Teaching addition and subtraction concepts to preschoolers

by Donna Rodgers
( Fredericksburg, VA , USA)

I use anything on hand that we have several of.

I have been teaching my 4 year old grandson this method lately:
He brings me a bucket of matchbox cars.
He decides how many he wants and I chose how many I want.
We count each group of cars.

Then I tell my simple story....
You have ____ many cars and I have _____ many cars. Lets park our cars in a parking lot and see how many we have.
We place them together and recount.
Then I say so ____+______ equals______.
He fills in the numbers.

After doing this a few times we change our story.
We start with group of cars. We count them. Then I say ,"OK, now I am driving my car home. How many do we have left?"
Now he likes to say, " You are driving , mom is driving , dad needs a car, Grandpa needs to drive to the store, and the dog is driving off too."
He can verbalize the entire number sentence correctly each time, which shows he is understanding the concept.

I have used this method with cars, pencils, crayons, barbie dolls, erasers, coins, tootsie rolls, cookies, batteries,boxes, army men, legos, and about anything else you can think of.

Every kid loves it ! I usually start with about 5 items, then go up to 25 or more.

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