If you’re a kindergarten or first grade teacher, or the parent of a kindergartner or first grader, you know that you need IDEAS. All the ideas! Kids this age have a short attention span, and they need a LOT of practice on the same concepts. So here’s a collection of the best easy addition activities!

These addition activities use simple materials that you probably already have around the house. Paper cups, pipe cleaners, beads, playing cards, craft sticks, erasers, and things like that.

Fun addition activities

Addition Cups

Use paper cups to create this handy addition tool! This is perfect for kids who are just learning the concept of addition.

Supplies Needed:

  • Two paper cups
  • A cardboard tube
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Marker
  • Small objects for counting – buttons, erasers, counting chips, pom pom balls, etc.

Cut a section of the cardboard tube to make a connection between the cups. You’ll need to trim the sides of the cardboard tube at a little bit of an angle to make it fit well between the cups.

Now it’s time to add! Give kids some addition flash cards, or make your own. You can also hand them an addition facts worksheet.

Instruct kids to look at the first addend in the addition problem and put that many objects in the cup on the left. Then they should count out the correct number of objects for the second addend and put those in the cup on the right.

addition activities with simple supplies

Then dump out both cups and count them up!

This addition activity is great for young kids who need a concrete way to visualize the concept of addition. It’s also great for kids who are already understand addition but need more practice because you get to touch things and DO something!

Pipe Cleaner Calculator

This idea is so simple and SO helpful! Make a “calculator” for your kids out of a pipe cleaner and beads. Counting the beads is an improvement over counting on fingers (it’s easier to keep track of the beads), and great for kids who still need that concrete help.

Addition Activity - bead calculator

Supplies Needed:

  • Pipe cleaner
  • Two small wood beads, or something similar
  • 20 pony beads
  • Hot glue

Glue a wood bead onto one end of the pipe cleaner. Then thread 20 pony beads (or however many you want) onto the pipe cleaner. Glue a wood bead on the other end to secure them.

Addition Stickers

This activity is a guaranteed win! Kids LOVE sticking stickers. Hand them an addition worksheet and a sheet of stickers with all the answers.

Soooo fun! And this idea is great for practicing subtraction, multiplication, or division also.

Addition Activities with stickers

Craft Stick Addition Tool

Use craft sticks to make a handy addition tool! We made a set with the numbers 1-10. You can also make 0 if you want. I’d recommend making two sets so that you can add the doubles.

Supplies Needed:

  • Craft sticks
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint pens

To solve an addition problem, kids just need to grab the sticks that correspond with the addends. Count up the dots to find the sum!

Addition Activities with craft sticks

Addition Games with Playing Cards

Playing cards and UNO cards are perfect for practicing addition facts! Here are some fun addition card games that kids will love.

LEGO First Grade Math – this free printable pack has LEGO themed math activities for first graders including number bonds, missing addend, and measurement.

Addition Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade


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  1. Jane McIntosh Mar 25, 2021

    Just made the pipe cleaner counter - took all of 2 minutes. Thanks for your wonderful ideas. We're in Parenting 2.0 with a 7 year old boy and it's been great having your ideas to support our everyday learning.


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