Intro to Addition (Preschool)

4 and up 
Before introducing addition make sure your child knows: how to recognize numbers verbally and write (1-20) and 1:1 Correspondence (read more about 1:1 correspondence)

What you need:

  • Lego 
  • Dice

How to:
When introducing addition, start by showing the child ( + ) the plus symbol and tell your child it means altogether.  Then show them the ( = ) and say it means the same as. 

For this activity gather up all of your duplo or legos and place them on the table. If you would like to make it easier for your little one, choose all the same lego shapes. (ex: all the cubes)  

  1. Sit with your child and have them roll the dice. If you would like you can use two dice for a little extra challenge. Have your child tell you the number they rolled. 
  2. Have them pick up that number of legos of the same color (if they rolled a 2 have them pick up 2 lego/Duplo of the same color) and stack them.
  3. Roll the dice again and have your child count for the number they rolled. 
  4. Have them pick that many lego/Duplo of the same color and stack it on top of the first number. 
  5. Then have them count what number it makes all together. 
  6. You can then work with your child to write down the problem and the result. This is when you have them count the first number, write it down, write the (+), write the next number, write down (=) and the number when they counted them all together. 

Addition can be a very abstract concept for little ones so it is important to make it as concrete as possible. There are so many ways to practice addiction with little ones. This is only 1 of those many ways. This activity helps make the concept of adding more concrete and visual. 

Being able to use manipulatives is what makes this concept more concrete and helps them later understand the written more abstract form of addition.

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Published by Christelle

Former Montessori School Teacher and Child Life Specialist. Specialize in early childhood education.

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