Teaching Kids to Count On in Addition - Freebie!

Here are several tips on how to teach children to count on to solve addition problems, plus a fun free download to help practice it, called Counting On Addition Eggs!  This freebie has a fun spring egg and chick theme, so that makes it extra fun!  Incorporating plastic eggs into learning centers and other academic activities during the springtime is super motivational for children and a natural fit for any early childhood classroom.  I think you're going to like this, so check it out!

This is what the download looks like:  I uploaded it on Slideshare so that you could see the whole thing.  (You'll find the link to download this free file at the end of this post.)


1. Copy the egg puzzle masters onto colored cardstock paper. Pastel colors work best so that the little yellow chick will show up! There are six pages to print, plus the number lines if you need them. To make it easier for your little ones, you may wish to print each page on different colored paper. The colors will be an extra clue for your students to help them match the two sides.

2. Laminate the pages for durability, and cut out the eggs out as shown.

To Use:

Mix up the cards.  Then have the children match the equations with the correct sums.  Consider giving the children some counters to match up to the eggs in the equations as shown in the photos below!  We enjoyed putting them in plastic eggs!

Tips for Teaching Children to Count On In Addition

Here are a few different ways that can help children learn to "count on" from a certain number to solve an addition problem.  A few of these ideas came from participants of a discussion of this topic on my HeidiSongs Facebook Page.  Many thanks to this wonderful group of expert teachers for their input!  You can view this discussion here.

Also, if you have a question that you would like me to post for discussion, just let me know in the comments or by messaging me on Facebook.

1. Put the First Number in Your Head:  Show the children how to find one of the egg "tops" with an equation on it. They should put the first numeral in their head and count on from there, touching each chick as they count forward.

2.  Put the Greater Number in Your Head, and the Lesser Number on Your Fingers:  Another way to count on (like on a worksheet, etc., rather than on these egg puzzles) is to find the greater number and put that one in their heads.  Then the children should put the smaller number on their fingers and count forward from there.

3. Use a Number Line:   Number lines are great- just make sure you show the children HOW to use them!  Have kids find the first number on a ruler or a number line, and then “hop forward” like a bunny one time for each chick that they see (or hop forward one number as they count.) You may wish to give your students a plastic bunny counter for the hops to make it a little more fun! There are printable number lines at the end of the file if needed.

4.  Put Blocks on the Number Line:  Show the children how to put one block or counter down on the number line for each number until they get to the starting point.  Then they should add a different colored block (or different type of counter) for each number that they are adding to it.  Then say, "Here we have ___, now let's count on ___ more."

5.  Try Singing It!  We have a song on our new DVD, Musical Math Volume 2 called Count On. The lyrics are printed below.  This is a catchy tune and one of my favorites; check it out!

6.  Walk it Out:  Make a large number line to put on the floor with tape or sit spots, etc. and have the child stand on the first number.  Have the child put the second number in his head and then count on, taking a step forward for each count.  Model it for the child, explaining why you started on that number and why you are moving to the right rather than to the left, etc.  Have other children in the class model it and explain their thinking to the class as well.

7.  Work on Counting On Just One More, Then Two, Etc.:  Start out simple and then work up from there.  Many children can cope with "anything plus one" in their heads.  From there, try working on small numbers plus two using manipulatives.  Once counting on just two numbers is mastered, then work on three's, etc.

8.  Check the Child's Grasp of Number Sense.  If It's Not Strong, Build It.  Some children memorize the counting sequence without really understanding how many seven is, for example.  To find out if a child has a solid sense of numbers, ask him to show you six, or, eight, or ten of something.  He should be able to do this quickly, without hesitation, and without mistakes.  Then ask him to show you two more than five, or two less then four, etc.  If the child is still having trouble counting out sets of objects correctly, than he is probably not ready for addition OR counting on.  Work on gaining number sense instead.

Books for Developing Number Sense:  This book, Number Talks, was recommended by a teacher friend as a good resource for building number sense.  Also, I have used this book, Math Their Way, for many years with excellent results!  This book, Developing Number Concepts, by Kathy Richardson is also excellent.

You'll find the download for the Counting On with Addition Eggs right here! FREE!

Follow HeidiSongs's board *Addition and Subtraction Ideas* for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade! on Pinterest.

Here's a video from Musical Math 2!


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