Skip to Content

How to Teach Addition to Preschoolers

Like all things with preschoolers, teaching preschool addition needs to be fun.

Keep reading to see our favorite ways to teach math concepts.

How to Teach Addition to Preschoolers

This article may contain affiliate links to products that may help you when homeschooling preschool.

Math Concepts in Preschool

It’s never too early to introduce your little ones to mathematical thinking.

Math is far more than adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

Patterns, shapes, numbers, sizes, and comparing are all part of math, too.

Making learning fun and keeping it hands-on will help your littles to succeed when teaching preschool addition.

Pull out some of your little ones’ favorite toys, snacks, a pair of dice, and some game pieces.

The beauty of preschool addition is that nearly anything can be used as a manipulative.

Having multiple of similar items will help keep your preschooler focused on the addition task rather than comparing the items.

For example, if doing a pom pom activity, try to have all the pom poms the same size to prevent your little one from turning your preschool addition activity into a size sorting activity.

How to Teach Addition to Preschoolers

Preschool Addition Activities

Snack Addition

Have your little one roll two dice.

Starting with one die, have her place that many snack pieces on the plate.

Then add on the same number of snack pieces that are shown on the second die.

Have her count up how many pieces are in total.

Use a number sentence and have her repeat it to help her get used to using number sentences.

For example, say something like, “5 cereal pieces plus 3 more cereal pieces equals 8 cereal pieces.”.

Connecting Cubes

Roll both dice.

Make a tower that is the same amount as the first die.

Make a second tower that is the same amount as the second die.

Add the towers together to make a tower that shows the sum.

Again, use the number sentence to help your little one get used to hearing addition works.


Count up the dots on one side and continue counting on when counting the dots on the other side.

Have your little one practice tapping the dot when saying the number to prevent her from counting on without actually counting the items.

How to Teach Addition to Preschoolers

Linking Chain

This activity is similar to the connecting cubes activity.

Roll the dice and link up the number of chains based on the number that was rolled.

When doing this, be sure to make two separate chains, one based on each die, and then connect them.

This helps your little one to see that two separate numbers are being added together.

Adding Machine

Take two toilet paper tubes and connect them to the side of a box in a way that the bottom of the tubes are aiming into the box.

Have your little one practice her preschool addition by adding some pom poms to one tube and some pom pom to the other tube.

Both tubes should feed down into the same box showing that the pom poms are added together.

You can have your little one roll dice, flip over index cards that have numbers on them, or simply choose as many as she wants to put into each tube.

Feed the Monster

Draw a face on a piece of printer paper.

Cut out the mouth.

Place the face on an empty cup, bowl, or box.

Let your little one feed the monster based on the number rolled on the dice.

You can also do this to match the next holiday or a favorite animal.

Your little one can feed Santa, a leprechaun, the Easter Bunny, a horse, a cow, etc.

Ways to Change the Preschool Addition Games

No Dice?

Write numbers on pieces of paper (or index cards).

Flip over a card and use these the same way you would use dice in any of these other activities.

Plus, if you want to change the numbers to be larger or smaller you can do so.

Use Familiar Toys or Characters

Pull your little ones in with their favorite characters.

Use the figures you have already to do some of these activities instead of using snacks or pom poms.

How to Teach Addition to Preschoolers

Preschool Addition Fun

Making preschool addition fun is the key to holding the attention of little ones.

Personalizing the activity with animals, characters, and snacks your little ones love it instantly helps to draw in their interest.

Enjoy trying out some of these fun, cheap, and easy preschool addition activities.


Share This!