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Domino Addition

Sweet Pea is 4 years old.

From: This domino math idea was from Erica’s fantastic Confessions of a Homeschooler blog.

Prerequisites:  Your child must know how to count to at least 18 and be able to write the numbers from 0 to 18.


  • Dominos.
  • My domino addition worksheet. ( Right click on link and select “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…”  to save the worksheet to your computer.  This is a .pdf file and requires Foxit or Adobe Acrobat to view.)  You can also use Erica’s slightly simpler worksheet.  A link to it is located about midway down the page on her post.


  • Set out a selection of dominoes with 1-5 dots on each side.
  • Show your tot how to place a domino on top of the gray rectangle on the left side of the sheet.
  • Let your tot choose dominoes and place them on each of the remaining spaces.


  • Explain to your tot that you are going to count the dots on the left side of the first domino.  Use a pencil to point to each dot in turn as you count out loud, “Let’s count these dots.  One, two, three, four, five, six.  There are six dots on this side.”
  • Write that number on the left side of the addition sign in the white rectangle.
  • Hand the pencil to your tot and suggest that she count the dots on the right hand side of the line.
  • Have your child write the right-side number of dots on the right side of the plus sign in the white rectangle.
  • Next have your tot count all of the dots to find the total number of dots on the domino.
  • Suggest that your child write the total number of dots in the answer square on the far right of the worksheet.
  • Let your child try counting and adding the dots on the next domino on her own.
  • Once your child understands the concept, you can introduce dominoes with more dots.

Observations:   I was somewhat surprised by how successful this activity was.  Sweet Pea loved it and did 4 worksheets!   We went through our entire box of dominoes before she was ready to stop and I think she would have kept going if we would have had more of them.

Sweat Pea had some difficulty with the larger numbers, but after a little thought was able to count all of the dominoes on her own and later even requested we move on to “the harder dominoes with more dots”.


I think it was poking the pencil into the dots that made this activity so compelling for her.  Sweet Pea loved pushing the tip of the pencil into the domino holes to count the dots.

I would highly recommend this activity for all children who are starting to learn about addition.

Notes from the Trenches:  Teach your tot to respect pencils by keeping the point down and to only use them for writing.  I don’t mean to sound overprotective, but I almost poked myself in the eye with a pencil when I was about 5.  I still have a graphite scar only a few milometers away from the outside corner of my eye so every time Sweet Pea is holding a pencil it sets my nerves on edge.

Rating: 4 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent, Frugal)


♥ Linky Love ♥:  Have you joined pinterest, yet?  If you need an invite, just email me (totschool AT shannons DOT org) and I’ll send you one.



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