10 Playful Ways To Learn Addition & Number Bonds!

Number Bonds and Addition

Number bonds and addition are building blocks to the basic concepts of Math. Learning to count is probably one of the first Math skill children acquire, and through that they understand relationships of quantities and their relationships to other numbers. Addition is one important application of this understanding. Children at young age need not memorise addition to master the concept of addition. They simply need a lot of manipulatives and concrete materials coupled with ‘acting out’ the process of adding to help them count summative quantities. This skill lays the foundation for mastering more complex Math concepts such as subtraction, multiplication.

We have come up with 10 playful ways to learn number bonds and addition, effortlessly and with lots of fun!!


1.   Muffin cupcakes/ paper cups, and ice-cream sticks.

Get creative and make this concrete number-bond game. To reinforce part-whole relationship, simply write “part” and “whole” on the paper cups. Then place different number of pebbles, lego blocks, marbles or beans into each part. Transfer both amounts to the “whole” cup to show the process of adding the two parts to make whole. You can ask your child to make the addition statement: 3 and 5 make 8

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2.   Rock Dominoes

You can go for a garden walk with your child and pick up these lovely stone pebbles. Simply use correction ink or permanent white pen to draw 2 quantities of dots with a dividing line on the pebbles. Create different number combinations. Write number bonds and addition sentences with each number combination.

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Addition Sentence

3     +       4    =      7


3. Number Dices in a Jar

Simply put 2 dices in a jar, give it a shake and you will have two numbers to make a number bond and write an addition sentence!


4.   Fish crackers

Use two small bowls or paper plates. Have your child put different number of fish crackers or biscuits. Write out the number bond and addition sentence with the numbers. The best part about this activity is eating them up!!

Fish crackers on a bar chart!


 5.   Clothes pins and Ice-cream sticks!

Simply write different numbers on the clothespins and create different addition sentence. Your child can practice learning how to add numbers!


6.   Lego Blocks

Write some numbers with addition symbols and ask your child to create addition sentences!

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7. Ice-cream sticks and Dot stickers

Simply stick stickets dots on ice-cream sticks, choose two sticks and add the two numbers! The fast learners can learn to make mental addition and make it into a game!


8. Clothes hanger and Clothes pegs!

I saw this idea on the internet and it is really a cool way to learn addition! This home material is easily available and your child can also hone their fine motor skills by hanging the pegs on the hanger. Your child can come up with 2 different quantities to add!


9. Paper Rolls

Just cut up a toilet paper roll and write two numbers and create a whole lot of them. Ask your child to stack up two numbers on top of each other, and add!


10. Play dough and Buttons!

Play dough time is fun when your child gets to press buttons on it! Just ask your child to add up two quantities of buttons! 🙂



Noah’s Ark

Noah’s Ark: The Story of God’s Protection


Story-telling session with my girl

Once there was an old man named Noah, who had a very very looooong beard. He loved God and was the nicest person in the whole city. One day, God warned Noah that a terrible storm is coming.

God told Noah, “The big flood is coming and it will rain for many, many days.  Everything is going to be destroyed. I want you to build an ark where you and your family and all the animals can be safe.”

Noah asked God,” What is an ark?”

God replied, “It is like a boat which is very big (stretches hands wide), and is very high (stretch your hands towards the ceiling). It is made of wood and will take very long to build. You must start right away!”

Mr and Mrs Noah listened to God and started building the huge ark. It had a super big door and a window at the top for everyone to look up to God, instead of looking at the storm around.

Their neighbours saw what they were doing and started laughing at them. “What a silly idea! There is no rain or storm in sight, why are you so foolish?”

However, after the ark was finished, God told Noah, “The storm is coming anytime now! Quick, get your family and choose two animals of each kind and gather them into the ark!

When Noah’s family and the animals went into the ark, God shut the door, and the sky became filled with dark clouds. Noah and his family could hear loud thunder (thunder sound) and then there was one drop, two drops , three drops of rain that went pitter patter! And soon, it became a thunderstorm and there was water all around. The dry land could no longer be seen, and the water covered the whole earth.

All this while, Noah, his family and the animals were all safe and dry in the ark! Noah’s ark is warm and cosy and there was plenty of food.

After it rained for forty days and forty nights, the sun began to shine! Noah sent a raven to look for dry land, but the raven only sees water. Noah waited for a few more days, and sent out a dove. It brought back an olive branch, and Noah knew the flood is over.

“Yay!!! The flood is over!” shouted Noah’s family and the animals. Noah said, “Let’s get out of the ark! The animals are really stinking up the whole place!”

And so the animals went out of the ark, and roamed the dry lands. God made a rainbow in the sky and told Noah, “Whenever you see a rainbow, you will remember my promise that I will never flood the earth again. I promise not to be angry with man anymore.”

Discussion 1: We are protected whether we are good or bad, because we are in the Ark.

Dramatization: children can role-play the following scenario of the animals in the Ark.

Bird: Wow, look at the flood outside! Thank God we are safe in the ark!

Elephant: (boasting) You know, even if I am not in the Ark, I can use my trunk to suck up all the water and I will still not die.

Goose: (laughing) Hahaha, You know I can fly for forty days and forty nights in the sky and I will never be tired.

Mouse: (looking out at the storm outside) Oh no oh no!! The storm is too great! I think we are all going to die in the Ark and drown in the sea!! God help!!!

Children, do you know that even when the animals boast in themselves, or be fearful and have no faith in God, they are all still safe in the Ark and will be protected from the flood? Jesus is the Ark, so when we are in Jesus, we are protected from all the evil and bad things in the world. Whether we are good or bad, we do not need to fear because we are in Christ, and Jesus will still protect us.

Discussion 2: “Protect” means to cover

Have a child wear a poncho or raincoat. Then have two or three children to shoot water with water guns at the child in the raincoat. After that, take out the raincoat and show that the child is still dry and clean.

Children, do you know the word ‘protect’ means to cover? God is our best protector. Like the raincoat, He always covers us and shields us from all bad things that come at us. No evil can touch us or hurt us because we are in Jesus.  We can be protected from disease, accidents, disasters, or evil because Jesus always protects and covers us.

Craft Work

Just print out an ark template, and some animal cut-outs. Paste them and put it on an ice-cream stick!

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My 3 year-old with her Noah’s Ark craft work after the story-telling session.




Chinese New Year Gold Coins

You can’t miss these glittery, gold coins during the Chinese New Year season! These gold coins are supposed to signify prosperity and good luck. My little one was drawn to these coins straighaway! Besides being a great chocolate treat, these coins can be used for learning in 5 great ways!

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1. Counting Numbers

Simply use the coins for this Math Montessori idea! Teach your child how to count by using one to one correspondence according to the number cards shown!


2. Dollars and cents

Show the money equivalent by matching the dollar value with the right number of coins. This is a great to teach value of dollars and the different dollar denominations!


3. Creating shapes!

Get creative by making different shapes with the gold coins! Your imaginative little one may just surprise you with different shapes to make up a picture!

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4. Letter shape and recognition

You can also create letter awareness by asking your little one to make different letters! This enhances your child’s letter recognition and interest in the alphabet. Along the way,you can also teach phonics sounds!


5. Comparison of quantity (more or less)

You can also use these beautiful coins for comparison of quantity! Simply stack up quantities like 3 coins and 8 coins and introduce concepts like ‘more’ or ‘less’ by asking your child to compare the different quantities. This helps your child to make visual discrimination of the different quantities.