Addition & Subtraction Practice With Beans (a fun way to learn!)

Visual and tactile learners often struggle with concepts that haven’t been demonstrated in a real-life way.  Being a visual/tactile learner myself, I know all about it.  My daughter, of course, takes after me in this way which means I have the opportunity to get creative with our learning all the time!  Today’s worksheet isn’t exactly a new or creative idea, however it is a great way for kids to learn addition and subtraction.

What You Need

  • Printer, paper and this FREE DOWNLOAD WORKSHEET
  • Beans or some other small counting unit (as always, keep an eye on kids and be sure nothing goes in their mouth)
  • Your little cutie, ready to learn!

Getting Started

Only set out about 20-30 beans at a time, depending on how large the numbers are that you are working with.  Instructions for both the addition sheet and the subtraction sheet are written at the top of the page, however you can get as creative with this as you want!  Explore fact families once your little one has addition and subtraction down, for example.

This is such a simple way to learn addition and subtraction.  Use mini marshmallows or jelly beans so your child has a sweet treat for a reward once they’ve completed their work!

Once she’s got the beans all in place, have your child state the solved equation out loud.  “One plus two equals three,” while pointing to each portion of the equation as she says it.  Help her realize that in an equation, we want each side of the equal sign (=) to be the same.  Taking a trip to a park with teeter totters and a couple small weights would be great another way to reinforce this idea.

Our Experiences

Oakley loved adding with beans and was able to see addition at work in real life.  Because she is very artistic, it helps for her to jump in with both hands and give it a whirl!  We are focusing on addition for now, but the subtraction sheet is included in the same download.  Even the boys were jumping in and requested their own sheets!  They had fun making groups of beans in the boxes even though they aren’t quite ready to learn addition (yet!).  I plan to laminate these sheets so we can use them over and over without printing out new pages each time.

For Younger Siblings Who Want To Play Along

Print off another sheet for a younger sibling who is eager to participate but not quite ready for the concept of addition.  Place one bean in the first box and ask them to add one bean to the rest of the boxes on the sheet.  Once they have completed it, congratulate them (of course!) and wipe the sheet clean.  Continue on with two beans in each box, etc.

Extra Tips

If your child is having trouble understanding that the first two boxes are combined, push both groups together between the boxes, right over the plus sign to form one group.  Have them count the new group to get the answer, then add that many new beans to the answer box.

If your child is putting the objects into his or her mouth and posing a safety hazard, remove all objects from their reach.  Take out three full sized sheets of paper and arrange them on the table just as the boxes are on the sheet.  On two small squares of paper, write a plus sign on one and an equals sign on the other.  Place them between the full sheet boxes to form a giant blank equation.  Use crayons or pencils to add instead.

I hope that you’re able to use the worksheets and ideas I share here to help your homeschool or public school child learn these concepts in a fun way, as they have helped my daughter.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

~ Kylie

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Welcome to my personal blog. Here I share a little of what goes on in my life and the things I love, including my faith, my family and my passion for making things. I love to share what I have learned and hope you find something meaningful here.

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