Math Activities | All Aboard Addition

AdditionHere’s a fun activity to get children practicing their addition facts while creating a train across a blackboard or whiteboard.

Supplies needed:

Blackboard / Whiteboard
Chalk / Dry erase markers

To begin, draw a “train engine” on the board. It can be as simple as a rectangle placed horizontally with a square on one end for the engineer’s cabin and an upside down triangle on the other end for a smoke stack. Add two circles along the bottom for wheels.

Next, write an addition fact on the rectangle, such as “3 + 5”, “6 + 9”, or “2 + 12”.

Ask children to think of another addition fact that equals the answer of the problem you wrote on the engine. For example, if you wrote “3 + 5”, a student might come up with “4 + 4”. Have the children raise their hands when they think of another addition fact.

Call on one of the children who raised his hand. They can tell you the addition fact he thought of. If he is correct, have him come to the board and draw a train car behind the engine. The train car can be a rectangle with two circles on the bottom for wheels. Have him draw a line connecting his train car to the engine and write his addition fact on his train car.

Continue in the same way until all possible answers have been given and written on the board. An engine with “3 + 5” will have cars behind it with “4 + 4”, “7 + 1”, “2 + 6”, and “8 + 0”.

After the train is completed, begin again with a new engine and new addition fact.


Provide colored chalk or markers for the students to choose from as they draw their train cars.

Instead of waiting for children to raise their hands, simply go around the room to insure everyone has a turn adding a train car.

After you draw the engine, draw the first car behind it. Have one of the children tell you the answer to the problem, and write it on the first car. Follow it with more facts as described above.

Practice subtraction, multiplication, or division facts in the same way.
Written by Samantha Bell

Photo by woodleywonderworks

Math Curriculum and Math Games by Smart Tutor

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