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Fun ways to practice Addition and Subtraction

Updated: May 11, 2021

We've all learned to add and subtract. We've done worksheet after worksheet to practice it.

Addition Worksheet from This website has good basic worksheets
Addition Worksheet from This website has good basic worksheets
Do your kids whine when they see these worksheets?

A lot of my students do. While these are absolutely necessary the kids can get bored of them real soon. Are they any alternate ways to practice our basic arithmetic skills? Anything more interesting than plain old worksheets? Let's explore some fun Addition worksheets and other methods.

Worksheet from :

Practice Addition through Skip Counting:

This is how we (my husband and me) started with our kid. We started playing skip counting with him when he was just 2 years old. He had no idea that he was learning something. He just thought we were playing with him. Till now he still thinks we play math with him :)

How do you start?

Start with 10's. It's the easiest and they'll be able to see the pattern real quick. This also gives them an outline of numbers. They'll be able to get to larger numbers faster and learn how the number line goes.

Then move to 5's. They'll be able to recognise the pattern pretty quick here too.

Then move to 2's. Here they'll see that you are skipping one number in between. This also serves as an exercise for learning about even and odd numbers. If you can get the number by counting by 2's (starting from 2) - it's an even number!

So far they should be able to do it real easy. Once they've mastered these you can move on to 3's, 4's and so on. To make this more interactive my kid and me would take turns - he would tell a number and then me and then him and so on.

You can also incorporate skip counting through activities. For example, I would award my kid points for eating his dinner without spilling. For every mouthful he took (without spilling) he gets 3 points. So not only did he learn to add, this also formed his multiplication tables basics. You can also do this while playing physical games. Games like count by 3 for every hop.

Magic Squares:

3x3 Magic squares should be good to practice addition along with a tiny bit of logic too. Kids love anything with the word magic in it. Mine loved these :)

Rule: Every row, column and diagonal should have the same sum.

So the kids have to figure out what the sum is first and then fill out the entire square in the correct sequence.

 3x3 Magic Squares
3x3 Magic Squares

Click below to download a Free 3x3 Magic Square pdf.

3x3 Magic Square Free Download
Download PDF • 5.11MB


Magic Addition Pyramids:

The number on the upper box should be equal to the sum of the two boxes right below it.

Magic Addition Pyramid
Magic Addition Pyramid

This can even be extended to fraction addition/ subtraction and multiplication/ division. For older kids try it with integers and Algebraic expressions too!

Click here to download a free Addition Pyramid to start off.

Download PDF • 7.46MB

For a more challenging version of Magic Pyramids, give the kids a 3-4 numbers that come in the bottom most row and ask them what is the highest number that they can get at the top of the Pyramid. Idea by nrich maths -

Magic Triangles:

Similar to the ones above but in triangles. Each of the sides have to add to 100 here. You can also make up your triangles adding upto 50, 70 etc.

This link is from Beast Academy (BA). BA is an excellent curriculum for kids who love math.

The below link also gives you an idea of what else you can do with Magic-triangle.

CrossNumber puzzles

CrossNumber instead of Crossword :) Try it out.

Guess and Check with Shapes and Smilies

Ask the kid to write all possible ways in which you can add up to the number:

Eg. 10

0+10 and 10+0

1+9 and 9+1

2+8 and 8+2

3+7 and 7+3

4+6 and 6+4


Once they do this you can ask them questions like "Two numbers add to 10. Their difference is 4. What are the 2 numbers?"

You can try saying the following too. Shapes are much more interesting than words for kids. Instead of triangles and rectangles you can use smilies too :)

Math Dice Junior Game

If your child likes to learn in the form of games, check out Think Fun Math Dice Junior Game.

Board Games

I played board games with my kid a lot. Especially chutes and ladders. But every time he rolled he should tell me where his coin goes. So no counting, he has to add. You can ask your kid every now and then as to where the coin should go. Kids are happy to move your coin too and not just theirs! You can try chutes and ladders, candy land, junior Monopoly etc.

Junior Monopoly also taught him to handle cash.


Easy Cryptograms can also be used to practice addition and subtraction. The left image is how I practiced #Cryptograms with my #Kindergartener

By the time we finished this page he was screaming for more. As you can see I hand wrote all the problems for him. This is because he gets distracted when there are a lot of unsolved problems in the page. He tries to hop between problems and solve them all at once!

I asked him to write the answers too. It gives him a sense of ownership. It took him more time to write the answers neatly than it took him to compute :) but it was still good.

The next day we also did problems with carryovers in both the tens and the hundreds place. To see more Cryptogram puzzles and how to solve them head over to Math Enrichment Activities - Cryptogram Math Puzzles and How to solve them.

Hope you got some "Fun addition worksheets" here. There are a lot more ways like Balancing the scale, completing the equations, etc., but I'll post them as I finish those worksheets as well :)

Did you use any other technique to help you kids master basic operations? I'd love to know about them. Please do leave a comment on what worked for you.

For those who've mastered these basics I'm also planning to conduct a camp on "Math with Puzzles" where the kids do Sudoku, KenKen puzzles, Cryptograms etc. Keep watching this space for more info or shoot me an email if you're interested.


Hope this blog was informative and helped you get ideas to work with your child. Please do share this with your friends who'll benefit from this too :)


About me

Hi, I'm Vasudha, an Online Math Tutor. I coach kids for Elementary and Middle School Competitions. Preparing for competitions help them develop their critical thinking skills that are much needed in today's ever-changing world. The kids also develop a passion for math and problem-solving.

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