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Fun Activities for Teaching Doubles Addition

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Teaching doubles should be one of your favourite things to teach. It's such an easy concept to plan practical activities for - which is great news for kids! Even better, those fun activities for teaching doubles are really quick to set up - which is great news for you!

using a mirror for doubles addition

What are doubles?

Doubles addition means adding the same number twice, for example, 2+2 or 5+5. You can explain to children that a double is two lots of something.

Doubling is first introduced in Reception class at school. The Early Learning Goals state that, 'Children at the expected level of development will automatically recall number bonds up to 5 and some number bonds to 10, including double facts' and 'will explore and represent patterns with numbers up to 10, including double facts' (Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage).

Instant recall of doubles is a useful mental maths tool as it paves the way for more complex maths, such as halving (the opposite of doubling), the two times table and near doubles. Near doubles are when two numbers are added, with one number being one more or one less than the doubles fact. An example of this would be 3+2 or 6+7. Children can use their knowledge of doubles to quickly solve the additions.

Activities for teaching doubles

Here are six practical ways to teach doubles addition. You probably have the resources to hand already and setting the activities up should be a doddle. If you have any more fun ideas, don't forget to add them to the comments section!

1. Visual Doubles

Go on a hunt around school and the local area looking for real-life examples of doubles. You might spot shoes (1+1), wheels on a car (2+2), egg cartons (3+3), legs on a spider (4+4), or fingers (5+5).

egg carton

2. Doubling Dice

Children can roll a die and then double the number. Alternatively, they can roll two dice and identify whether they have rolled a double or not. Begin with 1-6 spotty dice, then move on to dice with numerals. When children are confident with doubles to 12, give them 1-10 dice instead, so that they can learn their doubles to 20.

addition dice

3. Mirror Mirror

Plastic mirrors are a brilliant way to teach doubles. Children use the mirror to find and count double the number of counting manipulatives. Encourage them to use language like 'two lots of', 'double' and 'altogether makes'.

doubling activity

4. Tens Frames

Give children two sets of coloured counters. They place one of each colour on each line of the frame to represent 1+1, two of each colour on each line to represent 2+2 and so on. Children can clearly see how the double is made using this approach.

tens frame

5. Domino Doubles

Children sort through dominoes and find the ones that have the same number on both sides. They can record the doubles additions on whiteboards.

domino addition activity

6. Paint Times Two

Fold a piece of paper in half and open it back out. The child then paints a given number of spots on one half of the piece of paper. Fold the paper in half again, press down and open it back out to see double the number of spots. You could get arty and draw a ladybird or butterfly outline first!

maths painting activity

What next?

maths doubling activity
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