these concepts. You’ll also want to make sure kids understand the relationships between numbers.

For example, ask children to count up cats, dogs, or balls. This activity will build their number sense and introduce them to the concept of addition (one dog plus one dog equals two dogs).

Use everyday objects such as toys, blocks, and pencils. Ask your student how many of each object there are in total. They will then have to add them together.

For example: “How many toy cars do you have? How many toy buses? How many toy trains? How many in total?” These tasks help explain kids the basic concept of addition and the relationships between numbers.

Define the Concept of Addition

Step 2: Develop Numbers Sense

Teaching addition to kindergarten students requires a strong focus on numbers sense. You need to teach them how to count not just by memorizing numbers, but by actually understanding the number system with its cardinality property— each number represents a certain number of objects. This understanding helps them in learning to add and subtract quite easily.

The tried-and-true way to help kindergarten students develop number sense:

  • Look for natural connections between addition and everyday life. For example, when you’re baking cookies together, talk about the ingredients as you add them to the bowl. Count the cookies as they come out of the oven or divide them among family members during movie night. Develop Numbers Sense
  • The ability of kids to see addition in their daily lives will cement the relationship between math and the world around them.

Step 3: Run through Some Practice Problems

You can’t just explain how a problem works and then expect your students to know what to do—they need practice! Make sure that you give children plenty of opportunities for hands-on experience with addition (e.g., using flashcards or dice).

 Run through Some Practice Problems

Step 4: Start Using Number Lines

Teaching children to add using a number line can help them better visualize how addition works. The number line allows children to see that the result of adding two numbers together is visible in moving along the number line from one number to another.

For example, if you have three apples and four apples, you now have seven apples; this is represented on the number line as moving from 3 to 7.

Start Using Number Lines

Step 5: Provide Manipulatives while Teaching Addition to Kindergarteners

Addition is so fundamental that it can be tedious for students to learn. For this reason, it’s essential to present the concept in a way that is fun and engaging for students.

One of the best ways to learn addition is through manipulatives. Manipulatives are physical objects that allow students to work with the concepts being taught rather than simply listen explanations or do written exercises.

Some examples of manipulatives include:

  • Fractions Circles
  • Base Ten Blocks
  • Number Lines
  • Unifix Cubes
  • Pattern Blocks

The best thing is that these methods allow students to physically manipulate and explore the material they’re learning instead of just listening to a teacher or following instructions on a worksheet.

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Step 6: Make Teaching Addition to Kindergarten Fun

The more fun your students have, the more likely they will pick up concepts quickly and retain them over time. Make sure you give your students plenty of hands-on learning and positive reinforcement opportunities.

For example, teaching addition through games such as bingo or dominoes. This helps children practice their counting skills while playing an engaging game that teaches them how numbers relate to each other.

Kids can also learn about patterns by playing games like Tetris where blocks fall from above onto the board below each time you add one block onto another block on top. Make use of things that keep kindergarten students engaged in their learning process and have a good time while they do it!

Make Teaching Addition to Kindergarten Fun

Step 7: Employ the Tactic of Repetition

You must use repeated practice to help your students master addition. In order for them to truly understand that adding 2 + 5 = 7 means they have to see that there are two groups of objects and when you add them, you get seven objects in total.

Kids must repeatedly practice this basic concept in a variety of ways. For example, you can ask them to use counters or blocks to work through single-digit addition problems in class manipulating the materials until they see how two groups of five and two objects make up seven objects.

Employ the Tactic of Repetition

Step 8: Provide Guided Practice

Guided practice is a process when a teacher works with students to solve problems together. This is the best way for students to learn because they see the teacher thinking aloud and working through a problem step-by-step. They can ask questions, and the teacher can offer encouragement and corrections as needed. For example, you can reward students with a round of applause or tangible presents such as pencils.

Guided practice can take many forms. In some cases, a teacher may offer a series of problems and then work with each student to complete one problem before moving on to the next student. In other cases, a teacher may give each student a series of issues and then walk around offering help and encouragement as needed. Do not be controlling as students may not have an opportunity to independently struggle through parts of the problem.

Generally speaking, guided practice should be used when introducing new concepts or reviewing concepts that students have not trained for a long time.

Provide Guided Practice


Children in the digital age require a healthy dose of creativity and innovation. This article highlights essential steps on how to teach addition to kindergarten students. If you want to develop some math skills, try integrating innovative strategies and activities into your daily lessons. These will help students gain a solid understanding of addition and the way it works.

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