As a parent, the concept of 1st grade addition may seem quite simple. Yet, for some kids the ideas behind 1st grade addition simply do not make sense. If you are looking for ways to help this concept stick, here are some tips that might help, taking the work beyond the worksheet and flashcards and thinking outside the box.
Go outside and draw a number of clouds on the sidewalk with chalk. Put numbers in those clouds that correspond to the facts your child needs to learn. Then, have him jump from one cloud to the next, saying the numbers and adding them. So, if he jumps from the one to the three and is learning addition, he will say “One plus three equals four!”
While this does not develop understanding, per se, it is fun and engages more senses to help your child retain the information. You can add an understanding component by placing rocks in the clouds that correspond to the number and using those rocks as manipulative. The child grabs the rocks when he jumps into the circle to help add up the numbers.
Create a game that helps children visualize the concept of addition. Take a sturdy piece of cardboard and cover it with bright paper. Set it inside a small plastic bin so that it stands up vertically. Cut the bottom off of two plastic or paper cups, then tape or staple the cups to the board so they open into the bin. Place a “plus” sign between them using color tape. Place an “equals” sign on the front of the bin.
To use this manipulative, have your child choose a 1st grade addition fact. If the fact is 10 + 3, have him count out 10 manipulatives and place them in the first cup. They will fall into the plastic tub. Then count out 3 to place in the second cup. Again, they will fall into the bin. Count the total to see what the sum is. This reinforces the concept that addition is combining two groups into one whole.
An important concept in 1st grade addition is the concept of making 10s. Making 10s will come into play in the next few grades as larger and larger numbers are added. This simple activity will help 10s make sense.
Have your child trace her hands on a bright color of paper. Then, glue the hands onto a worksheet, but do not glue the fingers, just glue the palm. Use the paper hands to create combinations that add up to 10, and have the child write them under the paper hands on the worksheet. Instead of counting on her own fingers, she the paper fingers.
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