Adding Doubles

This is one of the first math activities I do with my children, usually starting around age 4 or 5.  It is simple enough for little ones, but is easily customized for older kids as well.  (See The Extension below).

The Idea

Use things found in the natural world (or the child’s world!) to expose him to early addition.  We memorize all the “doubles” math facts early on.  Later they can move to “doubles +1,” “doubles-1,” etc.


The Execution

Print pictures that show doubles addition.   If you are artistic, draw a picture.  If your child is artistic, let him draw a picture.  (To find pictures on the internet, search Google > Images.  Then choose Search Tools > Type > Line Drawing.) You can use paint, handprints, stamps, or any other medium your child enjoys. Label and write the math fact on the paper.  (See picture above).  In the early years I will usually label and write for my kids.  As they get a little older and better at numerals they can do it if desired. Display the picture for reference, or slide it into plastic protectors and make a “math fact book.”



Any 4 legged animal.  Label the legs “1, 2, 3, 4.”  Others ideas: car.


Insects, like this Bumblebee.  Label the legs “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.”
Other ideas: construction vehicle, train, flowers.


Spiders, like this one.  Label the legs, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.”
Other ideas: trains, flowers with 2 layers of 4 petals.


Trace 2 hands or 2 feet. Label the fingers/toes “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.”
Other ideas: flowers with 2 layers of 5 petals.


A dozen eggs.  Label the eggs, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.”
Other ideas: flowers with 2 layers of 6 petals.


Trace 10 fingers and 10 toes. Label.


The Extension

Teaching strategies using “doubles.”

Once the child knows the “doubles” facts well, she can practice them on worksheets using doubles.

This same method can be used for older children to investigate multiplication facts.

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